“It’s the crapness!” yelled my mother, who almost never says anything more offensive than ‘oh blow’.
In hindsight, leaving three boxes of Packets of Accelerated Christian Education (PACEs) at her house was perhaps not the kindest thing I could have done.
“It’s a bubble!” she continued, warming to her rant. “It’s stuck in a 1950s timewarp and it’s all so twee. Do you know what I read in a science PACE earlier? There was a lesson about the first heart transplant, and then it said have you had your heart transplanted by Jesus?“
Leaving Fundamentalism‘s Jonny Scaramanga has a new post. Jonny, whose blog I frequently enjoy, was raised in England’s unacknowledged network of private, Christian fundamentalist schools – schools which education authorities, for some reason, heartily endorse. If you want to know what’s actually taught there, consult his spread of multiple choice questions from their exams.
What does ‘wisdom’ (as in, they say, ‘The pastor spoke with great wisdom’) mean? ‘Godly thinking’, ‘a test’ or ‘tasty milk’?
‘Plunger’, as in ‘The plunger in the pump was broken’ – ‘a dolphin’, ‘a pump part’ or ‘a brown car’?
‘Some special men have used the ['cookies'? 'knowledge'? 'classes'?] God gave them to discover more about our wonderful world – but, as Jonny notes, ‘no special women, obviously’.
These are questions for nine and ten year olds. They ask twelve and thirteen year olds whether a minister of music, Bible translator, programmer or usher ‘lead[s] the church in . . . song’…
…and whether a ‘Godly homemaker who yields to the Lord’ makes her home ‘a place of business’, ‘blessing’ or ‘beginning’. (Questions like this, Jonny points out, are the only time the papers ever use ‘she’-pronouns.)
No less scholastic rigour is demanded of students aged fourteen and fifteen, asked whether ‘the Creator of the universe and the center of all things’ is a) man or b) God, and whether Gregor Mendel, Adolf Hitler, Charles Darwin or Charles Mendel ‘formulated the theory of evolution’.
Jonny has procured these question papers, he tells me, at sizeable personal expense. Unlike papers of mainstream exam boards like AQA or Edexcel, ‘Packets of Accelerated Christian Education’ like these aren’t in the public domain or available in almost any libraries – in his words ‘they can effectively operate in secret’.
Think this doesn’t affect you?
In the United Kingdom, UK NARIC has deemed qualifications based on ACE to be comparable to A-level. Ofsted routinely whitewashes ACE schools in reports, and ACE nurseries teaching creationismreceive government funding.
In New Zealand, ACE qualifications are accepted for university entrance.
In South Africa, based on HESA’s recommendation, a number of universities have signed up to accept ACE graduates.
ACE says its curriculum is used in 192 countries and 6000 schools worldwide. This is happening nearer than you think.
All this means that parents are more likely to choose this academically third-rate and theologically fourth-rate education for their children. This has got to stop.
Lists of ACE badness:
- Top 5 lies taught by Accelerated Christian Education
- 5 even worse lies from Accelerated Christian Education
- Top 3 ACE survivor stories