"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, June 17, 2024

School Voucher Programs and White Nationalism

A great piece in Mother Jones about public education dollars being drained away to indoctrinate children in white nationalist "religious" schools.

Earlier this month, former President Donald Trump held his first campaign rally as a convicted felon at Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona, hosted by the arch-conservative student group Turning Point USA. This wasn’t Trump’s first appearance at Dream City Church; he also held a rally there with Turning Point USA in 2020. For events like this, it’s an ideal venue: A weekly attendance of around 21,000 believers makes this one of the largest churches not just in Arizona but in the nation.

Dream City, which didn’t respond to my questions for this story, is a mecca for special guests who blur the line between religion and politics. Its annual conference has featured notables like musician and pastor Sean Feucht, who participated in a White House prayer session for President Trump in 2019 and is currently leading a tour of prayer rallies at state capitol buildings across the country. The lineup for this year’s event also included David Barton, whose organization, WallBuilders, teaches K-12 students about the supposed Christian origins of America; Jurgen Mathesius, a pastor at San Diego’s far-right Awaken Church, which has become a stop on Mike Flynn’s ReAwaken America tour; and Jentezen Franklin, a televangelist who also spoke at the 2022 Pray Vote Stand Summit, which mobilizes conservative Christian voters to engage in political activism.

In addition to its thrumming weekly worship sessions and its blockbuster events, the church has another project: Dream City Christian Academy. The K-12 private school, which serves nearly 800 students, is part of Turning Point USA’s Turning Point Academy program, a network of 41 schools that describes itself as “an educational movement that exists to glorify God and preserve the founding principles of the United States through influencing and inspiring the formation of the next generation.” Dream City Christian Academy promises to “Protect our campus from the infiltration of unethical agendas by rejecting all ‘woke’ and untruthful ideologies being pushed on students.”

This politically charged approach to education likely isn’t for everyone—and because it’s a private school, it doesn’t have to be. Except for one thing: Dream City Christian Academy is one of a growing number of religious schools that are supported by public funds. . . .

Read on.

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