Nampa Classical Academy to Teach Multiple Creation Myths in Classes August 13, 2009

Nampa Classical Academy to Teach Multiple Creation Myths in Classes

A new charter school is opening in Idaho.

It will use the Bible as the primary source for teaching material. It will be introduced to ninth graders in western civilization classes.

Officials with the yet-to-open Nampa Classical Academy say the Bible will be taught for its literary and historic qualities, as part of a secular education program.

School headmaster Val Bush says students will also explore several versions of creationism as part of their studies.

Unless this is part of a mythology class — and I doubt it is — this school is heading down a self-destructing path.

As reader Scott points out, I didn’t realize there were multiple ways to say “God did it.” And evolution isn’t mentioned at all on their website.

There’s more:

Nampa Classical will teach Latin and Western classics, including the Bible. The school will not teach “certain sex ed,” will eschew anti-American rhetoric and troop bashing and will impart the “good of America, the good of Western civilization,” [founder Isaac] Moffett said.

Teachers will also discuss where America has failed to live up to its principles, he allowed, without being “presentist,” or judging earlier epochs with modern values.

“In its proper context, the kids will learn about Native Americans,” said Moffett, who will teach American history and geography. “If we’re talking about westward expansion … you can’t understand why they were conquered so easily without understanding their culture.”

Christopher Columbus will not be judged for introducing disease to the New World.

“In reality, he didn’t do anything, it was a natural consequence of biology,” Moffett said.

Well, they won’t be hiring me anytime soon. All I teach in my math classes is how to add the bed, subtract the clothes, divide the legs and multiply. (Ha! That joke never gets old).

And troop bashing? What public school teachers are currently doing that? They’re building up a straw man and doing a pathetic job of knocking it down.

It not only sounds like a push for Christianity, it sounds like a general miseducation of what scholars are actually saying.

Many of the people running the school or advising administrators are closely tied with conservative Christian religious groups. They don’t have a very good track record of separating their faith from the public sphere. While they profess that they’re following the rules, it shouldn’t be hard to catch them in a lie.

I don’t know if the school will be deemed illegal and shut down before the September 8th opening, but I hope students remember to bring recorders and keep track of what their teachers are saying in the classroom.


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  • Valdyr

    Teachers will also discuss where America has failed to live up to its principles, he allowed, without being “presentist,” or judging earlier epochs with modern values.

    In other words… everything America has ever done bad in the past is irrelevant, but while we’re on the subject of bad things, ABORTION HOLOCAUST 50 BAZILLION INNOCENT CHILDREN AAHHHHHHH

    “In its proper context, the kids will learn about Native Americans,” said Moffett, who will teach American history and geography. “If we’re talking about westward expansion … you can’t understand why they were conquered so easily without understanding their culture.”

    Having had some experience with Christian “education”, I think I can safely say this will boil down to “The brave white pioneers beat the redskin savages because they worshipped Satan instead of Jesus”. (The savages, that is, not the pioneers. Although I have sometimes wished that there really were cabals of Satan-worshipers with access to dark powers, just to make things more interesting.)

  • There’s a growing group of people against this charter school here. Nampa is a dumpy section of Idaho – there’s a major meth problem going on. It’s getting harder for the fundies to pull these kind of stunts in Boise, it’s probably a matter of time before the banhammer comes down.

  • Delphine

    There is a reason why many private “Catholic schools” don’t have all of their courses recognized by accredited universities. Some universities refuse to accept high school diplomas from one of these schools, and the ones that do make them retake science courses.

    It doesn’t matter anyway. I’m sure they’re all going to go to some Christian fundamentalist university.

  • thilina

    In other news: “NAMBLA…. i mean churches across America are continuing to teaching creation myths”

  • zoo

    Nampa Classical will teach Latin and Western classics, including the Bible. The school will not teach “certain sex ed,” will eschew anti-American rhetoric and troop bashing and will impart the “good of America, the good of Western civilization,” [founder Isaac] Moffett said.

