EDIT: Tons of resources are linked in the comments thread.
The Chronicle of Higher Education
From the issue dated March 24, 2006
Those rules extend beyond the campus. A man and a woman cannot go to an off-campus restaurant together without a chaperon (usually a faculty member). Even running into members of the opposite sex off campus can lead to punishment. One student told of how a group of men and a group of women from the college happened to meet at a McDonald's last spring. Both groups were returning from the beach (they had gone to separate beaches; men and women are not allowed to be at the beach together). The administration found out, and all 15 students were expelled.
Even couples who are not talking or touching can be reprimanded. Sabrina Poirier, a student at Pensacola who withdrew in 1997, was disciplined for what is known on the campus as "optical intercourse" — staring too intently into the eyes of a member of the opposite sex. This is also referred to as "making eye babies." While the rule does not appear in written form, most students interviewed for this article were familiar with the concept.
As she tells it, Ms. Poirier was not gazing lovingly at her boyfriend; he had something in his eye. But officials didn't buy her explanation, and she and her boyfriend were both "socialed," she says.
There are three levels of official punishment at Pensacola (four, if you count expulsion). Students can be "socialed," "campused," or "shadowed." Students who are socialed are not allowed to talk to members of the opposite sex for two weeks. Those who are campused may not leave the college grounds for two weeks or speak to other campused students.
Being shadowed is the worst of the three. Shadowed students are assigned to a "floor leader" for several days. A floor leader is a student who is paid by the college and has the power to issue demerits. Shadowed students must attend the floor leader's classes and sleep in the floor leader's room. During this time, the shadowed student is not allowed to talk to anyone but the floor leader. Shadowing is usually a prelude to expulsion.
Ms. Poirier was later told she would be shadowed after being spotted riding in a car in mixed company. She tried to explain that it was an innocent outing, but to no avail. When told she would be shadowed, Ms. Poirier decided to withdraw. "I said 'screw it' and I left," she says.
The above examples may seem absurd, but it's selected to illustrate the mindset - and the mind - behind Pensacola Christian College.
Arlin Horton founded the college in 1974. If the name sounds familiar to you, it should.
Mr. Horton founded A Beka Books, acknowledged as the largest Christian-textbook company in the world. A Beka sells textbooks to more than 10,000 Christian schools across the country, offering a complete curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade. It has also won a big share of the lucrative home-school market.
Here's the statement of purpose for A Beka Books:
The God-given ministry of Christian schools is to lead young people to Christ and train them in the Bible, Christian character, language, and traditional subject matter. Today’s students need to be taught the accumulated wisdom of the past from God’s point of view and trained in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6) so they will have a firm foundation from which to evaluate the present and make proper decisions for the future.
Many graduates of Christian Schools and children homeschooled with A Beka materials end up at Pensacola and other Christian schools. You might consider that to be a natural evolution (so to speak), but it may well be an economic and practical necessity.
Our skilled researchers and writers do not paraphrase progressive education textbooks and add Biblical principles; they do primary research in every subject and look at the subject from God’s point of view. Of course, the most original source is always the Word of God, the only foundation for true scholarship in any area of human endeavor. Thus our publications are built upon the firm foundation of Scriptural truth and are written by dedicated and talented Christian scholars who are well grounded in the practical aspects of classroom teaching. For excellence for your Christian school, you can trust A Beka Book.
Or in other words, it is definitely not a classical liberal education.
From Rethinking Schools Online: (please read the entire thing and fling copies about liberally.)
Both the civics and history textbooks repeatedly state that America is in a moral decline and blame a variety of causes. For example, Bob Jones's civics text states that "secular humanistic thought, which puts man at the center of all things, now provides a basis for public morals, judicial decisions, and social values." 9
Criticism of contemporary culture focuses on alleged breakdowns in social order and family values during the 1960s and 1970s. Eighth graders read that "although the United States has been a sinless nation, conditions of the 1960s and 1970s saw much open defiance of God's standards" with the result that "hard rock music, drugs, and open immorality continue to plague America." 10 A Beka's high school world history book argues that even after the "hippie" decade of the 1960s, "America's immorality grew worse as abortion and immoral life styles were considered 'normal' by many people." 11
The importance of the family is underscored again and again; however, the family must conform to God's mandate, which is linked, in turn, to the proper relationship of human beings to government. " The A Beka civics text notes, "Governmental authority flows from God to human institutions and to the individuals responsible for ruling others within those institutions [according to] a definite order of command from God to human leaders to their followers. For example, the husband is the head of the wife and the parents are God's representatives to rule their children. Individuals obey God when they submit to and obey the God-appointed authorities over them." 12
Abortion and homosexuality are strongly condemned. The coverage of abortion begins in elementary school materials and increases in both detail and vehemence through the grades. Language such as "innocent babies," "grisly procedure," "legalized murder," and "slaughter of unborn babies" is common.
