Earlier this month, Slate published an investigation into Responsive Education Solutions, a group of taxpayer-funded charter schools that unconstitutionally teach creationism to their 17,000 students. They followed the story this week with a map locating all the Responsive Ed campuses, as well as other schools around the nation that receive taxpayer money and are allowed to willfully deny students an up-to-date education.
The Responsive Ed charter schools, marked in red on the map, are one of Slate’s three categories of tax-funded creationism. Green pins blanket Tennessee and Louisiana, indicating that due to carefully worded state law, public schools can skirt the constitution ban and teach “alternatives” to evolution. Orange dots represent private schools that teach creationism and accept tax-funded vouchers and scholarship money.
Slate also found a number of passages in Responsive Ed workbooks that encourage students to question the safety of vaccines, Earth’s age, and evolution (as well as some laughable inaccuracies, like “the Samurai” were apparently intent on conquering Asia following World War I). The scientific community has come to an overwhelming consensus on each of these topics. Saying that evolution “has reached the level of dogma,” as Responsive Ed does, is an opinion one can hold, but it doesn’t belong in a science textbook.
It’s important to remember that just because a school is on the map, it doesn’t necessarily teach creationism. The dots only mark campuses that could bring the church into Biology 101, and with public funding, to boot. As the Responisve Ed investigation has shown, some of them are taking this opportunity. Given that the organization is set to open 20 more schools in 2014, it’s an issue we should all keep an eye on.