(Salon) - High school science teacher Tim McDaniel is being investigated by Idaho’s professional standards commission because he allegedly used the word “vagina” while teaching a 10th grade biology lesson on reproduction and anatomy.
According to a report from Idaho’s Magic Valley News, four parents complained to school officials after learning that McDaniel explained the biology of an orgasm and used the word “vagina” during a lesson on human reproduction in his sophomore science class.
A disciplinary letter from the Idaho State Department of Education also accused McDaniels of showing a video clip in class depicting an infection of genital herpes and teaching about different forms of birth control. The letter also alleges that McDaniels told inappropriate jokes in class.
McDaniel also found himself in hot water for asking his students to write a critical response paper on climate change after showing them “An Inconvenient Truth.”
But his students are defending him, arguing in a petition that parents from their conservative community in Dietrich are trying to push a political agenda by getting their biology teacher fired:
“[T]here are a couple people in the community that are trying to get Mr. McDaniel fired for teaching the reproductive system, climate change, and several other science subjects. All these subjects were taught from the book and in good taste. He cares for each of his students and goes the extra mile to help them all. Now is the time for us to help by supporting him!”
For his part, McDaniel is perplexed by the accusations, telling Magic Valley News: “I teach straight out of the textbook, I don’t include anything that the textbook doesn’t mention. But I give every student the option not attend this class when I teach on the reproductive system if they don’t feel comfortable with the material.”
“This sort of thing makes you worry about what you teach,” he added. “That’s not right.”
When I saw the headline, my first thought was, “when the hell did ‘vagina’ become a dirty word?”
Then I saw that this guy is actually teaching climate and reproductive science in a highly conservative area. This is a smear campaign, still, I can’t believe one of the things they are trying to make a stink over is the word “vagina”.
It sounds like some of these parents need to grow up.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said on Tuesday that Democratic politicians have a conflict of interest in dealing with teachers’ unions because the unions contribute so heavily to their campaigns. He suggested that money should somehow be diverted or cut off, although he did not offer details.
Speaking in City at Education Nation, a forum sponsored by NBC, Romney told interviewer Brian Williams that he is not necessarily against a right to strike. “I don’t know that I would prevent teachers from being able to strike,” he said, adding later that “allowing teachers to strike on matters such as compensation I think is a right that exists in this country.”
The bigger problem, Romney said, is that “the person sitting across the table from them should not have received the largest campaign contribution from the teachers’ union themselves…. [It’s] an extraordinary conflict of interest and something that should be addressed.”
I can not wrap my head around how Mitt “Corporations are people” Romney could possibly make a statement like this.
So, corporations are people, but to hell with the teachers. Did I get that right Mittens?
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The man known to a generation of Americans as “The Science Guy” is condemning efforts by some Christian groups to cast doubts on evolution and lawmakers who want to bring the Bible into science classrooms.
Bill Nye, a mechanical engineer and star of the popular 1990s TV show “Bill Nye The Science Guy,” has waded into the evolution debate with an online video that urges parents not to pass their religious-based doubts about evolution on to their children.
Christians who view the stories of the Old Testament as historical fact have come to be known as creationists, and many argue that the world was created by God just a few thousand years ago.
“The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old,” Nye said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s not. And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.”
Millions of Americans do hold those beliefs, according to a June Gallup poll that found 46 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago.
Nye, 56, also decried efforts in recent years by lawmakers and school boards in some states to present Bible stories as an alternative to evolution in public schools. Tennessee passed a law earlier this year that protects teachers who let students criticize evolution and other scientific theories. That echoes a Louisiana law passed in 2008 that allows teachers to introduce supplemental teaching materials in science classes.
“If we raise a generation of students who don’t believe in the process of science, who think everything that we’ve come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text, you’re not going to continue to innovate,” Nye said in a wide-ranging telephone interview.
Charter Schools: As with all free market systems, privatized education will set the price high enough to ensure a profit.
Milton Friedman’s 1955 article, “The Role of Government in Education,” argued for a voucher system that would allow parents to purchase the school of their choice for their children. Just as Friedman’s supply-side free-market beliefs have been proven wrong, so also the notion of privatizing education is doomed to failure.
