Date: October 24, 2016
I’d like to discuss with you, the schooling and environment I was brought up in. My personal comments are mostly at the bottom of this post.
Let’s start with something that really shows you the basic structure of this kind of school…and from the organizations own, self glowing point of view.
ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) Edited
I’d Like You To Notice Something:
There are a lot of videos about ACE…and I’d like you to stroll through the comments sections, and see what people have to say about ACE.
I’ve personally left no comment at all, on any ACE video…But there are plenty of people who share my experience with ACE, who are leaving comments…
…There are commenters at the video above, who are saying things about this system and environment, which I have stated years upon years ago…while talking about it.
Take that how you will…
…I know not everyone’s been entirely comfortable with my assessment of this…and believe it to be a bit over the top…And if you’re amongst those people, you can now go and get a broader perspective on this.
The Fair Criticism [though hardly exhaustive]:
Leaving Fundamentalism: Accelerated Christian Education:
“Inside the Accelerated Christian Education/ School of Tomorrow Social Studies/ politics PACEs.”
Leaving Fundamentalism: The War on Reason:
Accelerated Christian Education Teaches Ancient History:
Textbook Disproves Evolution With Monsters?!:
This is a very old essay in the “science” paces…I can personally vouche for the “nessy” claim. It is in there…since at least the mid eighties…I’m just surprised they’ve not dropped it, by now. – Steve
The case for Accelerated Christian Education:
I can vouche for the fact, that this is a deplorable way of preparing children for future life. It is isolating. I also remember those english reading exercises. – Steve
Do faith schools promote tolerance?:
“Jonny Scaramanga reads an excerpt from Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God”, which is studied in Accelerated Christian Education’s English PACE 121.
Does this really promote children’s spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development?”
I can totally vouche for this…I remember it. It was, essentially, a sermon…We were made to read it, as part of “english”. – Steve
Christian educators seem to have amnesia:
A bit of controversy, from more recent times.
A Look Inside Creepy Christian Textbooks:
A.C.E. Curriculum [a commercial]
Initially…when I started finding information on Accelerated Christian Education [ACE], I was kind of excited…because this is a very personal part of my own past…And I’ve had such a hard time explaining to most people, what my daily K through 12 education looked like…how it worked. Most people don’t understand it, because they went to public schools…which are much different.
This find allows me to give a somewhat autobiographical kind of exhibition…and share a piece of my past with you…
…You can find all the self glorifying commercials and tutorials put out by the people behind ACE…But it’s the critical and honest look at this system, which is most enlightening…and which makes this post more embarrassing to me, than I originally thought it was going to be.
Watching the videos I’ve selected…you may be able to start realizing, just why I’ve not had the best opinions of my early life schooling…and why I consider it to have been a destructive cult.
It was great at teaching math…I learned how to competently read and write…But the science and social studies were shaky and slanted…And as if it wasn’t bad enough we were forced to attend church three times a week…we also had Wednesday chapel service, plus bible study [as a required class] twice a week…plus they took every chance, to saturate unrelated subjects [ie: English] with blatant religious indoctrination.
…In addition to this, we were forced to memorize several verses [sometimes passages] from the bible, every single month…and recite them back, perfectly…just to forget them, as we moved on to another set of verses.
I had scantly few subjects or classes [because we did have a few proper classes], which were straight forward teaching of the subject matter…algebra…we had a computer class one year…one year, English class was fairly secular [though we had to read a bunch of classic books…nothing modern]…
Science was a mess…as was “sex education”…part of the “science” subject…I keep remembering it, as a long passage on how whales mate in the ocean…I keep thinking there must have been something regarding humans…but, it’s very hazy…Graphical depictions were…well…scant…sinful and of the devil…It was all very pathetic…I’d learned about sex years before I had to go through the singular pace, that’s supposed to serve as “sex education”.
When it came to science…basically, if it was mundane and nonthreatening to Christianity [think, the elemental table]…they taught it the way it was supposed to be taught…But if it discredited Christianity or made you start questioning…they always discredited it…essentially telling us it was wrong, because the bible says otherwise.
You have to keep in mind…I went through this, during the seventies and eighties…This is hardcore, deep into the church stuff…There was no internet…I was a child, and I only went where my parents went, or allowed me to go…The church actively pushed us, to not associate with non-believers [anymore than we had too]…and to not engage in worldly things [think, rock n roll, movies and dungeons & dragons, along with many other things]…
…This was an ultra controlled environment on steroids…
…They provided us kids with everything, usually from the time we were in the nursery…on which we would learn to interpret and interact with the world around us. The only things we would be given to expand our minds, was stuff preselected by them.
