It sounds like a hoax, but it's apparently true: The Loch Ness Monster is on the science class syllabus for kids at Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, Louisiana.
As reported by the Herald Scotland (which must track all Loch Ness-related news), a school that will receive tax-payer dollars, will teach kids that the mythological sea creature is real in order to debunk the theory of evolution. So pay attention: That will be on the test.
According to the Herald, one textbook, Biology 1099, reads, "Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the 'Loch Ness Monster' in Scotland? 'Nessie' for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur."
Starting in the fall, thousands of schoolchildren will receive publicly funded vouchers to attend private schools, some of which are religious. Religious schools in Louisiana will receive public funding as part of a push from Louisiana's governor, Bobby Jindal, to move millions of tax dollars to cover tuition for private schools, including small bible-based church schools. Money will fund schools that have "bible-based math books" and biology texts that refute evolution.
At Eternity Christian Academy, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier says that the her first through eighth-grade students learn at their own pace from Christian workbooks. The beginning science text explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. Evolution is not taught.
Carrier said, "We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children." She hopes to secure enrollment of 135 voucher students for the 2012-2013 school year. According to the website Salon, the school currently has just 38 students.
Whether this gambit will help move Louisiana from the bottom of math and science rankings in the country is unclear. A 2011 study of how well primary education prepares students for engineering careers had Louisiana third from the bottom, with only West Virginia and Mississippi performing worse.