Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) is a fundamentalist curriculum founded in Texas in 1970. It started as a program for private Christian day schools, but it has been hugely successful among conservative home schoolers. Today, ACE claims it is used in “6,000 schools and thousands of home educators in over 140 countries.” It’s also used in government-funded voucher programs in several US states.
ACE has always taken its fundamentalism very seriously. In his 1979 book Rebirth of Our Nation ACE’s founder Donald Howard wrote, “Fundamentalism is intellectually sound. It has always prevailed in periods of great intellectual enlightenment. It is the only sound an logical solution to the existence of the universe… I am a fundamentalist. If I can be any more fundamental than fundamental, that is what I want to be.” Today, ACE views imparting these fundamental beliefs into children as its primary purpose.
Howard later wrote “We do not build Christian schools primarily to give a child the best education nor to teach him how to make a good living. Teaching him how to live and to love and serve God are our primary tasks.”
He wasn’t kidding.
I went to an ACE school for almost four years. By the time I left, I was certain that it was against God’s will for governments to provide healthcare, evolution was a conspiracy to destroy Christianity, parents were morally required to spank their children, and science could prove that homosexuality was wrong. But worst of all was the feeling uneducated; I still struggle with self-conscious fears about gaps in my learning. ACE workbooks consist of simplistic fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice questions. And these questions are often hilariously, spectacularly bad.
4th grade (9-10 years old)
But no special women, obviously.
They’re particularly strong when it comes to people…
There’s a bloody picture!
7th grade (12-13 years old)
IMPORTANT: The correct answer, for those puzzled, is piano tutors. It’s not that ACE doesn’t believe that sports coaches or librarians can touch students’ lives. The point is that the exact sentence “Piano tutors can touch the lives of their students” has previously appeared in the PACE, and the student is expected to remember this. Verbatim regurgitation of previously seen material is the entire point of the ACE system.
ACE never uses female pronouns in PACEs. Everyone is male… until they start talking about homemakers.
9th grade (14-15 years old)
The title is actually On the Origin of Species…
From a history PACE on the discovery and colonisation of America:
Ah, the old Darwin-caused-Hitler implication again.
12th grade (17-18 years old)
Um, I might have been getting a bit irritated by the time I got to that last one.
I found plenty more 12th grade questions with no plausible distractors, but none of them made me laugh. Stuff like this:
Mind you, by this point, it’s all starting to seem less funny.