Texas Goes Completely Nuts

22 05 2010

Or it is just formalized.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/us_and_canada/10141121.stm

I have to run but here’s a place to discuss the latest until JJ can get her rant on. 🙂

Nance

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37 responses

22 05 2010
JJ

I just came in from the farmer’s market and put on the president’s commencement address to West Point. He said it was the ninth in a row during which they were graduating in wartime. I think that’s because TX went nuts a long time ago. Bush went back there and Cheney still has his ten-gallon hat on in some undisclosed bunker . . . probably looking out on the biggest man-made disaster since Hiroshima, in MY gulf war (not the middle eastern ones.)

22 05 2010
JJ

Don’t let Texas secede. Expel them. If not from the union, at least from public education. Church and state are violating the constitution there.

22 05 2010
Audrey

It’s Texas. I realise they’ve gone quite off the deep end, but it’s Texas! Why is anyone surprised?

23 05 2010
JJ

True. And it’s textbooks. Maybe assigning what’s in the textbook won’t work any better for this new stuff than for the old stuff. 😉

23 05 2010
Nance Confer

Maybe all other public school districts will not cave to this ignorance and will demand the textbook publishers put out two versions — one TX-based and one reality-based.

23 05 2010
JJ

Or wouldn’t it be amazing if they moved more toward real books by real historians?! I have a dream (oh sorry TX, that speech isn’t part of America anymore is it?)

23 05 2010
nktrygg

we can only hope that the people who write and publish the textbooks are going to walk away and not provide any study material

too much to hope for

I guess Texas doesn’t want to be part of the information age and raise a generation of people who are not capable of participating in a global economy

nina
http://ntrygg.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/rotten-rose-of-texas/

23 05 2010
JJ

This might be the point at which I need to underline my public policy objections to standardizing curriculum and textbooks at the state and national levels, period. The textbook industry is no hero of democracy no matter what they publish!

Local district standardization is even problematic. To me this is like the two entrenched parties warring with each other for power of the purse and the police over all of us, when a truly principled position would be against the party system period. In school, that’s more like Susan Ohanian or John Holt or Peter Gray or Howard Gardner, making a research-based persuasive case for NOT standardizing school or using kids and future citizens as pawns, and calling it education.

Btw, I just saw Peter Gray has a new piece out about school bullying as a predictable outgrowth of treating kids as political prisoners with no say in their own education. His earlier posts about not standardizing math and reading are worth a re-read too.

23 05 2010
nktrygg

Well, as someone who went to elementary school in the 1970’s, when the shift moved to self esteem and self directed learning instead of standardization, that has downsides too.

I think once kids are taught the basics of writing and math, the only other thing they need to learn is critical thinking

with this as a foundation, learning should be a lifelong pleasure – not the boring chore it is in school

the topics they should choose on their own – and maybe we should abolish the textbook companies and use instead real books by real researchers and experts – combined with using documentaries

I continue learning despite my school experiences, not because of them

nina
http://ntrygg.wordpress.com

23 05 2010
JJ

Nina, you sound like Howard Gardner’s proposed K-12 “thinking curriculum” as laid out in his book The Disciplined Mind would really appeal to you, check it out when you get the chance. Here’s something Dr. Gardner wrote since then, that I respect both as an individual parent/citizen and an education professional:

Instead of beginning (and, all too often, ending) with test scores, we should begin by considering the kinds of minds that we want to cultivate in our education system. My own reflections suggest that in the future, we need to cultivate five kinds of minds if we want to be successful as a nation and, more important, as a world. Those minds include:

. A disciplined mind, that can think well and appropriately in the major disciplines;

. A synthesizing mind, that can sift through a large amount of
information, decide what is important, and put it together in ways that make sense for oneself and for others;

. A creative mind, that can raise new questions, come up with novel
solutions, think outside the box;

. A respectful mind, that honors the differences among individuals and groups, and tries to understand them and work productively with them; and

. An ethical mind, that thinks, beyond selfish interests, about the kind of worker one aspires to be, and the kind of citizen that one should be.

No doubt, some measures for each of these could be devised, though I doubt that a paper-and-pencil or computer-administered, short-answer test will prove adequate. But the important point is this: Any country -– and certainly one as prosperous and well-positioned as the United States -– should begin educational discussions with a serious consideration of the kinds of human beings we would like to have and to be in the future.

23 05 2010
nktrygg

is that good or bad for me?

I just keep thinking about this self directed module – I think it was 12 weeks to work through modules at your own pace.

I finished in 3 weeks because I knuckled down and just plowed through the material while everyone else was like oooo 12 weeks, no reason to hurry.

