Category Archives: signed

Tiger Woods and Social Studies

Here’s what I, as a Social Studies educator, find completely unacceptable from Tiger Woods: Woods weighs in on Augusta membership GolfWeb Wire Services — July 16, 2002 GULLANE, Scotland — Tiger Woods was vague, his answers repetitive. For the first time at a major championship, he seemed unprepared and uncomfortable when handling a topic that […]

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Representative Democracy vs. the Senate filibuster

A cloture-proof filibuster is more than just a remote hypothetical possibility. The pie-chart here provides a picture of what it means for representative democracy when such a minority can hold hostage the government of the United States. The minority — in terms of representation of the people — is significantly less than the 40% that it is often thought to be.

SBOE: The Missing Episodes

From what we hear in these proceedings, there could be an SBOE majority, along with the Commissioner, who are open to this kind of politicization of committee membership, not only for TEKS development, but for textbook approval as well. They have the power to do this even thought it’s not really required by the statute (as Ames falsely claims that it is). Still, in case the claim about the statute will not be put to rest by the Board’s TEA lawyer, the sane attorneys Craig and Berlanga must be prepared to request an opinion from the Attorney General, which would decisively shut down this claim by the appointees of Bradley and McLeroy.

Voting on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, by Party

This (and the previous) post are written with concern for “ensuring that our youth get an accurate historical view of the United States,” rather than the false view that Virginia Foxx and others have been trying to project, with their deceptive use of such practices as concealing the historical context while alluding to the aggregated voting percentages. Factually accurate statistics can always be used, without their necessary context, for telling lies. As they say, “Figures never lie, but liars figure.”

Experts, standards, textbooks

It looks to me like they have not actually changed the definition of who is an expert. What they’ve done, rather, is to change it so people don’t need any expertise to be on the textbook review panel. I can see how there could be some rationale for including non-experts in the standards development process, since that can be regarded as a policy-making process, in which it could make some sense to include some political interest representation, along with the expertise. The same rationale would not apply, however, to the review of textbooks. At that point, the policy decisions have been made already. Policy determination is something prior to and separate from textbook review. Textbook review might require different kinds of expertise (expertise in grade-specific pedagogy, for example, as well as expertise in the subject or discipline), but it is not a process calling for further policy-making representation of political, commercial, or industrial interests. Employers might have expertise for judging textbooks and materials for occupational/vocational courses, but not for courses in science, math, history, etc.

“honest history” for Texas social studies standards?

In her testimony Wednesday night, November 18, before the Texas State Board of education, Carole Haynes (phonetic) helpfully informed the Board members that There has been so much controversy over the Civil Rights [legislation], … and the truth was, Republicans voted for it and the Democrats voted against it. … We need to set that […]

“Are Too Many Students Going to College?”

The cover feature for the November 13 issue of the Chronicle Review section of the The Chronicle of Higher Education is a forum on the question: “Are Too Many Students Going to College?” People are sure to differ in their judgments as to how that question should be answered. What I want to call attention […]

CERU: 12th Annual Report on Schoolhouse Commercialism Trends

The Commercialism in Education Research Unit, a partner center of the Education Policy Research Unit at Arizona State University, has released Click: The Twelfth Annual Report on Schoolhouse Commercialism Trends: 2008-2009. The word “Click” is part of the title this year (not just part of the link), since this year’s report is concerned with children […]

“neutrality” strikes again: banned band shirts in MO (evolution/religion dispute)

A story by Tonya Fennell for the Sedalia (MO) Democrat reports on the action taken by Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt in response to complaints from some parents about T-shirts designed for the school marching band’s program, “Brass Evolutions 2009.” Pollitt says he “made the decision to have the band members turn the shirts in after […]

ICR tries again in suit over grad “science ed” degree in Texas

Unwilling to deal with the hilariously hideous complaint that was filed initially by the Institute for Creation Research in their attempt to get accreditation for their graduate degree program in “science education,” the judge ordered ICR to file an amended complaint, and then a second amended complaint, with a maximum page limit of 20 pages. […]

“Neuatheismusstreit”: Was ist das?

My recent post on “Mooney & the ‘new atheists’: another round” begins with a reference to the latest round “in the ongoing Neuatheismusstreit.” I’ve been asked what that is–this “Neuatheismusstreit” that I’m referring to. Let me begin with the “sense” (or Sinn) of the word, and then explain its “reference” (or Bedeutung) in the context […]

Mooney & the “new atheists”: another round

Another round in the ongoing Neuatheismusstreit was touched off by an opinion piece in the L.A. Times by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, authors of the new book Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future. They write: It often appears as though Dawkins and his followers–often dubbed the New Atheists, though some object to […]

TX “experts” and revision of the state Social Studies standards

Unlike school “Science,” the school subject(s) of “Social Studies” has no such well established recognized identity. If the Texas State Board of Education succeeds unchallenged in accepting people like David Barton to serve as “experts” on Social Studies, this reinforces the establishment of Social Studies as a school subject in which political, ideological, and religious agendas can be played out on the basis of sheer political power, unchecked by anything like the authority of experts in the disciplines.

Unscientific America, and Unscientific America

A more complete account of forces contributing to this Curriculum Animi Publici would have to take into account the deliberate role of commercial interests over the last century in actively promoting public confusion and misunderstanding of science, in the course of muddying (or poisoning?) the public wells of discourse on specific policy matters such as smoking, environmental pollution, food safety, climate change, etc. [Click on title above for the full post.]

“Science” education in Japan — 理科, 科学: 違いは何ですか?

There are two words in Japanese that are both translated into English as “science.” My purpose in this post is to ask about the differences–and the relationships–between these words: their senses or meanings, their usage, the ideas that they signify … I know that both “kagaku” (科学) and “rika” (理科) are translated as “science.” Are these just two different words for the same thing? I don’t think so; but I don’t fully understand the relationships and differences between them.

The “What’s worthwhile?” question in Curriculum Studies

The key curriculum question in the United States – what knowledge is of most worth – is not a quiet question. It is a call to arms; it is a call to contemplation; it is a call to complicated conversation. It is our uniquely vocational call. For those who aspire to work within the vocation […]

the Comer decision: What “disputed issues”?

While awaiting news on whether the decision against Chris Comer’s suit against the TEA will be appealed, I have finally gotten around to reading the opinion by District Court Judge Lee Yeakel (not to be confused with the Simpson’s character). There’s a serious problem in the judge’s analysis (and the TEA’s argument), but to take […]