Posts filed under 'Education'

Bipartisanship!

Well, isn’t that sweet – Paul Ryan and Rahm Emanuel have found something that they agree on (or perhaps I should say, that they admit that they agree on): That labor unions are fucking retarded.

1 comment September 11th, 2012 at 07:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Education,Labor,Politics,Republicans,Ryan,Wankers

Great Moments In Education

The religious right is now presenting imaginary dinosaurs as established scientific fact in its textbooks.  Because apparently if dinosaurs exist today, that somehow disproves evolution, in what I can only assume is a variation of the “if humans evolved from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?” argument.

June 25th, 2012 at 07:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Religion,Republicans,Wankers

Education For All!

Universal access to education is a good thing, and something every country should strive for.  Universal 5- and 6-figure student debt, not so much.

May 14th, 2012 at 11:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Education

The New Elitism

Apparently wanting everyone to have the benefits of a college education is the height of snobbery now.  I’m sure Rick Santorum’s anti-sex, anti-education message would go over really well in a general election.

February 27th, 2012 at 07:30am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Elections,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Yesterday’s Tomorrow Today… Or Not

This is a very entertaining list of predictions about the 21st Century from 100 years ago.  Some of the things it got more or less right:

  • United States Population will be 350-500 million.  Currently it’s around 307.
  • HVAC.  Described as hot and cold air “spigots”, as opposed to, say, thermostats.
  • TV dinners.  Sort of.  Instead of prepackaged meals, they envision a sort of superdelivery system with pneumatic tubes carrying hot meals to the home and dirty dishes back to the restaurant afterwards.
  • Instantaneous global transmission of sound, images, and moving pictures.  Although the idea of people going to concert halls to listen to instruments being remotely played by musicians elsewhere was probably never going to catch on, even if it were technically feasible, which it probably is.
  • Air-conditioned bullet trains that don’t run on coal.
  • Cars will replace all horse-drawn conveyances.  Not so sure about them being cheaper than horses or having one-pound motors, though.
  • Bombers, long-range artillery, and tanks.  Not so much fighter planes, and they don’t envision airplanes replacing cars, bullet trains, or ocean liners (which will by superfast hydrofoils that can cross the Atlantic in two days).

Needless to say, they missed a lot of things, as well as not having the how down exactly for the things they got more or less correct, but they couldn’t have even conceptualized technologies like nuclear power/weapons, genetic engineering, GPS, laser technologies (i.e., DVDs, surgical applications, etc), cellphones, computers, MP3 players, the internet, or even videogames.  They should have seen space travel coming, though.

The most heartbreakingly wrong prediction has to be their progressive, utopian view of education:

A university education will be free to every man and woman….  Poor students will be given free board, free clothing, and free books if ambitious and actually unable to meet their school and college expenses.  Medical inspectors visiting the public schools will furnish poor children free eyeglasses, free dentistry and free medical attention of every kind.  The very poor will, when necessary, get free rides to and from school and free lunches between sessions.  In vacation time poor children will be taken on trips to various parts of the world….

Sigh.  Apparently there are some things that we can’t conceptualize anymore.

2 comments January 17th, 2012 at 07:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Education,Technology

Rick Scott Goes Too Far

The latest in Rick Scott’s never-ending parade of bad ideas:

Gov. Rick Scott has sent a list of 17 detailed, audit-like questions to Florida’s 11 university presidents, challenging them to show what they’re doing to prepare graduates for jobs.

(…)

Scott sent the letter, which bears his signature, on Thursday, at the end of a week during which he was pummeled by the academic community for suggesting universities needed fewer programs in anthropology and more in science and math.

(…)

He’s circulated copies of a Texas think-tank report called “Seven Breakthrough Solutions,” which proposes revamping how professors are paid and awarded tenure, emphasizing large classes and evaluations from students, whom it calls “customers.”

And Scott has made the rounds of newspaper editorial board meetings, talking about the importance of programs in what’s known as STEM: science, technology, engineering and math.

The governor began his Thursday letter with a brief discussion of the 900,000 people who are out of work in Florida, saying that many university graduates can’t find jobs and implying that the problem is with their education.

“Many employers are concerned that university graduates are not equipped with the appropriate writing skills, critical thinking skills, and technical expertise needed to succeed,” Scott’s letter says.

(…)

Scott’s letter focuses heavily on job training, asking for instance, “Do you have measureable goals to meet employers’ current needs?”

This is just incredibly foolish and short-sighted.  If Scott turns the state’s universities into vocational schools, why, it could do incalculable damage to the for-profit education industry.

October 19th, 2011 at 11:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

Nailed By The Onion

This is just too perfect:

Sources in the Congressional Budget Office reported that as a result of a clerical error, $80 billion earmarked for national defense was accidentally sent to the Department of Education, furnishing schools with the necessary funds to buy new textbooks, offer more academic resources, hire better teachers, promote student achievement, and foster educational excellence—an oversight that apologetic officials called a “huge mistake.”

