Archive for the ‘education’ tag
@reneehendricks Really? http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=26361#p26361 … WTF is wrong with those mods on #AtheismPlus? Gigantic asshats, I swear.
The post she is referencing:
by maiforpeace » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:34 pm
Specimen, bonjour!I speak several languages including French, and I’m afraid you don’t possess the English language skills to communicate properly in such a serious and mindful discussion. I think you are better off just reading right now, and maybe you can get a buddy who writes English better to help you write posts so you can participate and offer your own contributions to this thread.
So I will ask you politely to desist from posting further in this thread. Thank you, Mai
A reader was asked to quit posting because they don’t speak perfect English? Wtf.
And further down in the thread:
by Flewellyn » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:19 am
MOD NOTE: This topic is no longer serving a useful purpose. It has been locked.
So an admin just locks a conversation whenever they subjectively feel it’s no longer serving a purpose? Stunning.
@bluharmony @Stefanelli is my hero: Q&A about Atheism Plus, White Male Privilege, Guilt by Association, Schrodinger’…http://freethoughtblogs.com/alstefanelli/2012/10/09/qanda/ … …
Ten Commitments: Guiding Principles for Teaching Values in America’s Public Schools
Altruism is the unselfish concern for the welfare of others without expectation of reward, recognition, or return. Opportunities for acts of altruism are everywhere in the family, the classroom, the school, and the wider community. Think of examples of altruistic acts in your experience. What person-to-person and group projects, classroom and school-wide activities, and community service projects might you and your students undertake?
Caring for the World Around Us
Everyone can and ought to play a role in caring for the Earth and its inhabitants. We can directly experience the living things in our homes and neighborhoods like trees, flowers, birds, insects, and pets. Gradually we expand our neighborhood. We learn about deserts and oceans, rivers and forests, the wild life around us and the wild life elsewhere. We learn that we are dependent on each other, on the natural world, and all that lives in it for food and shelter, space and beauty.
We gain reliable knowledge because we are able to observe, report, experiment, and analyze what goes on around us. We also learn to raise questions that are clear and precise, to gather information, and to reason about the information we receive in a way that tests it for truthfulness, accuracy, and utility. From our earliest years we learn how to think and to share and challenge our ideas and the ideas of others, and consider their consequences. Practice asking “what next?” and “why?” and “how do I/you/we know that?”
We human beings are capable of empathy, the ability to understand and enter imaginatively into another living being’s feelings, the sad ones and the happy ones as well. Many of the personal relationships we have (in the family, among friends, between diverse individuals, and amid other living things) are made positive through empathy. With discussion and role-playing, we can learn how other people feel when they are sad or hurt or ignored, as well as when they experience great joys. We can use stories, anecdotes, and classroom events to help us nurture sensitivity to how our actions impact others.
Questions of fairness, cooperation, and sharing are among the first moral issues we encounter in our ethical development as human beings. Ethical education is ongoing implicitly and explicitly in what is called the “hidden curriculum” that we experience through the media, the family, and the community. Ethics can be taught through discussion, role-playing, story telling, and other activities that improve analysis and decision-making regarding what’s good and bad, right and wrong.
We live in a world that is rich in cultural, social, and individual diversity, a world where interdependence is increasing rapidly so that events anywhere are more likely to have consequences everywhere. Much can be done to prepare the next generation for accepting the responsibility of global citizenship. Understanding can be gained regarding the many communities in which we live through history, anthropology, and biology. A linguistic, ethnic, and cultural diversity are present in the classroom and provide lessons of diversity and commonality. We help others reach understanding about the interconnectedness of the welfare of all humanity.
Human rights is the idea that people should have rights just because they are human beings. These rights are universal. That is, they are for everyone no matter what their race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, age, sex, political beliefs, intelligence, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. School projects can be undertaken to learn about human rights, such as interviewing people who have once or are now participating in various rights movements. Student courts can introduce the idea and practice of due process, a key component of human rights.
Peace and Social Justice
A curriculum that values and fosters peace education would promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among nations as well as among cultural and religious or philosophical groups. Education should include opportunities to learn about the United Nations’ role in preventing conflict as well as efforts to achieve social justice here in the United States. Students should learn about problems of injustice including what can be done to prevent and respond to them with meaningful actions that promote peace and social justice both at home and abroad.
Our behavior is morally responsible when we tell the truth, help someone in trouble, and live up to promises we’ve made. Our behavior is legally responsible when we obey a just law and meet the requirements of membership or citizenship. But we also have a larger responsibility to be a caring member of our family, our community, and our world. Stories and role-playing can help students understand responsibility and its absence or failure. We learn from answering such questions as: What happens when we live in accordance with fair and just rules? What happens when we don’t? What happens when the rules are unjust?
