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Alabama opts to remain stupid

No doubt Common Core is imperfect, but at least its goals are aspirational — something Tea Party types won’t abide.

They claim it’s the heavy hand of big government they fear, but in truth their opposition  is all about  imposing a delusional, fundamentalist Christian worldview on impressionable kids.

Alabama appears poised to opt out of Common Core, as you’d expect from a state that consistently ranks near the bottom of the 50 states in public education.

Perhaps that explains why Common Core opponent Danny Hubbard, chairman of the Talladega County Republican Party, doesn’t know who wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

I believe it’s written by a fellow from Montgomery,” Hubbard told The Anniston Star. Or a woman from Monroeville, Ala.

“Mockingbird” joins John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath,” Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451″ and William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” on the list of books deemed  “highly controversial” by the Alabama GOP due to “vulgar language, explicit description of sex acts, incest, rape and host of other sexual perversions.”

They also object to Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” because it dishonors the legacy of a great American: Joe McCarthy. Seriously.

“Now that all the records are out, it’s clear that McCarthy didn’t go far enough,” Hubbard said.

State Sen. Scott Beason, a likely candidate for Congress, agrees. “So we’re comparing the McCarthy investigations of the 1950s, in which he turned out to be right, with the Salem witch hunts,” he said.

Beason said he merely wants balance, pointing to a Common Core textbook’s inclusion of the poem “Hiroshima,” a remembrance of the dropping of the atomic bomb told from the Japanese point of view.

“It doesn’t sound like we’re being very good folks, does it?” said Beason, addding the poem “undermines American values.”

Next they’ll be scrubbing any mention of slavery because it makes Confederate Americans look bad and reflects unfairly on large plantation owners, the “job creators” of their time.

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Onward Christian robots

The Republican Party of Texas seeks a ban on critical thinking. You can’t make this stuff up.

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

Of course, the revised Texas textbooks have done their part to make Lone Star students’ dumber.

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No Test Score Left Intact

A fairly remarkable piece of journalism by the AJC, which analyzed test results for 69,000 public schools and found “high concentrations of suspect math or reading scores in school systems from coast to coast.”

Suspicious test scores in roughly 200 school districts resemble those that entangled Atlanta in the biggest cheating scandal in American history, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows. …

“These findings are concerning,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an emailed statement after being briefed on the AJC’s analysis.

I won’t ask those who dismiss the relevance of daily newspapers to defend themselves.

If you’re not embarrassed by Rick Santorum you’re an embarrassment

Father Santorum plays to the crowd.

Rick Santorum took a swipe at the president’s higher education push on Saturday.

“President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college,” Santorum said. “What a snob.”

The GOP candidate was speaking to a crowd of Tea Party activists in Troy, Michigan.

This post may require counseling

Fresh Loaf’s Gwynedd Stuart expresses some sympathy for Luis Rivera, the obviously contrite Gwinnett County math teacher forced to resign for crafting some rather ignorant word problems.

Rivera’s 20-question homework assignment used slave beatings and picking cotton to link lessons about ex-slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass to math computation. One of the problems read: “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”

Reprehensible, no doubt, and the punishment, though severe, is not unreasonable. That doesn’t excuse the grandstanding by the perpetually indignant, especially when you consider there’s nothing to indicate the teacher, while clearly overmatched, is some Klansman. Last I checked the Triple K wasn’t too fond of guys named Luis Rivera.

Stuart:

A guy named Henry White — who, the AJC pointed out, doesn’t even have kids — called the incident an “egregious act of assault on the minds of a kid by an adult” at a Gwinnett County School Board meeting. And several parents said they wanted the school to make counseling available to their children. I don’t want to say they’re overreacting … but maybe they’re overreacting.

A commenter counters:

Would you feel the same if the homework questions were about the holocaust? I thought so.

It won’t be long before someone demands Stuart attend sensitivity training for her egregious assault on the minds of readers.

The counseling bill is in the mail, Gwynedd.

Politics aside, the depth of the American 20something is pretty shallow

Forget, for a minute, the blinding agent that is partisan thought. Whether you agree with the aims of The Occupants or not, we should all be troubled by the the rambling incoherence produced by the American educational system.

I’m beginning to question evolution.

Garth Brooks in, George Washington out of Texas textbooks

The new Texas textbooks have debuted and, thanks to the America deification crowd, history will now be viewed through a Palin-esque prism.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or John Adams? They are nowhere to be found in the new high school TEKS. Students apparently learned everything they need to know about them in eighth grade.

A Texas high school history teacher  points out that “both the positive and negative impacts of … country and western music” will be taught, along with the historical importance of Estée Lauder.

If you think she is one of the 68 most important historical figures, you agree with the board. Yes, the board included her in the state curriculum, but not George Washington.

The new textbooks also vindicate alcoholic conspiracy theorist Joe McCarthy, confirming the findings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. That’s patently false, and not up for debate, but in Texas it’s taught as fact — at least to the unwashed masses.

 I will not have to deal with that issue in some of my classes because my Advanced Placement U.S. History classes are not required to follow the state curriculum. I am guessing that the Texas Education Agency realizes that students could never pass national exams while learning the state-mandated curriculum.

Hard to distinguish between reality and parody.

REMINDER: Texas public transit will not operate today so employees can celebrate Earth Day with their families. #sboe #p2 #tcot

22 Apr 10

That’s Texas for ya.