I remember sitting and looking out the window and listening to the teacher and principal wondering what to do with me now, since they had nothing planned if anyone finished that fast.

I ended up bringing my Dad’s scifi novels to school and reading them until enough other people finished that we could do some other group project.

I was in third grade and even that didn’t make them skip me a year – so much for supporting people at their own level.

I think this progression by age needs to be tossed out too.

23 05 2010
nktrygg

I think I fall into all the categories except the respectful one

I am less interesting in giving undue respect to bad ideas

it’s that pesky ethical side of me.

23 05 2010
JJ

Where did Dr. Gardner suggest “undue” respect again? 😉

Seriously, he said not to honor all opinions but the differences between opinions, and to try to understand and work productively with the reailty of those differences . . . I do think the world needs that sort of mind, and I think our current president is one such mind.

24 05 2010
nktrygg

I haven’t read his writing – but I am interested in looking them up.

I think it may be a difference in nuance of the word respect that we’re using

The undue comes from me

– there’s acknowledging the difference and understanding the why of it – which I see as different from respect

recognizing another person or groups entitlement to their opinion (and be the expert of their experience) is also different than respect

the word respect has been tainted for me because too often it is used to demand reverence – which is worlds apart from respect

to me, respect is earned, not bestowed – and my respect for a person or group is going to depend on the reasonableness of their opinion, their willingness to work across differences and their willingness to be accommodating/tolerant of others.

I don’t think that there’s a requirement to tolerate intolerance

and, not all opinions are equally valid or valuable – so respect in those cases gives them a sheen of credibility that is undeserved.

for example, evolution is not really a question – some of the mechanism, okay, some of the detail – absolutely – it’s not a done deal

ID/Creationism is not an on par or actually competing theory, so there’s no need to give it any more credibility than holocaust deniers

because both of those groups come down to the same thing – rejection of experts, evidence and, well, reality.

24 05 2010
NanceConfer

Well, thank goodness, the kids in TX will no longer have to deal with this sort of nuanced thinking.

24 05 2010
JJ

I don’t quarrel with anything Nina says about the meaning of “respect” to her (reverence or at least tolerance even of abhorrent or lunatic ideas) and that she feels respect should be earned — I only point out that Gardner isn’t talking about any of that.

He’s talking about respecting our differences because they plainly exist and they plainly are dangerous when ignored or handled badly. I think the parallel would be perhaps respecting fire or lightning or snakes, or the power of sexual attraction or mind-altering drugs to make us do things against our better judgment and values. So Gardner is urging us to recognize that education can create the best kinds of minds for “respecting” the destructive power of our differences when ignored or mishandled. And then for figuring out how to help save society from its ravages. Something like that.

24 05 2010
JJ

Also our differences can be respected for their creative power! Again like fire or lightning or snakes, our biggest human differences can be a powerful force for innovation, creativity,diverse opportunity, etc etc. Differences are literally a biological and evolutionary advantage too, right? One thing that educated minds can do if they respect rather than merely fear and fight our differences, for example, is explore the cognitive psychology of collective consciousness, a la the wisdom of crowds.

p.s. but Nance is sadly right. Kids in TX aren’t likely to be contributing much to any of this.

24 05 2010
nktrygg

Okay, that implication of respect I can agree with.

Funny you mention the drugs though – at the point when you aren’t under their influence, but choose to be, you’ve already demonstrated lack of judgment – so what’s left to be impaired?

I am referring to the harder and extremely addictive drugs that make you give up your life in pursuit of recreating that first sensation

not low level stuff like pot or shrooms

24 05 2010
JJ

Right, just like the wild abandon of illicit sex! 😉

24 05 2010
JJ

Differences are literally a biological and evolutionary advantage too, right? One thing that educated minds can do if they respect rather than merely fear and fight our differences, for example, is explore the cognitive psychology of collective consciousness, a la the wisdom of crowds.

The book to read for delicious exploration of this idea in riveting syfy novel form, is Greg Bear’s Darwin’s Radio (frisky cock of the snook to COD for turning JJ on to it.)

The next book to read is the sequel, Darwin’s Children.

24 05 2010
JJ

Two books that would no doubt be banned in TX school libraries, if adults who developed the right kinds of minds to understand them were simultaneously able to remain the wrong kinds of minds . . .

