A taxpayer-funded Christian school has become embroiled in a controversy for using a textbook that claims the Loch Ness Monster is real, to prove that evolution does not exist.
From the next school year Eternity Christian Academy, a private school, will be eligible to accept students with state-sponsored vouchers, meaning the government will pay the school for their tuition.
And this is the education it will be funding.
“Have you heard of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur,” says a ninth-grade Biology textbook.
The existence of dinosaurs living alongside humans supposedly discredits the theory of evolution, showing there was no gradual replacement of species. Instead, it apparently confirms creationist beliefs that all animals were created several thousand years ago, but died out because they were not taken on Noah’s Ark, apart from “sea monsters” who were able to survive in the water. A different part of the same textbook says that Japanese fishermen once caught a dinosaur.
The entire curriculum of the academy is designed by Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) which explicitly boasts that it helps its students "to see life from God's point of view."
“True science will never contradict the Bible because God created both the universe and scripture. If a scientific theory contradicts the Bible, then the theory is wrong and must be discarded,” claims ACE.
The junior science books open with a summary of various things God created during the first six days of creation.
Evolution is not taught at all.
"We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children,” said Marie Carrier, the former pastor, now principle, of the academy. Most of the tests on the curriculum are multiple-choice and debate among “immature minds” is discouraged, in favor of rote learning.
The school has been allocated 135 state-funded places for the coming year, which means that it could receive over $1 million – money that was previously allocated to public education – providing enough students sign up.
The allocation is part of a drive to improve education by stimulating effective private institutions over badly-run state schools.
Louisiana is the third-worst performing state in the US for science and maths.