Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fuckn' with the Chilluns' Minds

The Washington Post reports on the Texas state school board approval of a new text book:
The Texas state school board gave final approval Friday to controversial social studies standards that minimize the separation of church and state and say that America is not a democracy but a "constitutional republic."

The changes, which passed in a series of 9 to 5 votes, could have reverberations far beyond the Lone Star State's schools and its 4.7 million students.

Many teachers, academics and politicians on both sides of the aisle have condemned
the standards.

According to the WaPo, the new standards include the following outrageous changes:

The new standards say that the McCarthyism of the 1950s was later vindicated -- something most historians deny -- draw an equivalency between Jefferson Davis's and Abraham Lincoln's inaugural addresses, say that international institutions such as the United Nations imperil American sovereignty, and include a long list of Confederate officials about whom students must learn.

They also removed references to capitalism and replaced them with the term "free-enterprise system."

Sons of bitches!!! Fuckn' with the chilluns' minds!

Oh, wait, as Ann Althouse points out, the WaPo does a bit of misrepresenting of its own on the actual changes.

Virtually everything cited in the article to make the curriculum seem controversial is misstated! Appalling!

This conservative asault on the chilluns' minds is being held at bay here in Washington, as we read, also in the Washington Post, and yet without so much clucking, fear and loathing, about an innovative new teaching strategery at The Field School, a local private school:

When Chris Walker signed up to take an advanced honors seminar at the Field School, teacher Emily Kleinman was concerned. The junior hadn't met the prerequisite for the course, and that meant Kleinman needed to have a serious conversation with his mother. "I called his mom because I was really worried because he hadn't seen any episodes of 'Lost,' " Kleinman said. "And I wanted to make sure it was okay with her that he watch all five seasons in three weeks."

Ingesting hours upon hours of inscrutable narrative twists and Smoke Monster attacks is a requirement for an honors seminar? It is at the Field School, a private middle and high school in Washington that for the past two years has offered the elective "Lost in Philosophy," a wide-ranging, often student-driven course that delves into numerous disciplines -- philosophy, literature, ethics, science -- and explores them all through the prism of ABC's series about plane crash survivors desperate to understand a befuddling island.


The pass-fail class, offered at a beginners' level during the 2008-09 school year and as an advanced option this year, is co-taught by Kleinman, a history instructor, and Kabe ErkenBrack, who teaches geometry.


They read the works of philosophers whose names are referenced on the show . . . They plumb the ethics involved in the famed Milgram experiment at Yale, a study of people's willingness to blindly follow orders, . . .They read Genesis for greater insight into the show's biblical themes. . . . They deliver oral presentations on time travel and create art.

And they say every moment has been an education.


And in case you're wondering how their parents -- you know, the ones who pay that $30,000-plus annual tuition -- feel about their scholarly pursuits, the kids say they're very supportive.