    Because everything America and the West does is ALWAYS right. Please. You can teach this stuff without “anti-American rhetoric” (in fact it’s preferable), but it’s dishonest to say that America’s (or any country’s) actions are never, ever wrong, which is about what I’ve gathered from sources that seek to teach ‘the “good of America, the good of Western civilization”.’

  • Tizzle

    I think it’s perfectly okay to not judge Columbus for introducing new diseases. Mostly that wasn’t done on purpose.

    Can we blame him for assuming there was gold where none was?

  • Raven

    Fun Fact: In Japanese “nampa” refers to trying to pick up women. Nampa Classical Academy indeed.

  • AnonyMouse

    WHY must I live in this state? WHY??? I am so embarrassed.

  • Chakolate

    Is this a state school? A local school? Because it sounds like it’s a private school, in which case they can teach anything they like.

  • Mariana

    aaaand *facepalm*

    Will Christopher Columbus be judged for deliberately handing out disease-ridden blankets to the natives?

  • nogos

    In reference to troop bashing, my guess is that it is an attempt to distance themselves from the Westboro Baptist Church. They won’t get very far with everyone thinking they’re supportive of the anti-patriotic. Come to think of it, the teaching other creation myths is probably offered for a similar reason: to open the school to more liberal christians.

    But aside from that, someone should check to see which state gets the most bad news on Friendly Atheist. It’s something I’d be interested to know.

  • River

    Just so y’all know, Nampa is the location of Northwest Nazarene University, one of the most conservative universities of one of the most conservative evangelical sects. (For example, James Dobson is a professed Nazarene.) There’s a lot of crazy shit that goes on in that town concerning Christianity, and not just them. (There are strong Mormon and Catholic populations there as well.)

    How do I know this? I used to be a member of the Nazarene denomination living in Utah, and youth group regional organizations are based around the closest university. (Why we couldn’t have been in Point Loma’s region, I don’t know. *sigh* They’re the most liberal, BTW.)

  • Soup

    They’ll probably just teach evolution as a “creation myth.”

    The worst part of this, though, is that it completely misses the point of education. If you’re defining a school based on a supposed shared ideology, you’re stifling the skills schools are actually supposed to be teaching. Critical thinking. Literacy (in all relevant fields). The ability to reach conclusions about reality for one’s self based on the evidence available. Instead, I’m afraid this is just going to end up looking like a funhouse full of crap. Sort of like the Creation “Museum” in the form of a school.

  • cathy

    Columbus also committed genocide (directly, through murder), had women held prisioner on his ship to be gang raped, threatened to murder his followers if they said Cuba was an island, and enslaved people. Not that I think these religious nuts care, given their racism against Native Americans, they probably think slavery was A-okay (how could it be bad, america did it).

  • Andy D

    I love the line about not teaching “troop bashing” and the wonders of western society. To me this says “So the trail of tears was what the Indians wanted! I mean Oklahoma is like a magical vacation place and they get to live there FOREVER! I mean we really did them a favor”

  • It sounds about an inch away from teaching “White Power”

  • J B Tait

    Columbus was Genoese (Liguria), not American and Vespucci hadn’t arrived yet.
    Lord Jeffrey Amherst, who is documented as having discussed sending infected blankets, was British.
    And the Bible can be used (or has been used by some) to justify slavery.
    Looks like Americans come out of History looking squeaky clean. 😉

  • Pepe Silvia

    2C for life.

  • Talley

    Nampa Classical will teach Latin and Western classics, including the Bible [emphasis added].

    Isn’t the Bible technically a work of Eastern literature?

  • Another Atheist

    Is this a state school? A local school? Because it sounds like it’s a private school, in which case they can teach anything they like.

    Charter schools are public schools that have their own school boards and choose their own curriculum. They are free to the public, i.e., they are publicly funded just like regular schools. They still have to meet state standards though. There is no way they are going to get away with this, it will be interesting to see how long it takes for them to get shut down.

  • billybee

    (I have lived in the Nampa area since 1972.I’m an atheist and I am quite vocal in our local Newspaper Op-Ed section. I have never been harassed or shunned by anyone in my community as a result of my expressions.)