The evidence against charter schools is overwhelming. Their relative ineffectiveness is documented by studies from Stanford University, the Department of Education, Johns Hopkins University, and the RAND Corporation.
In addition to their poor performance, charters are more segregated, less likely to accept students with disabilities, and conducive to a widening of the racial and rich-poor education gaps.
Also, charter school teachers have less experience, and their turnover rate is higher.
Yet the media-supported myth of school privatization persists. Charters sustain this myth, according to noted education scholar Diane Ravitch, by “skimming off” the most motivated students from disadvantaged neighborhoods. They claim to select students randomly. But astudy of the highly regarded KIPP Charter School chain shows a pattern of “selective attrition” in which underperforming students are “counseled out.” About half of Kipp’s students leave between the 5th and 8th grades.
Charters can pull off their charade of success, because the privatization myth keeps disillusioned parents waiting at their front doors. There are currently about two million students in 5,600 charter schools throughout the U.S., with 600,000 children on the waiting lists.
In the end, perhaps the strongest argument against charter schools is that they’ve never been scaled up to a level that accommodates the majority of students. The profit motive wouldn’t allow such equality of opportunity without drastic cutbacks in teacher salaries and student support costs. After all, the people at the top need to grab their salaries first.
For years now we have seen people seeking to push the bible into the science classroom. However, the move in recent years to push the religiously based ‘charter school’ system has opened up a new front in the war to erode critical thinking skills. No longer satisfied with pushing the rubbish ofCreationism or abstinence only health education, now a new model is out, attacking the foundation of mathematics itself.
The A Beka Book company provides a great many of the literature for these religious schools. We come to expect dominionists to push for their lies about science and history, but the A Beka Book company produces a whole series of dominionist school textbooks, including a revisionist form of mathematics not based on logic nor reason but instead “mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute.”
Here is an example, taken from the A Beka Book piece titled “The Christian Approach to Elementary Math” originally published in 1980 and still used in their latest titles:
We are unabashed advocates of traditional math, not only because the students learn something that can be built upon, but also because it accords with our Christian viewpoints on education. Only from a Christian perspective can the basic rationale — the intrinsic reasonableness of traditional elementary math — be seen and appreciated. Traditional math will not succeed unless it is taught with the conviction that something more than arbitrary process derived from arbitrary principles is at work. The elementary student does not need to “understand” 2 + 2 = 4 in order to learn it and use it; he will learn the abstract principles later. But the elementary student does need to see his multiplication tables as part of the truth and order that God has built into reality. From the Christian perspective, 2 + 2 = 4 takes on cosmic significance, as does every fact of mathematics, however particular.
Note they call their Divine Mathematics “traditional math” in order to make it sound acceptable to a particular group of people. They are targeting the easily deceived who then feel that they are trying to restore “tradition.” They even claim that a student does not need to understand 2+2=4, only to accept it as a sign of divinity.
This reads almost like an article from The Onion.
I mean, fuck. I used to joke about shit like this but now it’s happening, and it’s not funny anymore.
"Anyone who believed your voice could make a difference, I want to reaffirm your belief: You made this happen."
— President Obama, signing a bill just now to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling. Tumblr, he means you. Keep it up. (via barackobama)
On 23 May, the Romney campaign released its education policy white paper titled A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education. If you liked the George W Bush administration’s education reforms, you will love the Romney plan. If you think that turning the schools over to the private sector will solve their problems, then his plan will thrill you.
The central themes of the Romney plan are a rehash of Republican education ideas from the past 30 years, namely, subsidizing parents who want to send their child to a private or religious school, encouraging the private sector to operate schools, putting commercial banks in charge of the federal student loan program, holding teachers and schools accountable for students’ test scores, and lowering entrance requirements for new teachers. These policies reflect the experience of his advisers, who include half a dozen senior officials from the Bush administration and several prominent conservative academics – among them, former Secretary of Education Rod Paige and former Deputy Secretary of Education Bill Hansen, and school choice advocates John Chubb and Paul Peterson.
Unlike George W Bush, who had to negotiate with a Democratic Congress to pass No Child Left Behind, Romney feels no need to compromise on anything. He needs to prove to the Republican party’s base – especially evangelicals – that he really is conservative. And this plan is “mission accomplished”.
Of course he (and the rest of the right) want to gut public schools. An educated public is much harder to control.