Service and Participation
Life’s fulfillment can emerge from an individual’s participation in the service of humane ideals. School-based service-learning combines community service objectives and learning objectives with the intent that the activities change both the recipient and the provider. It provides students with the ability to identify important issues in real-life situations. Through these efforts we learn that each of us can help meet the needs of others and of ourselves. Through our lifetime, we learn over and over again of our mutual dependence.
Kansas State Board of Education member Ken Willard, who has in the past supported school materials that throw the fact of evolution into question, said this week that he’s now concerned with proposed materials that rightly describe evolution as established science:
In the past, Willard has supported standards for Kansas with material that questions evolution; guidelines that he and other conservatives approved in 2005 were supplanted by the current ones.
Willard said the draft embraces naturalism and secular humanism, which precludes God or another supreme being in considering how the universe works. He said he intends to raise the issue Tuesday.
“That’s going to be very problematic,” Willard told The Associated Press in an interview. “They are preferring one religious position over another.”
This is the sort of stupidity that labels evolution, or even secularism, as religions alongside Christianity or Islam or Judaism. It’s not only wrong; it’s a preposterous notion. And statements like the above would be all in good fun if the people making them weren’t actually serious. That’s the truly problematic part.
Thanks to Robert Luhn with the National Center for Science Education for sending me this video.
This is a symposium titled “Why Does the Debate Matter?” with Michael McConnell (Stanford), Hank Greely (Stanford), Ronald Numbers (Wisconsin), Michael Ruse (Florida State) and Eugenie Scott (NCSE) in respect to Edwards v. Aguillard.
Thanks to Robert Luhn from the National Center for Science Education for passing this bit of news along to me.
This issue has been stewing for quite some time, but the Texas Board of Education voted 8-0 this week to use mainstream science textbooks from established publishers in its classroom materials, rather than use materials from International Databases, LLC., that would have included elements of intelligent design, or at least thrown Darwinism and evolution into some question.
Here’s some examples of material submitted to the Texas BOE from International Databases (I assume it’s no coincidence that the LLC’s initials are “ID”) claiming that “intelligent input is necessary for life’s origin” and “life on Earth is the result of intelligent causes.”
In an article from The Dallas Morning Star, International Databases president Stephen Sample had this to say:
I am not trying to bring the book of Genesis into science classes. One of the reasons I decided to enter the bidding for these books was to give Texas students a fair and honest treatment of evolution. The scientific community is split on Darwin’s theory, and my material reflects that.
The mainstream scientific community is not “split” on evolution, and it has not even been unsure on the matter in a very long time. Likewise, Darwin’s “theory” is no longer a theory in the more common sense of the word, that is, “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.”
See this article for more background on the Texas BOE case.
I previously wrote on this topic at this link.
Seemingly antithetical to anything that could be called educational planning, planning based on science and the record of history, that is, the Texas Board of Education handed down a 10-5 preliminary vote in favor of amending the state’s social studies curriculum, with many of the decisions falling along conservative political or ideological lines.
So, he introduced an amendment to state social studies curriculum standards that said: “understand how government taxation and regulations can serve as restriction to private enterprise.”
He said the students need to know that over-regulation and over-taxation can inhibit innovation and stifle industry.
His fellow member, Terri Leo, agreed. She said it’s especially important today, with issues like cap-and-trade and “policies that are based on supposed global warming theories.”
The amendment passed.
As part of the new curriculum, the elected board — made up of lawyers, a dentist and a weekly newspaper publisher among others — rejected an attempt to ensure that children learn wshy the U.S. was founded on the principle of religious freedom.
But, it agreed to strengthen nods to Christianity by adding references to “laws of nature and nature’s God” to a section in U.S. history that requires students to explain major political ideas.
They also agreed to strike the word “democratic” in references to the form of U.S. government, opting instead to call it a “constitutional republic.”
In addition to learning the Bill of Rights, the board specified a reference to the Second Amendment right to bear arms in a section about citizenship in a U.S. government class and agreed to require economics students to “analyze the decline of the U.S. dollar including abandonment of the gold standard.”
And possibly the most ridiculous example I can find, one that smacks of anti-intellectualism all around is the case of the children’s book, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr., which the board of education moved to ban because, and without doing any fact-checking, members thought it was written by Bill Martin, who indeed penned, “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.” The latter Bill Martin, however, is a philosophy teacher at DePaul University in Chicago.