    The proposed curriculum for Nampa Classical Academy is currently under close scrutiny. So, stay tuned….

    Idaho is changing right before my eyes. It’s about TIME!!

  • David

    I grew up in the Nampa/Caldwell area from when I was about 7 to 19 (I’ve since been in Pocatello going to ISU for college, getting a BS in Physics). I graduated from Liberty Charter High, an excellent charter school that had small class sizes and good instructors. About 50% of its student population also happened to be Mormon, but the school instructors managed to never cross the 1st ammendment line and kept their religious views close to their chest.

    Somehow I always find it funny that the town I consider “home” comes up in the news once in a while with outrageous stories like this. About a year ago Nampa was in the news for having “The Joy of Sex” and “The Joy of Gay Sex” taken off the public library’s shelves (now only available if you go to one of the clerks and ask for it). They still have many other books on sex up on the shelves though, that are quite explicit.

    I have a feeling this school isn’t going to get very far. Charter schools are still public schools, and therefore have an obligation to follow constitutional rules as an institution funded by the state and federal governments. Still, it will be interesting to see how far this one gets. I almost wish I was going to high school again just so I could attend that place with a tape recorder in hand. Oh, that would be *fun*.

  • Laura

    Hm. “Western Classics” is a brand of packaged food products sold in British Columbia.

    Also, learning that Native Americans existed before European colonization is in “improper context”?

  • billybee

    Update: The Charter School Commission just put the kibosh on using the Bible at Nampa Classical Academy. The Idaho State Constitution forbids it…
    Case closed?….yeah….right.

  • Franko

    I wonder if The FSM would fit into that curriculum?

  • The Selective Observation Academy. As it is our 15 year olds test in the lowest quarter of the 30 largest industrialized countries. Let’s dumb them down some more!

    Let’s teach them that gays don’t exist so that we can create another generation of bigots.

    And who needs critical thinking? “God said it, I believe in god, that settles it. If it was good enough for Jonah, it’s good enough for me.”

  • Maximus

    They will in fact explore several versions of creationsim…there are two different stories of creation in the first few chapters of Genisis alone!
    Bottom line is, if the parents in this community had any credibility whatsoever whith their children, they could teach their values and beliefs at home and not on the taxpayer’s dime.
    It’s sad that parents (and government) have such difficulty being questioned, or even worse, admitting error or ignorance. Let the kids learn science, math, history and litterature at school. They can learn anything else on Sunday morning, or by watching Fox News.

  • monstermama

    I think you all need to go visit NCA. Don’t judge on News alone. My kid goes there and we like it. There is no “dumbing down”. For those of you that say (like “AnonyMouse”) YOU are embarrassed to live here…. move! You can go to liberal California that is falling apart before our very eyes because they want to give everyone with nothing more than they work for. So go there you will fit in better then our conservative Nampa (which I remind you has a large Hispanic population but we would be too racist to let that happen). In my kids class there are all faiths and all views and they have a right to them just like you all do as narrow as your views are. Live and let live. Why is believing in God so horrible?

  • NCA parent

    I am a parent of an NCA student. She and I happen to be of Asian descent. I lived the majority of my life in the Bay Area, CA, and my political leanings are classified as independent. I was an educator for over 10 years and consider myself discerning enough to know if propandizing is taking place. And I say it isn’t. Neither is it white supremacy nor religious elitism.

    While I don’t agree fully with every single decision that has taken place at the school, I find it is healthy to have differing opinions, which creates a truly robust learning environment – children are given the opportunity to formulate opinions and articulate them effectively at NCA. I don’t agree fully with everything that has been posted on this thread about the school, but I feel that you are all intelligent enough to allow the flip side to be explored, and prevent this from being a “bashing”. I question whether those who criticize NCA have actually looked at the Core Values of the school or visited it to check it out.

    Nampa does indeed have some issues, and it has some seedy areas. But it also has upstanding neighborhoods with people who care about their community and children.