(…)

“Once these kids learn to read and think critically, you can never undo that,” Boehner said. “In 20 years, we could be looking at a nightmare scenario in which vast segments of our populace are fully prepared to compete in the new global marketplace.”

“It could take a whole generation to cancel out the effects of this,” Boehner added.

(…)

“And politicians will be adversely affected as well,” Boehner said. “What will our nation do if the next generation knows that all we care about is our own selfish interests and pandering to the wealthy elite? Is that the future you want? Not me.”

Of course, it’s easy to immediately recognize this as parody, since this sort of error would never ever happen.

May 10th, 2011 at 08:06am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Education,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Great Moments In Education

Way to break out of those stereotypes, Alabama!  And conservatives worry about gay teachers indoctrinating their kids…

A Jefferson County teacher picked the wrong example when he used as­sassinating President Bar­ack Obama as a way to teach angles to his geome­try students.

(…)

The teacher was appar­ently teaching his geometry students about parallel lines and angles, officials said. He used the example of where to stand and aim if shooting Obama.

“He was talking about angles and said, ‘If you’re in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president,’ ” said Joseph Brown, a senior in the geometry class.

“Damn, I just can’t seem to get through to these kids!  I need to figure out a way to make geometry relatable and fun.  Wait, I know – what high school kid doesn’t fantasize about killing the President?  I’m a genius!  I am totally going to win Teacher Of The Year for this!”

Guess how shocked I’ll be if this guy turns out to be a teabagger and avid Glenn Beck fan.

May 19th, 2010 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Obama,Wankers

Texas School Board: Mission Accomplished!

Looks like all that hard work on shaping textbook content is really paying off:

Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

(…)

• 38 percent said human beings developed over millions of years with God guiding the process and another 12 percent said that development happened without God having any part of the process. Another 38 percent agreed with the statement “God created human beings pretty much in their present form about 10,000 years ago.”

• Asked about the origin and development of life on earth without injecting humans into the discussion, and 53 percent said it evolved over time, “with a guiding hand from God.” They were joined by 15 percent who agreed on the evolution part, but “with no guidance from God.” About a fifth — 22 percent — said life has existed in its present form since the beginning of time.

• Most of the Texans in the survey — 51 percent — disagree with the statement, “human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.” Thirty-five percent agreed with that statement, and 15 percent said they don’t know.

• Did humans live at the same time as the dinosaurs? Three in ten Texas voters agree with that statement; 41 percent disagree, and 30 percent don’t know.

That’ll do, Texas School Board.  That’ll do.

(h/t WT)

3 comments February 17th, 2010 at 09:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Politics,Polls,Religion,Republicans,Wankers

Maybe Now Someone Will Do Something

It never used to be a big deal that our children are overweight and undereducated, but maybe that will change now that we’re confronted with the horrifying cost of our neglect:

The biggest long-term threat to U.S. national security might not be terrorists or weapons of mass destruction. According to a group of military leaders, it’s homegrown obesity, ignorance and criminality, which together make seven of 10 target-age recruits ineligible to serve in the American armed forces.

“It’s not just disturbing. It’s a call to action,” James A. Kelly, former deputy assistant secretary of defense, said Thursday during a telephone news conference from Washington.

Kelly is one of nearly 100 former and current military leaders who came together last year to form an organization called Mission: Readiness to draw attention to the status of potential recruits. In a study it calls “Ready, Willing and Unable to Serve,” the group says Pentagon analysts have concluded that 75 percent of people ages 17 to 24 could not qualify for military service because they are obese or have some other health problem, lack a high school diploma or have a serious criminal history.

Won’t someone please think of the military?

3 comments November 7th, 2009 at 02:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Politics,War

Republicans & Media Are Officially Through The Looking Glass Here, People

Apparently “study hard and stay in school” is controversial now.

The right really does want America to fail. And the media views this as a viewpoint equally as valid as “What the hell is wrong with you people?  Are you insane???”, if not more so.

September 8th, 2009 at 08:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Media,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Tammy Bruce’s Definition Of Trash

Apparently it’s black people who study hard and want to get A’s:

Discussing the first lady’s visit to a Washington D.C. classroom last week, Bruce incredulously recalled Obama’s story about wanting to get A’s in school and called out her use of a “weird, fake accent.”

“That’s what he’s married to,” Bruce said. “…You know what we’ve got? We’ve got trash in the White House. Trash is a thing that is colorblind, it can cross all eco-socionomic…categories. You can work on Wall Street, or you can work at the Wal-Mart. Trash, are people who use other people to get things, who patronize others, who consider you bitter and clingy…”

What kind of horrible inhuman monster wants to apply herself and achieve success through sheer hard work and determination?  Why, it goes against everything conservatives stand for!

