A Creationist Surprise

SAGLRROILYBYGTH can skip this post entirely. For those who are already familiar with the real contours of American creationism, there’s nothing new in this story. But for those who think American creationism means only Kentucky’s arks and Texas’s fist-thumping school-board leaders, read on. Real American creationism—even the radical young-earth sort—can be found where you might least expect it.

AP creationism

Big Apple, Small Timeline

The Associated Press yesterday poked a New York City sore spot. For years, critics and victims have charged the city’s “ultra” Orthodox yeshivas with cruel educational neglect. Today’s story confirms it. Boys in these schools are typically taught scanty secular knowledge. They can graduate, for example, without having learned much English, non-sacred history, or math. Girls tend to learn more about secular subjects, but their overall educational status is decidedly lower than that of boys.

As yesterday’s story tells the tale,

At the ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools Pesach Eisen attended in Brooklyn, most of the day was spent studying religious texts with classes taught in Yiddish. One class at the end of the day was spent on secular subjects including English and math, enough to be “able to go to the food stamps office and apply.”

“Everything was super basic. … Nobody took it seriously, so even if you were a studious person you had no chance,” said the now-32-year-old Eisen, who had to take remedial classes and study intensively on his own before he succeeded in graduating from college in 2016.

These Hasidic schools are once again the subject of lawsuits. It’s not only the schools themselves that are under fire, but Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Department of Education. Critics charge the government with lackadaisical investigation and enforcement of legal minimums of educational standards, even for private schools.

It’s not only secular history, math, and English-language that gets shunted aside. For the approximately 115,000 students in these schools, modern science is extirpated. As one student told the AP,

They erased anything about dinosaurs. . . . Anything more than 5,000 years old was erased.

So when you go out looking for American creationism, don’t just steer South to the Ark Encounter and the Texas school board room. Be sure to spend some time in the Big Apple where radical creationism is thriving.

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