In the article posted above, Salon.com’s Jonny Scaramanga describes the curriculum of a Texas charter school called iSchool High, which is partially funded by taxpayer dollars. The curriculum, called ResponsiveEd, teaches, among other things, that Hitler’s genocidal schemes were highly influenced by Darwin’s idea of “survival of the fittest.” Apparently, the founder of ResponsiveEd is Donald R. Howard, the same man who used to own Accelerated Christian Education, a group whose recent textbook claimed that the Loch Ness Monster was legitimate evidence against the theory of evolution. The difference between ResponsiveEd and Accelerated Christian Education is that the former is not explicitly religious; it attempts to teach Biblical values cloaked in everyday language. A quick scan of its website, which I’ve linked to here (http://responsiveed.com/about/who-we-are/today/), doesn’t reveal any religious language. Instead, the website talks of “options for the student and options for the community.” This harmless language is a clever disguise for the curriculum’s goal of promoting deviant scientific theories. One must also consider one of ResponsiveEd’s charter proposals (http://www.in.gov/icsb/files/premierfullapplication082312.pdf) and note that it mentions teaching students to “describe controversies regarding evolution.” Ironically, the controversies mentioned here don’t exist in the scientific realm and could be put to rest if not for politicians and groups like ResponsiveEd attempting to give them credibility. Another former employee of Accelerated Christian Education has created something called Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum, which also teaches that Hitler was influenced by Darwin. One of the PAC textbooks even dedicates a section to pointing out various instances throughout history when science has been inaccurate and tries to use these examples to question evolution. A science textbook that attempts to undermine science as a whole seems somewhat suspect.
Because creationism has been soundly rejected in schools and American society as a whole has become increasingly secular, proponents of religious science education have been forced to become more subtle in their methods. The new wave of creationists, discouraged by the defeat of intelligent design in recent cases like Kitzmiller v Dover, must hide behind seemingly innocuous language in order to push their ideas. It remains to be seen how much success they will have, but groups like ResponsiveEd and PAC display the persistence of creationists in their attempts to influence the education of America’s youth. No matter how many times they are defeated, they will always return in a different form with a different name but still pushing the same ideas.