Archives for category: Separation of church

Oh my heavens!

I can’t believe it.

Creationism survives.

Science teachers, get involved.

Indiana teachers and parents and citizens: aren’t you glad Glenda Ritz will be state commissioner of education next year?

From a newspaper in Indiana:

A lengthy column today in the Lafayette Journal-Courier, by David Bangert, is headed “The evolution of Gov. Pence starts here; another creation science bill looms: An old fight over science will get a new look in 2013.”

A sample:

Indiana will have another discussion in the 2013 General Assembly session about how evolution is taught in the state’s science classrooms.

Same issue, new approach

“We’re going to try something a little different this time,” state Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, said this week.
Kruse was behind last session’s Senate Bill 89. In its original form, the bill offered to give local school boards the option to “require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science.”

Though not all prone to focus on the merits of sticking with the scientific method in science classrooms, senators were moved to water down the bill largely because of the presumed price tag. Creation science — even offered as a school board choice rather than a state mandate — adds up to a losing church-and-state proposition in the high courts. Rulings have been clear, not to mention expensive: Teaching creation science and intelligent design in public schools amounts to pushing religion, not science. And that crosses the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

A compromised SB89 that made it through the state Senate allowed schools to add courses that looked at the origin of life, provided they included theories from multiple religions. Considering that school districts already could do that with their non-science elective courses, the Indiana House took a pass.

This year, Kruse said, he’ll carry a bill designed by the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based public policy think tank. According to its website, the Discovery Institute “seeks to counter the materialistic interpretation of science by demonstrating that life and the universe are the products of intelligent design and by challenging the materialistic conception of a self-existent, self-organizing universe and the Darwinian view that life developed through a blind and purposeless process.”

More from the story:

Louisiana has had a similar law since 2008. Tennessee followed suit in 2012. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam declined to sign it, saying it would bring confusion instead of clarity, according to the Tennesseean news­paper in Nashville. Civil libertarians, the Tennessee Science Teachers Association and members of the National Academy of Sciences warned about what came to be called the “monkey bill,” named for the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial that went after a Tennessee teacher who dared to teach evolution against state laws at the time.

Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, told Nature magazine that the law was simply a “permission slip for teachers to bring creationism, climate-change denial and other non-science into science classrooms.”

The law took effect in April without the governor’s signature.

I should have reported this sooner, but other election returns distracted me.

Jeb Bush’s latest privatization scheme suffered a major setback at the hands of Florida voters.

He and his allies pushed Amendment 8 to allow public funds to flow to religious schools. As usual with “reform” measures, this one had a misleading name. It was about “religious freedom,” but voters recognized it was a voucher scheme and they rejected it overwhelmingly.

Other bad news for the Bush machine: Tony Bennett, the head of Bush’s Chiefs for Change, was whipped.

Tony Luna pushed Bush’s expensive but profitable (for tech companies) ideas about mandatory laptops for every student and mandatory online courses, as well as merit pay and union-demolition. Happily, the Luna laws were crushed and repealed by Idaho voters.

A reader from Washington State sends this comment:

Here is a satirical “Recipe for How To Change The Nation’s Schools.” I am a 33 year classroom teaching veteran currently working on the campaign to stop the charter school initiative in WA state. It doesn’t look good as Bill Gates and friends spend $9 million on ads (we have no ads).

RECIPE for Taking over a Nation’s Public Schools

Ingredients:
• A Few Super Wealthy Families (that have never attended public schools)
• Powerful Religious Groups convinced that what is wrong with the nation is caused by public education.
• Lobbyists for Private Corporations Waiting To Cash In on Public Money.
• A Political System that allows legislation to be “bought” where campaign money is uncontrolled.
• The illusion that the Public School System is Broken (despite the fact that it has steadily gotten better over time according to the NAEP)
• A few convincing movies to create a negative version of public schools to sway public sentiment.
• A pretense at reform by mandating progress on test scores with unattainable, unsupported goals that ensure turmoil and failure. Tie funding to those scores so they become all consuming. Also, remember that testing is big business for our friends.
• Someone to Blame: Teacher Unions (this is an especially important ingredient since they are the only organization with enough influence to stop the process of taking over the public schools)

Directions:

Put all the ingredients together, stir well. When the time is right, buy legislation with millions and millions of dollars that puts into place the kind of privately controlled schools you really want. Also, do this in a way that further weakens neighborhood public schools by stealing their funding and resources.

Finally, sit back and enjoy you what you have created: A new version of Public Schools where teacher’s cannot unionize, where creationism can be taught as scientific truth with public funds, and where corporations can better control education of the public more to their liking while their friends cash in on the profits.

The frosting on the cake: Yes, it was a little expensive buying these ingredients, but now we have the public permanently financing our project!

 

The mayor of Philadelphia says there is no difference among different kinds of schools, be they public, private, religious, charter, whatever.

He sees no special responsibility to support public education.

In a sense it is understandable since the people of Philadelphia lost control of their schools to the state years ago.

And the state imposed a massive privatization scheme, which failed.

And now the state control board for the public schools wants to try privatization again.

Parent activist Helen Gym explains to Mayor Michael Nutter why public education matters to the people of Philadelphia.

Investigative reporter Daniel Denvir followed the money trail and uncovered a reason for Mayor Nutter’s indifference to the powerless people of Philadelphia: the big money in the city and suburbs is betting on privatization. The campaign to privatize the schools of Philadelphia has raised $50 million, while the public schools are neglected by the powerful.

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