Yes, she really did say it.   No, the full context (mostly indignant squawking in the “What?  What was THAT?” vein) doesn’t help.  Ms. Bruce simply does not approve of Those People when they don’t know their place.

Appropriately enough, Bruce was guest-hosting for the woman who called Meghan McCain fat and then claimed that it was intended as a commentary about society’s unrealistic standards of feminine beauty.

(h/t WT)

UPDATE: News Reference informs me that this is not the first time this phony “progressive Democrat” has spewed racist filth. Imagine my surprise.

I am also informed that the Obamas did not get where they are through hard work and determination, but solely through affirmative action. Riiiight. They’re both clearly lazy, incurious idiots who’ve had everything handed to them on a silver platter. Or am I thinking of someone else?

5 comments March 24th, 2009 at 06:48am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Media,Obama,Racism,Republicans,Wankers

Creationists At The Smithsonian

This is surreal on so many levels…

Every winter, David DeWitt takes his biology class to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, but for a purpose far different from that of other professors.

DeWitt brings his Advanced Creation Studies class (CRST 390, Origins) up from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., hoping to strengthen his students’ belief in a biblical view of natural history, even in the lion’s den of evolution.

Advanced Creation Studies?  I have a hard time imagining what such a class would be like.

“Hey, what’d you have for #12 on the midterm?”

“God.”

“Hey, me too!  What about #27?”

“God.”

“Wow, it’s like we’re psychic twins or something!”

His yearly visit to the Smithsonian is part of a wider movement by creationists to confront Darwinism in some of its most redoubtable secular strongholds. As scientists celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, his doubters are taking themselves on Genesis-based tours of natural history museums, aquariums, geologic sites and even dinosaur parks.

(…)

A 2006 poll by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that 42 percent of Americans believe humans have always existed in their present form. At universities such as Liberty, founded by the late Jerry Falwell, those views inform the entire science curriculum.

We’re doomed.

1 comment March 11th, 2009 at 07:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Religion,Science,Weirdness

School Is Supposed To Prepare You For The World, After All…

Reader and good friend Spear and Magic tipped me off to what may very well be the Greatest Onion Story Of All Time:

ARKHAM, MA—Arguing that students should return to the fundamentals taught in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon in order to develop the skills they need to be driven to the very edge of sanity, Arkham school board member Charles West continued to advance his pro-madness agenda at the district’s monthly meeting Tuesday.

“Fools!” said West, his clenched fist striking the lectern before him. “We must prepare today’s youth for a world whose terrors are etched upon ancient clay tablets recounting the fever-dreams of the other gods—not fill their heads with such trivia as math and English. Our graduates need to know about those who lie beneath the earth, waiting until the stars align so they can return to their rightful place as our masters and wage war against the Elder Things and the shoggoths!”

(…)

“Our schools are orderly, sanitary places where students dwell in blissful ignorance of the chaos that awaits,” West said. “Should our facilities be repaired? No, they must be razed to the ground and rebuilt in the image of the Cyclopean dwellings of the Elder Gods, the very geometry of which will drive them to be possessed by visions of the realms beyond.”

West has served on the school board since 1997, when he defeated 89-year-old incumbent Doris Pesce by promising to enforce dress codes and refer repeat disciplinary cases to the three-lobed burning eye. He has run unopposed ever since.

“Charles sure likes to bang on that madness drum,” fellow school board member Danielle Kolker said. “I’m not totally sold on his plan to let gibbering, half-formed creatures dripping with ichor feed off the flesh and fear of our students. But he is always on time to help set up for our spaghetti suppers, and his bake sale goods are among the most popular.”

(…)

“Last month, he wanted us to change the high school’s motto from ‘Many Kinds of Excellence’ to ‘Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn,’” PTA member Cathy Perry said. “I asked if it was Latin, and he said that it was the eldritch tongue of Shub- Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young. I don’t know from eldritch tongues, but I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.”

(…)

“In the information age, it is easier than ever to gather knowledge about things that should not be but nonetheless are, and such wisdom could prepare our students to be better citizens amid the ruins of sunken cities infested with swarms of ravenous, bloated rats,” West said. “Also, I believe that birth control should not be distributed by the guidance counselor.”

I have a feeling that West’s message is probably getting a little bit more traction these days.

March 5th, 2009 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Education

The Lord Will Provide

Amazing:

Under state law, God is Kentucky’s first line of defense against terrorism.

The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as “stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth.”

Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God’s benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago.

As amended, Homeland Security’s religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.

The time and energy spent crediting God are appropriate, said Riner, D-Louisville, in an interview this week.

“This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky,” Riner said. “Government itself, apart from God, cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government.”

