by Eric Sandy
Politico published a report today that dives deep on taxpayers' funding commitments to creationism lessons at private schools in 14 states. Ohio is one of them.
The state's public subsidies for private schools dates back to 1995 - much longer than most other states' relationships with nonpublic agencies. (Not all private schools - not even all religious schools - place a premium on creationist teachings, mind you.)
There are 20 private schools in Ohio that both teach creationism and accept public funding. In Northeast Ohio, that list includes Bethel Christian Academy in Parma and Cornerstone Christian Academy in Willoughby. The former pulled $26,985 from the state for this school year. Cornerstone yanked in $88,826 year-to-date. That's more than $100,000 annually - just at the two creationism-based schools located near Cleveland. Records show that state funding wavers year over year, though tax money for Cornerstone has ballooned by about 33 percent since FY 2011.
Slate published a neat map of schools that permit creationist teachings in their curricula across the nation.
Those schools use the likes of A Beka, Bob Jones, and ACE teaching materials. Cornerstone Christian Academy presents an educational overview thusly:
At Cornerstone, there is a strong emphasis on good academics - a back to the basics in Math, Language, Science and Social Studies. CCA also values the arts and technology. The most important thing, however, is that all of this is done while placing a high priority on understanding God's plan for life and using the BIBLE as the filter for all truth! Students are daily presented with a Christ - centered world view instead of a Man-centered world view!
The reason why this sort of news tends to grab headlines every year or so is that the tax money railroads right over any notion that church affairs are to be kept out of the government. Ohio's own voucher program, which funds private schools with public money, is only expanding. Provided the school adheres to the Operating Standards for Ohio Schools, it may also reel in lessons as religious as creationist ideas.
“Taxpayer dollars are ending up in the coffers of religious schools, and they use that money to discriminate and indoctrinate," Heather Weaver, an ACLU senior staff attorney, told Politico, drawing stark conclusions from state voucher programs.