Saturday, May 23, 2009

Evolution and Sex Ed Optional in Florida and Texas School

The folks over at Florida Citizens for Science wrote about this yesterday; apparently, a State funded program available in Florida and Texas allows students (i.e. parents) to opt-out of classes which conflict with their mythological leanings, like classes dealing with evolution or sex education.

The Florida Virtual School is a government funded online program in which students in grades 6 through 12 can get credit for studying from home. It's nationally accessible component, the Florida Virtual Global School, is available in 44 states and 38 countries – though it’s most popular in Florida’s and its fundamentalist sister state, Texas.

The article “Christian working mom homeschools – on state's dime; Program allows full-time market analyst to reject evolution, sex ed assignments” breaks the story here.

Elaine McCall, principal of Florida Virtual Global Schools says:

"If you have a homeschooled student, we have alternative assignments or we would excuse the student from those assignments and they wouldn't be counted in the grade book…"

“[We] do accommodate Christian homeschoolers if the need should arise.”

As one ignorant parent explains:

When a biology project dealing with evolution was brought up in one of the classes, "I spoke to the teacher and told her we don't believe in evolution. We believe in creation,"
She further details, "I told her my daughter was going to do this assignment in terms of creationism, which she did. The teacher had no problem with it, and she got an 'A.'"

"My kids don't have to put up with bullying. They don't have to put up with indoctrination. They don't have to have sex education. We're allowed to pray all we want at home," she said. "It's really a lifesaver for Christian parents."

Well, I understand that parental “flexibility” is inherit within home schooling curricula, but in this case its endorsed and paid for by the government – and how in the world can a student get credit, much less an “A,” for putting together a creationist project for a biology class???

Scary stuff…

As with Florida Citizens for Science, I cordially invite you to join me in filling a complaint with this virtual school, that’s virtually not a school at all:

Florida Virtual School
Fax: 1-407-513-3480
Toll Free Tech Support: 1-866-322-8324
Address: Suite 2002145 MetroCenter Blvd Orlando, FL 32835
Directions:Use the map below or click here for directions (pdf).


  1. McCall's comments are pretty self-damning, but be cautious of accepting anything posted by WorldNutDaily at face value. Its entirely possible that the teacher required the student to report on the science, and allowed the student to write that they didn't "believe it", which would be the best that could be hoped for, if true. A teacher has to have some kind of compromise with parents with extreme belief systems like this. Can't just throw the kids to the wolves, and you can't have the parents arrested. On the other hand of course, the kid could have just regurgitated the AIG website and got an A for it. No way of knowing on the basis of given information.

  2. You’re right Mike, I’ll heed the advice. I hope that the teacher did have the student write about the science and then just disagree with it – that would have been a good strategy on their part.

    I’m sure that teachers do have to balance the curriculum with the wishes of the parents; that’s one reason why I wouldn’t make a good teacher… Though I recognize it as wrong, with the exception of very young children –less than ten years old, or so – I’d be inclined to throw them to the wolves.

    How can teachers compete with years of home conditioning? It’s an uphill battle that’s for sure.

  3. The real story is that the student in the WorldNetDaily article did the course work on evolution, but expressed her own opinions. Just like all public schools, Florida Virtual School does allow parents to exercise their right for their children to opt-out of lessons, but when this happens, the student receives a zero for that lesson. All FLVS courses meet Sunshine State Standards and are not altered based upon special requests by parents.

    This truly is the case of misrepresentation of information.

  4. Thanks Jodie - I'm glad to hear that the FLVS meets the Sunshine Standards.

    That's really a relief!