Flypaper

Liam Julian

I understand where Mike is coming from here. But the version of American Government currently in classrooms states that "science doesn't know whether we are experiencing a dangerous level of global warming or how bad the greenhouse effect is, if it exists at all." It also contains a sentence stating that global warming is "enmeshed in scientific uncertainty."

Mike notes that because the disputed statements occur in a U.S. government textbook, they "are more forgivable than if they appeared in a geology text... There is a policy debate about global warming." But the scientific basis of climate change, not the policy, is what is questioned by Dilulio and Wilson. Whether that happens within a science textbook, a math textbook, or a U.S. government textbook is irrelevant, just as it is irrelevant where the scientific basis of evolution is questioned. If, for example, a U.S. government textbook noted that evolution "is controversial, mostly because it is enmeshed in scientific uncertainty," Fordham would no doubt take exception.

Mike writes that "science class should be for science." Then shouldn't U.S. government class be for U.S. government?

Liam Julian

National Review's Phi Beta Cons blog is engaged in discussion of the same topic that we are. See here and here.

Liam Julian

Via The Gradebook: Florida could be next to join the American Diploma Project, which Fordham helped develop several years ago.

Liam Julian

This ongoing story is understandably unsettling to lots of people. The more one learns about this school, the more one is convinced it's unlawful. Ritual washing and Friday prayers? I know Kuhner doesn't like it....

Update: Mark Hemingway weighs in at The Corner.

Liam Julian

About this and this (the possibility that New York's principals would be disallowed from considering student test scores when evaluating whether teachers should receive tenure), the New York Times thinks:

It is an absurd ban that does a disservice to the state's millions of public school students. The State Legislature should remove this language from the budget.

Who's to blame?

Nobody in Albany would say who is behind this language. The driving force, however, is the powerful teachers' union that gives lots of money and time to state campaigns.

Surprisingly that wasn't one of Angelina Jolie's suggestions when she spoke yesterday at a Council on Foreign Relations panel about the impact of??the war??on Iraq's children. Find out what she did recommend here.

Liam Julian

Seems that not a few people want to punch Britain's Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, in the face.

One would think this topic wouldn't deserve treatment from the Associated Press's national desk???or be picked up in 200 media outlets worldwide (so far). We've known forever that textbooks tend to be sloppy, riddled with errors, and generally banal. And when textbooks are "found" to have a liberal-leaning bias, the "news" is only reported by outlets like the Washington Times. But alas, the American government??textbook in question in today's articles is written by two well-known conservatives (oh, the horror!), James Wilson and John Dilulio. (The fact that these two even got a contract to write a textbook probably should have been news.)

What were their sins? Among other things, they wrote that "science doesn't know how bad the greenhouse effect is" and global warming is "enmeshed in scientific uncertainty." I might quibble with those statements a bit (I am??Leafy Mike after all), but they aren't as out of line as the anti-American screeds that pass for curricular materials in many a U.S. classroom. But alas, conservatism is under fire from all corners right now, so we shouldn't be surprised when the MSM wants to pile it on....

Liam Julian

Trot on over to Eduwonk, where guest blogger J.B. Schramm, Founder and CEO of College Summit, is turning in some substantive posts. He ends each day by pasting excerpts of student admission essays:??

While the importance of research, policy and debate within the education community cannot be overstated, it is also valuable to be reminded of "what it's all about." During our week here, we'd like to conclude each day with an excerpt from a student's college admission essay that he or she developed at one of College Summit's annual summer workshops.

One is immediately struck,??upon reading??these essays (or at least the two so far posted), that the writing is all about suffering???about feeling lost, about feeling burdened, about feeling like an outcast, etc. Quite frankly, the pieces??resemble the weepy and gaggingly emotive memoirs (some true, others not) that clog bookstore shelves.

It can be supposed that College Summit's essay workshops encourage such outpourings???"Write about what stirs you. Admissions committees want to know how you feel."???and pushes students to include as many mentions as possible of themselves as underprivileged and of a different race or culture. But if the goal is to integrate??these young adults into a university setting, does this approach make sense? Might it not simply reinforce the separations College Summit endeavors to degrade?

Update: I should note that universities of course??ask for this type of essay and certainly look favorably upon those??submissions that??fit the mold, so College Summit??doesn't deserve all the...

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