Nonetheless, it is government that operates the Office of Homeland Security in Frankfort, with a budget this year of about $28 million, mostly federal funds….

I don’t see why they need $28 million if they’ve got God watching out for them, but what do I know.  Maybe it’s a backup plan in case God falls asleep on the job.

And apparently God’s not just in charge of homeland security:

If you’re a school principal in Connecticut, it’s possible a group of moms is praying for you every week.

Not because you, specifically, need their prayers (although who among us couldn’t benefit from an extra prayer now and then) but because that’s what these moms do — they get together once a week and pray for their kids’ schools, including the principals, staff and all the students.

They pray for safe classrooms. They pray that bullies will be caught. They pray for an end to the illnesses that sweep through schools, and the homework tantrums their kids throw.

They even pray for Mastery Test scores.

(…)

Although there are Moms In Touch groups scattered around Connecticut, Lawrence said there aren’t any in Hartford, which struggles with some of the deepest problems of any school system in the state.

That’s a situation she’d like to correct.

“I totally believe with all my heart that if every school in Connecticut was prayed for every week it would be totally different,” Lawrence said.

See, we don’t even need money for schools!  Awesome!

Man, it’s a good thing God’s omnipotent, ‘cuz we sure are putting a lot of important stuff on His plate.

(h/t dakine)

8 comments November 29th, 2008 at 07:40pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Education,Religion,Terrorism

Yo, Joe!

My advisor and one of my favorite profs at Stanford, Joe Corn, got interviewed by Matt Novak, the Paleo-Future blogger, about his book, Yesterday’s Tomorrows (which I have just ordered) and the concept of “future shock”:

Matt Novak: Have you ever read Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock?

Joseph Corn: I did. I so vividly remember reading it in a campground in the Redwoods in Northern California.

MN: What did you think of it then and what do you think of his ideas now?

JC: [long pause] They deserve re-examination now, the concept of future shock. At the time of his writing . . . I didn’t really find it that persuasive. People talk as if future shock is a major syndrome that deserves Medicare treatment today, and I sort of feel that way. The pace at which software changes and technology generally, although it is still filling in . . . Filling in the cracks is not the right metaphor . . . I’ve had a personal computer now for 25 years and it is so different. The web, plus wireless, plus speed, plus miniaturization in the laptop form makes it something different. As we carry these things around with us when we couldn’t with an IBM PC.

MN: Do you think that all this technological change that you’ve seen recently, is that harming us? Because that seems to be the main thesis of his . . .

JC: I don’t buy that. As a historian I’m very skeptical. I think we’re trained professionally to be skeptical of . . . you might put it, in terms of the Golden Age fallacy. There was a moment when things were better and everything’s been done since. I just can’t buy that. One could worry and yet, I don’t. I just see it as different. As fascinatingly different. I just don’t see civilization going to hell in a handbasket. [long pause] At least I don’t want to.

Joe Corn was (and presumably still is) indefatigably interested and enthusiastic about everything, particularly the co-evolution of technology and culture.  I read one of his earlier books, The Winged Gospel, for one of his courses, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was a fascinating study of the early days of aviation, when there were all kinds of extravagant claims about how flight would fundamentally change human nature.  And I don’t mean the impact of being able to travel virtually anywhere, but stuff about how being physically closer to Heaven and the angels would make us more angel-like, or that we would end up living in the air and not require any other sustenance.

Fun stuff.  A year or two after I graduated, I caught up with him on a visit to campus, and he was all excited about this new course he was teaching, on the history of technical manuals.  I know, that sounds like it would be the most boring class ever, but he started talking about how they made the propagation and popularization of technology possible, and it started sounding pretty good to me.  Had I still been a student, I’m sure I would have signed up for it and had a blast.

Thanks, Joe.  Teachers like you were what made learning worthwhile.

July 27th, 2008 at 05:58pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Books,Coolness,Education,Technology

Bug Or Feature?

How’s that No Child Left Behind working out for us?

US fourth-graders have lost ground in reading ability compared with children around the world, according to results of a global reading test.

(…)

Still, the US average score on the Progress in International Reading Literacy test remained above the international average. Ten countries or jurisdictions, including Hong Kong and three Canadian provinces, were ahead of the United States this time. In 2001, only three countries were ahead of the United States.

(…)

On the latest international exam, US students posted a lower average score than students in Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg, Hungary, Italy, and Sweden, along with the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.

Last time, Russia, Hong Kong, and Singapore were behind the United States.

Granted, it’s more a matter of the U.S. treading water while other countries pass us, and it’s only fourth grade. But I can’t help but note that improved reading comprehension isn’t really something that benefits Republicans in the long run…

(h/t dakine)

1 comment November 29th, 2007 at 08:08pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Education,Republicans


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