Now…of course…we still had our dumb television shows we loved…and we could quietly listen to whatever music we wanted at home [in our house, anyway]…And as I went into my teens, dad and I started to regularly go to the theater…So, things did move away from the freaky level of control, and we did ultimately live our own lives outside the church…once the “picture perfect Christian family” phase, of my disintegrating family was finally over.
In no small way…I think that one church, in particular…where I attended most of my years of schooling…I think it played no small role in our collective misery…And I think it hastened our end.
Maybe I’m wrong…but people aren’t meant to live life, under the heavy thumb of a religious organization like that…It’s just dominating and wrong…You’re told what to believe as fact…and it’s not until you get away from it all…that you begin to discover…not only is the world view they gave you ridiculous…but there is so, so much more out here…And they distorted and biased you against objective reality.
…It’s like having to start all over, in some regards…when you walk out the door.
…They never taught you how to critically think…Just how to memorize stuff…
…You feel like you spent your life, being played for such a fool…And you wonder, how do they get away with doing this to children…It just makes no sense…
…It’s like you’re the butt of some warped joke.
In high school…electives were paltry…almost non-existent…
…If you can believe this, study of the bible made up at least two common electives…The New Testament Survey, and The Old Testament Survey…
The only possible use for either one of these, might have been if you had intention to enter the seminary, once you got out of high school.
Would you like to know how a typical day went?…
…We arrived by eight AM…and then had fifteen minutes of bible devotion…We read the bible, and had to keep a diary on it…They checked at least weekly, to make sure we were doing such.
We then got up, and filed into the auditorium…for the morning opening…We usually sang a hymn…We always recited the pledge of allegiance to the American Flag, then to the Christian Flag…then to the bible…
No…I am not joking…Those last two pledges do exist.
You can do a search for these…and find children being led through them.
We were required to recite these, daily.
They’d give us announcements…maybe a short pep-talk…
Then we would go back to our respective classrooms because all grades were present [grammar, elementary, junior high and high school]…
Our classrooms had what were referred to as “offices”…which were small cubical type tables…where we stayed most of the day, and worked on our paces.
You could work on subjects in whatever order you felt like…If you needed help, you could place a flag [a miniature American flag] on the wall of your “office”, and an assistant or the teacher would come over and help…You had to first flag the assistant…then if they couldn’t figure it out, you were given permission to flag the teacher [which was a miniature Christian flag]…
Sometimes the day was broken up with a class, or two…But you spent most of your day, working alone in your “office”.
If it was Tuesday or Thursday, there would be bible class…Which had it’s own workbook, and homework…On Wednesday, there was chapel…which was like a fourth weekly church sermon…but only for the students.
We had gym class once a week…Two breaks a day…and lunch at around noon.
In high school…we did have choir…and a hand bells choir…both were electives.
During earlier grades, we did have a music class…and an art class…
At three o’clock, we prayed and went home.
Some good memories:
I feel it’s wrong, to give this era of my life such an utterly bleak representation…without mentioning a few good things.
We had fun field trips…the yearly ones to the planetarium, just before Christmas break, were my favorites.
When we first arrived at “the main church” in my experience…they had a Boy Scouts replacement program called AWANA [very religion centric]…My older brothers had a chance to do the scouts thing…but I never did…And this really excited me. It was for younger kids…and I completed the orientation booklet…signed the agreement…Everything was handled on Wednesday evenings…Then they quickly started getting goofy with it, and changing the times…so it was never convenient for parents to get their kids to it…They made it earlier on Wednesdays…then they moved it to Friday [maybe Saturday] nights, if I remember correctly…and virtually nobody was getting to it…so they killed it, within months…and totally got out of the AWANA organization.
In early grades…I remember my teacher reading books to us…It introduced me to the Narnia books…I’d go on to read a few more of them, but not all.
We had a really good choir…and hand bells choir…One year, we even went on a week long tour…It doubled as a tour of Christian colleges…but we put on several performances.
They had a great playground…for back when we first arrived, and I was nine.
My third through sixth grade teacher was a true musician…and a singer…Sometimes he’d get out his guitar, and spontaneously launch into singing…and the entire class would turn our chairs around, facing the rest of the room…and we’d have a twenty minute or so sing along…This probably happened once every month or so…It was neat.
Though I realize the folly in it, today…I used to love those soy burgers…and soy cheeseburgers [you know the kind I’m talking about], that you could buy through the lunch program…Mom and dad let us do that, once a week…And the ice cream was great.
When we first arrived, they had a whole bunch of high school elective courses available…Even though I was in elementary, it fascinated me to think I’d eventually be able to be in some of them…They had a comprehensive photography course…computer programming…home economics [cooking]…It was just a really active place…Sadly, by the time I got to high school, it was virtually all gone.
