28 May 2014
I am going to break a rule of mine here and post a segment from a cable news show. I care passionately about science education, and this is just about the only issue that I would break my rule, so please, no comments about MSNBC or any other cable news outlet.
The segment (by Chris Hayes on MSNBC) was called Unscientific America, and is about the rejection of the new common core standards in Wyoming and some other states like Oklahoma. Why is the standard being rejected? Apparently it’s because education boards in some states refuse to accept such scientific facts as climate change, evolution and the age of the planet. Make no mistake about it, students in other first world countries ARE being taught science, and we are doing severe damage to our educational system by wasting time with this silliness.
Make no mistake, people are entitled to believe what they will, and I respect that, but you do not get to have your view influence what others are taught in public school science class. We teach the accumulated knowledge of the world, using scientific method and observation. Nothing more and nothing LESS. Let’s hope some of the students in these states will stand-up for their right to learn science like students in other first world countries.
Chris Hayes interviewed Dr. Michael Mann among others, and I thought Dr. Mann was spot on when he pointed out that we live in a global economy, and to handicap our students by ignoring science material is a dangerous path. He even quoted Neil deGrasse Tyson’s now famous comment that “The great thing about science, is it’s true, whether or not you believe it.” In spite of the dumbing down of science in Wyoming (and other states like Oklahoma), many of these students will rise above the ignorance of their elected representatives, and those that don’t can always learn to say, “would you like fries with that?”
Note: I’ve heard some examples of really bad implementation of common core in some school systems, and perhaps that deserves criticism. This post is not about that, it’s about rejecting a standard of what students should be taught in math and science, because of political belief. How we teach it is another subject, but we should, and must teach it. If we abdicate this responsibility, then public schools will become the default choice for a “poor and uneducated” class of Americans, while those with enough income to give their kids a proper science education, will choose private college prep schools.
It’s already happening, and this country will become a second world nation if it continues.