Abortion is also explicitly linked to other sinful conduct, including homosexuality, which, in turn, is linked to egregious criminal conduct. Because homosexuals engage in "vile affections," their claim to legal protection is unwarranted. "These people have no more claim to special rights than child molesters or rapists." says Bob Jones's senior high school current events textbook. 13
As with abortion, middle, and junior high school students are exposed to explicit condemnation of gay people and the "gay lifestyle." Eighth graders learn that "these immoral Americans not only try to excuse their sin as simply another choice of lifestyle but also try to demand special recognition and privilege. Such a situation serves to illustrate man's sinful condition and his great need for the Savior." 14
By contrast, issues related to rae and the civil rights movement are discussed in a more straightforward and objective fashion, and the tone is generally cool. For instance, the authors of the senior high school American history book from bob Jones University de-emphasize the inhumanity of the institution of slavery by opining that slavery was not particularly cruel:"A few slave holders were undeniably cruel. Examples of slaves beaten to death were not common, neither were they unknown. The majority of slave holders treated their salves well." 15
The author's conclusion is predictable - both from site bias, and as a matter of direct logic:
The above material is a partial summary of my research. Analyzing the material in Christian school texts goes a long way to answering the question of why many conservative organizations advocate programs that would privatize U.S. education. Indeed, one of the primary reasons for conservative support of vouchers and various school choice programs is not only to provide financial support for religious schools, but to also expose larger numbers of American students to conservative ideology.
I would go a step further; both the Bob Jones and A Beka materials are brainwashing first and education second, with extreme philosophical and religious doctrine presented as fact. When parents are the teachers, there is even less possibility that the underlying assumptions will be questioned.
But even if they are, the brainwashing process is not limited to the students; it will strongly affect the parents as well, as they have a built-in trust of the process and a significant investment in terms of money and time.
Please realize that I am not criticizing faith, doctrine or religious beliefs. While there is certainly a place for that, my objection here is that in order to create generations of uncritical believers, these institutions are creating generations of uncritical thinkers who incapable of questioning Authority, while producing no Authorities actually worthy of the name.
I think it obvious that we have seen the first fruits of that immensely stupid idea played out over the last several years, with the words of George Bush being uncritically accepted by large numbers of people despite them being false to fact or revealing of a shallow and simplistic view of the way the world works.
The consequences have been utterly disastrous, compounded by Bush's reliance on people who have been raised and trained within the conservative evangelical movement. It's not in the least due to their faith. It's that critical thinking is required when it's your job to think on your feet and solve problems. "Responsibility" means more than adhering to a dress code and avoiding any "appearance of sin."
If your idea of being a Good Person is to never be in a situation where people might think you were "up to no good," you will never be in a position to be of any good.
"Heck of a Job, Brownie."
This is why Jesus hung out over the taverns with "sinners." A sinner has some potential. Getting through the skull of someone who's convinced that their doctrines, rituals and taboos make them right can never see they are wrong, short of immense, personal tragedy.
It means having an intellectual toolkit that allows you to get to the "why" of things, the willingness to ask awkward questions of authority and not settle for glib answers. It means being able to seek out and recognize truths wherever they may be found. A person who is hungry for truth and equipped to truly examine it will be able to find truth while avoiding all the spiritual and intellectual bear traps that "educators" of all philosophies mistakenly label as Things To Never Examine.
By contrast, consider Pensacola:
The campus also has several computer labs and wireless Internet access, although there is a catch. In the mid-1990s, Pensacola had e-mail and limited Internet access, but it shut the services down after several students started an online newsletter criticizing the college. (Needless to say, the students who created the newsletter were expelled.) Internet access was not restored until last year, and it comes with significant restrictions. There are a few hundred approved Web sites; students must ask permission to visit any other site. Amazon and eBay, for instance, are reportedly not on the approved list. Several students say they leave the campus to surf the Web.
This must make it rather difficult to do meaningful research of any kind, and is no doubt one reason why students of this unaccredited college have difficulty transferring their credits. What they have learned has little to do with anything comprising a legitimate education.
One might think from the examples above that it's impossible to teach Christian values and also manage to impart a real education. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I was the beneficiary of a good Catholic elementary/middle school - and from the viewpoint of a heathen Protestant, it was an excellent education. I went on to take a year at a Jesuit High School, and was not just encouraged to be a critical thinker, it was demanded of me.
After all, a Jesuit who can't demonstrate intellectual ability superior to that of a 9th grader isn't much of a Jesuit. And yes, one of the brothers failed that test. Poor Brother Edward. He loved education. He just hated kids.
I was taught Latin and Latin concepts such as Qui Bono -
"Who benefits" [that I believe this thing] and "who's ox is being gored" - or in other words, when something is criticized for seemingly high-minded reasons, may there be other reasons why it's to the advantage of the critic or proponent that you support that position?
I never was seriously convinced of the superiority of Catholic doctrine - indeed, I consider vast tracts of it immensely silly, a perception that the Jesuits carefully avoided confirming or denying.
This may be why Jesuits are widely distrusted within the Church itself. They consider a good question to be more valuable to the faith to a pat answer.
I would agree - for while religion has fallen away from me, like a scaffolding being cut away from an edifice that is now largely complete, I find my faith to be stronger now that it has ever been, rooted as it is in asking good questions and finding solid answers for myself.
And the above is something that can be generalized. If God is real, he is part of this reality and inextricable from it. Therefore, all questions lead to answers that are relevant to faith, even as they may be uncomfortable to the rehearsed answers of the purely religious.
Or, for that matter, the encrusted and often just as religiously rehearsed answers of people who have unquestioning faith in feminist ideology; socialism, social Darwinism, Objectivism and all such philosophies are often applied as doctrinal approaches to the way Reality works.
And that means we need to be able to question how well they work, and under what circumstances. The moment you are told that it's wrong to question a doctrine - it means the doctrine holds no sort of answer to that question.
Good Christians and people who have learned to be intellectually honest by other means should chuckle and "shake the dust from their feet."
If Reality is unwelcome in a church or a college, for whatever reason, it means they are invested in lying to themselves and to you. You need not bother wondering why - it's enough to know that the "why" will butter no parsnips for YOUR plate.
And it will butter no scones for your children.