the state of texas vs. science and education
You would think that in a world where having a college degree is usually a prerequisite for a stable career and countless articles in business magazines and military blogs warn about the United States losing science and engineering grads, as well as its grip on global R&D, one of the nation’s most populous states would do what it could to help matters. Instead, the state of Texas decided to become an anchor around its neck. Not only did it gut educational standards for millions of public school students, replacing them with transcripts of a Rush Limbaugh rant, staff its board of education primarily with lunatics with a primal hatred of any kind of expertise, but a lawmaker from its state sabotaged the re-authorization of an act to fund science and education with a move so low, calling his behavior disgusting would be an understatement. Forget about sending standards in scientific and historical curriculums back by fifty years. Texas wants to shove us back into the 19th century.
Think I’m exaggerating? Well, note that according to the new Texas SBoE standards, the slave trade leading to the Civil War and centuries of racial tensions on the U.S. will be called “the Atlantic triangular trade” and the civil rights movement of the 1960s will be described as “setting unrealistic expectations of equal outcomes for minorities” because as we all know, people with a different skin color can’t possibly expect to be treated like a human being. That’s on top of almost eliminating Thomas Jefferson from material on the founding fathers for his defense of secularism, the emphasis on owning guns in case the government gets uppity, and calling the capitalistic system “free-enterprise” because capitalism is a term that liberal academic would use. It may not come as a shock to you that the biggest advocates behind these changes are Cynthia Dunbar, a lunatic with a searing, visceral hatred of public schools for which she nevertheless works, and Don McLeroy, a small minded, science-phobic ideologue who was kicked off the chairman’s post for being too extreme much to the chagrin of his fellow members who described his demotion as the “actions of the pagan left.”
Really, the creationist faction of the Texas SBoE should be on the street corner with sandwich boards barking at those who pass by about the End of Days rather than in charge of anything even remotely related to kids or education, or on TV, competing with Fox News’ stable of wingnuts. They didn’t become board members to do anything positive for educational advancement or to improve Texan schools. They’re there because they think they’re fighting a war against evil scientists and liberals, and their standards are based solely on making sure that kids in Texas believe exactly as they do rather than be given both sides of every story and allowed to make up their minds, ironically while whining about the need for debate and discussion. They don’t think they’re just doing what’s best, they know they have all the right answers to all of life’s problems and if they just remove all those experts with their degrees and knowledge and experience, then everything will be magically all right. All kids in Texas will be Christian fundamentalists like them, all of them will worship the free market as a magical deity that provides and sustains all, all of them will put those minorities back in their place, and the nation will return to its glorious past, an idyllic time that exists solely in the imagination of the radical right.
And just to make sure this happens on a national level as well, Congressman Ralph Hall took an act from the Bush administration intended to boost the nation’s competitiveness in R&D and added an amendment which would prevent federal employees caught watching porn on the job from being punished so if the act would’ve been re-approved, all those who voted for it would be letting public employees found with their pants down get a free pass. And amazingly, the cowards in Congress whimpered in fear and let the bill die instead of verbally dismembering Hall for being a loathsome, partisan idjit who placed his country’s needs second to that of his party’s PR requirements. So while the Texas SBoE turns the state’s public school curricula into a joke, Hall is singlehandedly trying to defund American science and engineering. It’s as if these clowns want to set the U.S. back in every imaginable way and undermine the peoples’ belief in the political system while they’re at it. And even more terrifying is the fact that these loons see every criticism of their actions as a badge of honor and as yet another sign of their infallibility, something that can’t possibly indicate good mental health…