GOP 101... Using The Power Of The State To Warp The Minds Of Students With Ideology And Bronze Age Fairy Tales
In an ideal Republican University, everyone would be required to take an ethics course taught by Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed. Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand's corpse would be teaching economics. Science would be no problem either and they're already honing their skills in the states that they control-- like poor delusional Kansas.
Last week, the Kansas House Education Committee introduced a bill that mandates teachers question the scientific basis of global warming, becoming the latest state to take up one of American Legislative Exchange Council’s “model bills” aiming to misrepresent climate change in schools.This is what happens in a one-party state. They can redefine reality so that it bears little resemblance to what the rest of the world defines as reality. And, obviously Kansas-- which doesn't have a functioning Democratic Party, thanks primarily to Rahm Emanuel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz for wrecking Howard Dean's 50 State Strategy-- is far from the only state whose citizens have been abandoned to the whims of the crackpots. This week Mother Jones has an even sadder story about how Oklahoma politicians are setting policies that warp the minds of the state's students and make them unemployable in the real world.
Kansas would join Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Oklahoma as the fifth state to cast climate change as a “controversial” topic. But climate change is only controversial in political and polluter circles, not the scientific community. 97 percent of climate scientists actively publishing in the field agree climate change is human-caused.
As National Center for Science Education executive director Eugenie C. Scott explained, “The only effects of enacting such a misguided bill would be to discourage responsible teachers from presenting climate science accurately and to encourage irresponsible teachers to misrepresent it as controversial.”
...The bill resembles an ALEC “model bill,” written for corporate lobbyists. ALEC’s model bill mandates “a range of perspectives presented in a balanced manner,” “instruction in critical thinking so that students will be able to fairly and objectively evaluate scientific and economic controversies,” and present climate change “in language appropriate for education rather than for propagandizing.” At the same time ALEC’s legislation has gained ground in other states, the similarities to Kansas’ bill are striking, even though the state battles a destructive drought made more likely and severe in a warming climate.
In biology class, public school students can't generally argue that dinosaurs and people ran around Earth at the same time, at least not without risking a big fat F. But that could soon change for kids in Oklahoma: On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories such as biological evolution and anthropogenic (human-driven) climate change.
Gus Blackwell, the Republican state representative who introduced the bill, insists that his legislation has nothing to do with religion; it simply encourages scientific exploration. "I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks," says Blackwell, who previously spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. "A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations."
Stated another way, students could make untestable, faith-based claims in science classes without fear of receiving a poor mark.
HB1674 is the latest in an ongoing series of "academic freedom" bills aimed at watering down the teaching of science on highly charged topics. Instead of requiring that teachers and textbooks include creationism-- see the bill proposed by Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin-- HB1674's crafters say it merely encourages teachers and students to question, as the bill puts it, the "scientific strengths and weaknesses" of topics that "cause controversy," including "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."
|Missouri's GOP Whip wants everyone to be steeped in the same ignorance he's stuck in|