I did learn one of the most useful skills of my life, the last year of high school…typing…I think I even got elective credits for it…Funny thing is…the school had eight or nine computers donated to it…and installed on them, was a typing course…It ran you through key typing exercise…and eventually worked you into typing words and sentences…So, even then…I did not have a human teacher…I was taught by a computer. I more less fell into learning this skill…as it never occurred to me previously, that I’d want to learn it…It just presented itself, and I went with it. At my fastest…I was doing between 60 and 80 words a minute…But I comfortably typed at around 45 words a minute…Today, it’s more like 35 words a minute…or less.
I made a number of good friends there, over the years…even though many of them were only around for a year or two.
…I had some really hard crushes, on a few of the boys there…Two in particular, come to mind…and there were a few others who had it going on…But I only recognized it, when I happened by chance to see them changing [or showering] in the locker room. One of the biggest regrets of my life…is that I felt like I could not do anything about this…and I was paralyzed by fear of being discovered.
Speaking of boys…My notorious YMCA shower room erotic experience, took place under the watchful guardianship of this school…I don’t believe I’ll ever forget that, until I’m dead…That was one for the record books.
Despite everything going on around us…we still had fun times together, as kids of this church…And I’ll neither forget, nor deny those times.
The paces themselves:
Yes…they had these cartoon strips in them…several in each pace…They were indoctrination…often tacky.
They have obviously been visually enhanced, since I used them…They’re a lot more colorful, and produced.
They’re kind of like a magazine issue…ranging between roughly 30 to 60 pages, on average…Of course, there was the rare monster that went 90 pages…or even 130 pages.
You had Math, English, Science, Social Studies and a course called Word Building…which was a perpetually more complex way of expanding your lexicon.
Each subject had 12 paces for each year…these were what you needed to get through, in order complete that yearly grade. When you started a new pace, you’d set a goal for yourself…It might be three to five pages per day…So, a thirty page pace would take you about ten school days to get through, if you’re doing three pages a day.
All the reading you did was in the pace, itself…Basically, you read a few paragraphs and then went on to fill in the blanks of questions…It was common to answer, word for word. The reading segments could be really short…or they could stretch a page or two. On rare occasions, you’d have to go to the library and read something.
About a quarter [and three quarters] of the way through, we had these things called checkups…Which is basically the equivalent of a class quiz. At the mid point, there was something more accurately resembling a test…At the very end, is the first of two official pace tests…You are not allowed to look back…You have to do it all on memory…If you pass with an acceptable grade, the next day you get to take the final test…It was almost identical to the pace test, except they usually tossed in one question you could never know to expect…If you got at least a seventy percent grade, then you could move on to the next pace…If not, then you repeated the same pace.
We also graded and corrected our own work…Which means we checked our answers against books containing the accurate [or at least expected] answers…If we had too many errors, then an assistant [or the teacher] had to go over it…They also had to second check us, when doing a checkup or pace test.
The way these things were designed…it was honestly an exercise in memorization…You forgot most of this stuff, by the time you started the next pace.
One positive thing about this system…is that if you had the capacity to do so…you could rapidly move through these paces, even getting started on the next years set…If you put your mind to it…you could literally finish four years of required ACE high school studies, in three years…For that matter, you could have been bumped past a grade, if you got through that years requirements previously…pretty well at any point. If a third grader freakishly did two years of work in one year [a very heavy work load]…they’d be able to go into fifth grade, the next year.
Realistically…the extra year would get shaved off, by splitting it up over two or three previous years…Unless you were truly freakish in that capacity.
Basically…if you did all five main subjects by pace…then you did 60 paces per year…plus another twelve, for any pace based elective studies.
If you got through the yearly requirement for any [or all] subjects, then you could stop with those subjects for the rest of the year…or you could start on next years paces…So, it was kind of interesting, if you completed a subject for the year…Things typically became a bit easier, the last month or two of the school year.
I’m not so much angry, as I am perplexed and stunned…knowing what people get away with, in this country [the USA].
People talk about children being so precious, and deserving the best…and this…and that…and they can be hurt so easily…and they must be protected from everything…except whatever mind raping lunacy, is fashionable at the time.
…No, you cannot put your children through psychological abuse [and subject them to a crumby education]…unless it’s packaged the right way…The way society has agreed, makes it all sound so noble…so right.
I’m not angry…I’m just repulsed by the hypocrisy…
…I suppose you could say…I’ve understood “my place”…or at least what society had in mind for me…ever since I was quite young…I knew that my personal needs didn’t count for a thing…and that I was next to worthless, as a human being…Because there was no place for me…
…Then one day…I woke up from this illusion…and understood the betrayal…That moment was life changing.
A lot of people have hated and blamed me…for the sin of facing that moment, and evolving from it.
I may very well return to this subject matter.