27 05 2010
nktrygg

in the 80’s, when I was in high school in British Columbia, I had read a newspaper article that a parent’s group in Toronto wanted to ban “Lord of the Flies” because they thought it was about men’s pants.

people don’t ban stuff because they know what it is, but because of what they fear it might be.

if it was just about violence and porn, the bible would be banned everywhere.

nina
http://ntrygg.wordpress.com

27 05 2010
JJ

That’s what I meant about the Greg Bear books. They wouldn’t be banned for the usual hysteria but they are subversive! If the people who would be subverted could get it, that is . . . like Groucho Marx not wanting to be a member of any club that would have him.

28 05 2010
nktrygg

subversive can really be in strange places – remember the second movie that John travolta and olivia newton-john were in together? Two of a Kind – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086494/

the basic plot of that movie was god is going to destroy the earth unless they each make a sacrifice for the other – and the devil makes sure they do, so the world is saved from god

seriously subversive

and her even worse Xanadu? the greek gods are real in modern times

Olivia Newton-John the Aussie that sang country and turned nashville inside out and in 1975 after she won a Country Music award for best female – nashville old guard form a new country music association – Association of Country Entertainers, which didn’t last too long.

She then freaked everyone out in the 80’s with her Physical album, with her gay themed video, not touring in favour of a music video tv special – making music videos a requirement well ahead of Duran Duran’s extoic videos and jackson’s thriller, which followed both of them.

so, for a gal who appears all white bread, she’s very subversive

28 05 2010
JJ

Speaking of Aussies subverting us and back to fearing teh gay aren’t of god — I heard somewhere on cable this week, that the “don’t ask don’t tell” repeal is finally being accepted even by the military itself because openly gay Aussies are serving in Iraq alongside Americans who can’t.

28 05 2010
nktrygg

yes, the American DADT is being phased out.

canada has allowed gays to openly serve since 1992.

but part of the US push was like all the cops who retire suddenly speak out against the “war on drugs”

so do retired generals speak out against DADT

the military made the same claims about unit cohesion blah blah when black men were allowed in, when women were allowed in

and they need to get over themselves

28 05 2010
JJ

Hopefully non-theists will be next in line to serve openly without wild claims of their dangers . . .

28 05 2010
Nance Confer

In this great Christian nation? LOL Not in my lifetime.

28 05 2010
JJ

Maybe with good cause — think how disruptive Nance for example, could be to military unit cohesion! 😉

29 05 2010
nktrygg

well, you mean now that they’ve taken the bible references off the rifle sights?

29 05 2010
Nance Confer

SIgh. . . another career choice down the drain.

Actually, I don’t think either of my children would last in the military either. Yes! I’m doing something right! 🙂

29 05 2010
Nance Confer

But how will the military guys and gals know there is a bible without having the clues printed right there on their rifles?

It’s such a big secret and all, given how stigmatized Christians are in the US.

Really, though, maybe we should get the gays to start working on this “rights for atheists” issue. Apparently, they know how to get things done!

30 05 2010
nktrygg

There’s a lot of overlap with gays and atheists

the think about atheist is that we are freethinkers and have far less in common than (also) us gays and lesbians.

atheism is a very thin basis for a shared group identity

but the gay community strategy of multi-pronged approaches and that the law is actually inclusive of gays, just the practise of it has not been – was also a major help

the rights assured by western countries state that the rights apply to everyone – there is no footnote “unless you’re gay”

so, equal access and treatment under the law means that gay marriage should have been a no brainer.

30 05 2010
JJ

Really, nina? — you see rational world view and orientation to higher order thinking as “less in common” than sexual orientation?? Hmmm, I’d say heterosexuals can’t be assumed to have much in common . . . 😉

30 05 2010
JJ

Thank the FSM, a homeschooler in TX we from NHEN know and love, just posted this on her FB page:

Are you fed up with the TX State Board of Education nonsense? Do you want a governor with more going for him than just good hair? It’s time to get involved. Join me Saturday, June 5th to make a difference.

30 05 2010
nktrygg

while many atheists may well have, as you say “rational world view and orientation to higher order thinking”

neither of those are needed to be an atheist.

atheism is simply not accepting claims for deities as they lack evidence

and while requiring evidence for claims is a common factor for a rational world view and higher thinking

some atheists beleive in ghosts, big foot, “complimentary medicine” and a whole whack of other baseless and anecdotal claims

atheists are also more traditionally not part of atheist communities – there are no atheist neighbourhoods (universities are often the first time one atheist meets another)

there are gay neighbourhoods, business areas, places to meet up, social groups, bars

gays and lesbians had to find each other to

atheists don’t need another atheist to be one or express their atheism

30 05 2010
JJ

About non-theistic humanist communities of belief, hmm, true to a large extent, which explains what Dale McGowan is doing with “Foundation Beyond Belief” (See Snook sidebar)

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