Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If this was my kid's teacher ...

Our parent-teacher conference would be quite ... interesting:

A set of handouts used by John Freshwater in his 8th grade science class have featured in the testimony of several witnesses over the course of his termination hearing. As I reported a day ago, Dr. Patricia Princehouse critiqued those handouts on Friday, January 9. I thought it would be helpful for readers to have a clearer idea of just what kind of trash science Freshwater was purveying in them. I’ll reproduce excerpts from his "Giraffe" handout below and add some commentary of my own. Dr. Princehouse had more extensive commentary.

The Giraffe below the fold.

The "Giraffe" handout was used as a "bell ringer," according to testimony. That is, it is a fill-in-the-blanks exercise for use in a few spare minutes just before the bell rang ending class. According to people I’ve talked with, they’re handed out just before the end of class, and the teacher reads through them giving the ‘correct’ answers to be filled in the blanks. At the end of class they’re returned to the teacher. We have copies because over the years several students hung on to them and took them home to show their parents.


Now, you wanna teach Intelligent Design in your private school? Have a nut. It's still America and if people want to pay to send their ankle-biters there for a thorough brainwashing, god bless 'em. When this Jesus-drivel makes it into a public school, and is peddled by a science teacher, I got a problem.

It's why I've been yelling for years for a nationally standardized public education syllabus. A set of standards where the kids in public school learn the same things, from state to state and across the country. It is a crime to allow local school boards to decide for our children (the future of our country) whether fairy tales and myths be taught or not.

Nobody can give me a good reason why children in different parts of the country are taught differently. What are they saying? Kids in certain areas are morons? Listen to me. They all have to attend the same colleges and if they ain't prepared, they ain't gonna get in. The world is a lot smaller nowadays, especially since the interwebs became a big part of our lives. There are necessary things the children must learn and to allow local power mongers to decide whether or not they do is unconscionable in this day and age. I'm not saying we should abolish local school boards but when it comes to the curriculum, they should not be allowed to inject them with their personal beliefs.

If we plan to work ourselves out of this financial crisis, we must produce intelligent children to compete with others who place education as a far higher priority than we do. Spend some time in Korea and you'll be amazed at what the kids learn at what ages and their hunger to do so. Education is stressed, almost from birth. Same with most of the nations in the EU. The 'Stupid is Chic' mentality of the last 8 years must be reversed in order for us to become competitive again.

President (it's less than a week, fuck that "-elect" shit) Obama's views on education are welcome and say he understands that educated, worldly children are America's key to a financially secure future. I'll be more enthusiastic when he comes forth with an actual plan but his words give me cause for optimism. In general, it's a refreshing change to have a President who can speak intelligently and thoughtfully, an educated President. Next Tuesday can't come fast enough.

Great thanks to Oliver Willis for the link.

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