(Image via Wikimedia)
Religious fanatics come in all shapes and sizes:
In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS, children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.
Instead, they’ll be subjected to the teachings of the radical Islamist group. And any teacher who dares to break the rules “will be punished.”
ISIS revealed its new educational demands in fliers posted on billboards and on street poles.
In the letter, ISIS said alternative courses will be added.
Books cannot include any reference to evolution. And teachers must say that the laws of physics and chemistry “are due to Allah’s rules and laws.”
That’s happening in Syria. This is happening right here in the good ol’ US of A:
Only a few months after he took office, [Louisiana Governor] Bobby Jindal signed the Louisiana Science Education Act, a law that was written and promoted by far-right religious organizations seeking to allow the teaching of new earth creationism in the public school science classroom.
As students settle in for a new academic year, the State Board of Education is about to begin consideration of proposed new social studies textbooks for Texas public schools. The final vote is set for November. Unfortunately, early signs suggest that the state’s process for reviewing and adopting those textbooks is so deeply flawed and politicized that Texas families simply can’t trust it.
The last time Texas adopted social studies textbooks – in 2002 – political activists and members of the state education board themselves demanded scores of changes to content they didn’t like.
Publishers resisted some, such as demands to downplay slavery as the central cause of the Civil War. But they buckled on others, such as rewriting passages in geography textbooks so students learn that landscape features and fossil fuels formed “in the distant past” instead of “millions of years ago.” The latter conflicted with the beliefs of biblical creationists that Earth is just a few thousand years old.
September 17, 2014 at 1:35 PM
Well folks, I’d say this makes it pretty clear that Todd Staples, Texas’s Agricultural Commissioner, works for the beef industry, not for the people of the Lone Star State. Kids liking salad? Fruit? No way!
DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas — “Meatless Monday” is just what it sounds like: A day without meat. It’s a trend happening across the nation, and Dripping Springs ISD is trying it out — and cooking up some controversy.
The international campaign encourages everyone to skip eating meat one day a week. Advocates say it can improve people’s health and the health of the planet.
On Monday’s menu at Rooster Springs Elementary School: cheese pizza, black bean burritos, vegetarian chili, cheese nachos and more.
The cheese sauce is made with real cheese. It comes from Land O’ Lakes, and it actually has incredible value as a protein product,” said John Crowley, director of Dripping Springs ISD’s Child Nutrition Services.
He said after talking with other school districts, including one in Los Angeles, he decided to give “Meatless Monday” a try.
“With more parents and kids asking for vegetarian choices, we just decided to give it a try in Dripping Springs for a year,” Crowley said. “We’re definitely not against meat. This is a pilot program we’ve decided to try this year and see how our kids do with it.”
It’s happening at the district’s three elementary school campuses, and it’s getting good reviews from some young critics.
“I think it’s pretty good,” said 10-year-old Avery. “They used to have a salad bar and I used to eat it every day instead of getting meat.”
But wait, yep, Texas’s Ag Commissioner is having a fit because the elementary schools in teeny tiny Dripping Springs, Texas (pop. 1,788) are going
meatless beefless one day a week:
But “Meatless Monday” is drawing criticism from Texas Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples.
In an Austin American-Statesman editorial, Staples wrote, “restricting children’s meal choice to not include meat is irresponsible and has no place in our schools.”
He calls the meat-free campaign “an activist movement that seeks to eliminate meat from Americans’ diets seven days a week — tarting [sic] with Mondays.”
Actually, maybe we should thank good ol’ Todd Staples. He undoubtedly promoted the Meatless Monday movement more by raising a stink about this than would have happened if he’d just kept his mouth shut. Sheesh. But thanks Todd!
September 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM
I predict Republicans will start hating on the U.K. now, like they did during the French Fries/American Fries crisis:
Many people who value science education are hoping the US takes note of the UK’s good example, but that seems unlikely considering that the UK appears to have taken note of the US’s bad example. Lawmakers in the UK probably realized that if they didn’t make it absolutely clear that creationism wasn’t allowed today, then tomorrow they’d be discussing the need for language banning the teaching of Loch Ness Monsterism.
If the U.S. banned the teaching of creationism,or more realistically, increased funding for teaching — I know it’s a bad word — SCIENCE, we might get off the Loch Ness Monster thing.
June 19, 2014 at 7:23 PM
I think this is one of, if not the, most important and urgent issues of our time:
The health of a democracy is dependent on an educated citizenry. Political illiteracy is the manure for the flourishing of political appeals based on sheer ignorance.
So let me introduce you to House Majority Speaker Eric Cantor’s Republican Party vanquisher David Brat (R-VI). First thing you need to know about this far right-wing political upstart is he’s a university professor, which means it’s highly probable he’s not an idiot. He also identifies with the Tea Party strain of conservatism, which, paradoxically, means it’s likely he is, indeed, an idiot. And by idiot, I mean wholly ignorant of U.S. history and constitutionality.
In fact, in his victory speech delivered last week to his supporters, Brat demonstrated that he sits among the majority of Americans when it comes to political and cultural illiteracy.
“I wish to restore America to its Judeo-Christian roots,” declared Brat. “God acted through people on my behalf.”
Ignoring the self-delusion of the latter part of the above text, Brat now joins no less than 200 million Americans, according to a number of polls, who believe the U.S. Constitution and our laws are based on Judeo-Christian values. On any given Sunday you will hear Christian-right politicians claim absurdly that U.S. laws are based on the Bible. Spoiler alert: they’re dead wrong. The Constitution’s secular provisions came into being thanks to the Founding Fathers, who shared a deep suspicion of both organized religion and the supernatural. The Constitution was framed with a conscious omission of any mention of God and a prohibition of all religious tests for public office. Moreover, the First Amendment’s declaration that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” embodied the founders’ view that religion has no place in the political domain.
That not a single major media outlet bothered to correct Brat’s ignorance represents America’s continual decline in American civic and cultural literacy.
The nation’s collective ignorance as it pertains to cultural and civic literacy paves the way for extremist politicians to convince the public of the validity of extreme positions.
June 18, 2014 at 10:36 AM
(Image via Wikipedia)
Hey parents, the corporatocracy is tracking your kid — big time — beginning in kindergarten:
The NSA has nothing on the ed tech startup known as Knewton.
The data analytics firm has peered into the brains of more than 4 million students across the country. By monitoring every mouse click, every keystroke, every split-second hesitation as children work through digital textbooks, Knewton is able to find out not just what individual kids know, but how they think. It can tell who has trouble focusing on science before lunch — and who will struggle with fractions next Thursday.
Even as Congress moves to rein in the National Security Agency, private-sector data mining has galloped forward — perhaps nowhere faster than in education. Both Republicans and Democrats have embraced the practice. And the Obama administration has encouraged it, even relaxing federal privacy law to allow school districts to share student data more widely.
June 2, 2014 at 5:26 PM
This is what happens to the tax system when it’s permissible for corporate lobbyists to throw megabucks at people who are supposed to represent, ah, We the People. Hardscrabble teachers’ (and other) unions crawl on their hands and knees in an attempt to be heard but they aren’t. They don’t have the
(Image via Wikipedia)
This is so wrong:
May 10, 2014 at 7:11 PM