Is Our Children Learning?

Now, I’m sure you could write similar articles about history students who think George Washington wrote the constitution or math students who think a rhombus is a drink from Starbucks, but this is probably what we should come to expect from a political climate that insists on blurring the lines between science and religion :

While sleek crime-scene TV shows have turned students on to forensic science, an investigation of today’s high school laboratories shows that reality isn’t so flattering.

Most of the labs are of such poor quality that they don’t follow basic principles of effective science teaching, said a report released Monday by the private National Research Council, a prominent adviser to government leaders on matters of science and engineering.

The typical lab is an isolated add-on that lacks clear goals, does not engage students in discussion and fails to illustrate how science methods lead to knowledge, the report said.

Also contributing to the problem: teachers who aren’t prepared to run labs, state exams that don’t measure lab skills, wide disparities in the quality of equipment and a simple lack of consensus over what “laboratory” means in the school environment.

The study also found that the vast majority of science classes required students to bring their own Bibles from home. How are students supposed to test the salinity of Lot’s wife or the molecular transformation of water into wine without the proper materials?!

Joking aside, here’s a real example from a few days ago of sneaking a particular flavor of Christianity into public schools under the guise of Bible history :

The Texas Freedom Network, which includes clergy of several faiths, also said the course offered by the Greensboro, N.C.-based National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools is full of errors and dubious research.

The producers of the Bible class dismissed the Texas Freedom Network as a “far left” organization trying to suppress study of a historical text.
. . .
Chancey’s review found that the course characterizes the Bible as inspired by God, that discussions of science are based on the biblical account of creation, that Jesus is referred to as fulfilling Old Testament prophecy, and that archaeological findings are erroneously used to support claims of the Bible’s historical accuracy.

He said the course also suggests the Bible, instead of the Constitution, be considered the nation’s founding document.

To be fair, that last part does make a lot of sense. There are ten commandments and ten amendments in the bill of rights. That can’t have anything to do with the fact that we use a decimal number system and that we’re naturally drawn to numbers divisible by ten. No way. You’d have to be a complete moron to not see the similarity between the third commandment, “Remember thou keep the Sabbath Day.”, and the third amendment, “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law”. This country was clearly founded by people who interpret the Bible the exact same way as James Dobson, Roy Moore, and Pat Robertson.

UPDATE : Since I’ve gotten a number of emails on this post, lemme clear up a couple of things. (1) The whole bit about children having to bring Bibles from home to their science classes was a joke. (2) The commandment I identified as the third is only considered the third in Catholic and orthodox Christian traditions, but it’s considered the fourth by Protestants and Jews. Meanwhile, it sorta looks like it’ the fifth of eleven commandments on the Judge Roy Moore version. If you’re bothered by the misquote, just pretend I said “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” instead.