From the The Dallas Morning News:
Hardy’s motion is “a new low in terms of the group that’s supposed to represent education having such faulty research and making such a false leap without substantiating what they’re doing,” said Michael Sampson, Martin’s co-author on 30 children’s books.
The social studies standards update, which started last spring when groups of educators met to suggest revisions, has brought criticism from the right and the left about politicizing the process. As trustees worked their way through a draft this month, political ideas like imperialism, communism and free enterprise were at the heart of some of the changes.
The good news, I suppose, is that the person holding the board’s most conservative, far right seat, member Don McLeroy, was ousted by lobbyist Thomas Ratliff earlier this month. Said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network:
Voters sent a clear message by rejecting the ringleader [McLeroy] of the faction that has repeatedly dragged our public schools into the nation’s divisive culture wars over the past four years. Parents want a state board that focuses on educating their kids, not promoting divisive political and personal agendas.
The bad news, at least for students, is that
social conservatives claimed at least one victory as Ken Mercer of San Antonio successfully fended off a GOP challenge from Austin attorney Tim Tuggey. And conservative Brian Russell forced an April runoff with educator Marsha Farney in the race for the seat held by outgoing Christian conservative Cynthia Dunbar.
“I hope we can keep our conservative posture,” Mercer said of the board.
Since when should educational material break down along party lines or even ideological lines? I will now return to some corner silently weeping.
Thomas Friedman’s Feb. 24 New York Times column from South Korea read thusly:
For all the talk in recent years about America’s inevitable decline, all eyes are not now on Tokyo, Beijing, Brussels or Moscow — nor on any other pretenders to the world heavyweight crown. All eyes are on Washington to pull the world out of its economic tailspin. At no time in the last 50 years have we ever felt weaker, and at no time in the last 50 years has the world ever seen us as more important.
It seems there comes a price with all those years spent touting America as the world leader in well … everything, from economics to military might to democratic freedoms. Many of our leaders (i.e. Carter, Reagan, Bush version 1 and 2, Clinton) have led the charge in spreading democracy abroad, regardless of whether the people of the receiving countries desired it or not. Since the years following the Great Depression, our country’s pendulum has swung upward economically and in world influence. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing (OK, taking over a country and by brute force leading that country toward democracy when no one asked for our help probably is a bad thing, but I digress …) as long as we are willing and able to meet the challenges that come with such responsibility.
Or as Friedman poignantly quoted in his column a “senior Korean official:”
“No other country can substitute for the U.S. The U.S. is still No. 1 in military, No. 1 in economy, No. 1 in promoting human rights and No. 1 in idealism. Only the U.S. can lead the world. No other country can. China can’t. The E.U. is too divided, and Europe is militarily far behind the U.S. So it is only the United States … We have never had a more unipolar world than we have today.”
Is this a scary thing or a positive? At face value, it’s a touch scary. We aren’t exactly the most progressive country (though we seem to be increasingly headed that way, paragraph 6) in the world if you think about some of our present or past ideals. Some among us, about 49 percent, according to a recent poll, favor a “comprehensive government health care system,” and 10 percent would like to see such a system with “limited” government. The Obama administration, perhaps and finally, may be able to get this done, but what of the last few decades?
Just yesterday, I spoke with a man whose wife was diagnosed about a year ago with ALS. He has liver cancer and chemo was ineffective (and actually made his condition worse). He is waiting on a transplant. He can’t work, can’t pay the bills and he’s taking care of his wife by himself, when someone should be taking care of him. He’s behind on his mortgage and is near foreclosure. Universal health care could help these folks at least be able to not worry about the medical stuff and focus on making the house payment, buying food and the like. Or, perhaps, Obama’s housing plan could provide similar relief. But our love affair with big business, pharmaceutical companies and their lobbying efforts have proven our idealisms are, or at least have been, ill-conceived.
We were one of the last to jump off the “slavery” ship (Most developed European nations abolished it before us, including Russia, France, Denmark, Sweden, the British Empire [except in some colonies], etc.) After that, the country limped through Reconstruction, the Black Codes, Jim Crow, lynchings and segregation before finally deciding that our black fellow-countrymen were actually, and not just in writing, our equals. Further, it’s well documented that we aren’t exactly trailblazers when it comes to education either.
So, I think there’s many areas in which, in fact, we aren’t leading and have lagged behind ideologically. Militarily, of course, we are leading, and maybe this is the area that matters most. Or, perhaps our one-month sojourn under a new administration has made folks forget about the last eight years of failed policies. Lest we forget, with the exception of George Bush and his administration, many of those folks who supported those ideologies (Sanford, Perdue, Palin, Jindal and the like) are still in Congress; they just don’t hold the majority.
Make no mistake, today, this is a great nation, regardless of our previous moral lapses. But if one measures greatness by the average life span of the populous or by quality of living or by educational achievement, etc., we simply have a long way to go. Because of our military might and our insistence on carrying the world banner, folks look to us. And that’s fine. Obama seems to be up to the task. I just think it’s peculiar that given our many shortfalls, the eyes are still all on us. And perhaps that speaks even more to our standing, and in turn, our immense responsibility.
I admit. I haven’t worked in the industry for decades. I don’t concretely know what sells newspapers and what doesn’t. I know the direction the industry is going, and I know some strategies for luring potential readers to slip their hands into their pockets, find a couple quarters and deposit accordingly. But do any of us in the industry actually know what sells papers? Is it Godzilla-esque pictures or headlines? Teasers? Coverage on the issues that matter most to them?
I’m a word guy. I think well-crafted, well-reported stories are more important to fulfilling our service to the community than pictures or gigantic headlines. Especially in this era of “bigger is better” and less (content) is more, I suppose I’m in the minoritythere.
But the truth is this: we are living in an era where Reading — and its cousin, Learning — are not just dying, but are becoming taboo. Sure, Joe Schmoe reads, but it’s a headline here, a snippet there. The ability and desire to dig deep into the written word, to dig deep into complex issues has long-since escaped us. And that’s why the written word, the printed press, is slowly nailing itself to a cross. It really is a self-sacrifice. Newspapers still claim to be the authority on local issues ranging from zoning to immigration to water authorities and crime, but the nation’s leading papers — The New York Times being the exception … because it can — do their utmost to bury that important content inside the newspaper, thus making the front page appear like some daily Michelangelo painting, replete with teasers, huge pictures and giant headlines. But, consequently, my life calling is not to graphics and pictures, though I’m adept to these things, but to words on a page. Still, I play along.
Why have even the nation’s largest papers succumbed to such devices? I offer The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a prime example. The Anderson Independent-Mail as another, which, consequently, has seemingly banished copy altogether from its front page.
This, because the economic situation at many newspapers is that bad, thanks to the 24-hour news cycle on cable television and the general dumbing down of America. Continually, we hear about buyouts, restructuring, etc. within the industry’s leading papers. Photos and graphics become necessary in order for newspaper to compete and not be drowned out in the blare.
Obviously, this speaks to a larger issue: that of our Red Bull-infused, spastic society. And admittedly, I get caught up in the great and rabbit race to nowhere. Frequently, I will catch myself surfing online, and — oooh — something else comes up that I might like to check out, thus diverting my attention from whatever I originally was seeking information about. What was it? I can’t remember. It’s maddening. In another post, I quoted Kurt Cobain on television:
I hardly write any stories and I don’t work on my songs quite as intently as in the past. You know why??? Television Television is the most evil thing on our planet. Go right now to your TV and toss it out the window, or sell it and buy a better stereo. — “Journals,” Kurt Cobain
I posit that the Internet is the new television.
Have any of you heard of The Spectator? It was a short-lived publication in the early-18th century. It was published in an era where coffee houses were hubs of political and societal conversation and learning. People then read as if their lives depended on it, and often, they did. Television, since the late 1930s has served to muck that up. The Internet has mucked it up further. I would argue that the Internet is actually more productive for the educational betterment of society than television, but neither wins a gold star.
Simply, I wish folks today read as if their lives depended on it. We simply have to promote a society that is bent on making reading the printed word a priority. Why? Because, as convenient and good as it may be, the Internet isn’t ironclad. Books in hard copy form are ironclad. Government documents in hard copy form are ironclad. But once they reach the Internet or e-mail, they can be manipulated at will by people who know more than you about Web site security. By way of example, my entire blog www.jeremystyron.com, which is on a separate server, completely went down for a few hours yesterday I can only assume, by a hacker.
I’m not optimistic that such a society will emerge in the near future — our society will continue wind-blown into its own technological tailspin — but I am committed to at least trying, in as much as I can, to focus people to more hard copy learning. I say that while admitting that any kind of learning and reading, virtual or not, is benefitial.
The most efficient studying takes place, I feel, not when one is, in tandem, listening to music, playing an online solitaire game and reading some essay for class, but when one is sitting upright at a kitchen table, hunched over a book — with nothing as a distraction — with, perhaps, only a cup of coffee as company. Such a commitment will assist in building a society again more focused on the printed word, one more focused on dissecting and vetting the complex issues that confound us.