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south dakota legislators: the stupidest people on earth?

Ok, I apologize for the argumentum ad hominem–what may seem like a logical misstep or at least an ethical lapse in the second part of the post title above, but come on! This came across the wire today. I’ve pasted it below, but you can find it’s original context at Think Progress. I couldn’t believe the insanity of this. This truly marks a giant step backward–for South Dakota anyway. Devolution at its finest.

South Dakota legislators tell schools to teach ‘astrological’ explanation for global warming.

Last week, the South Dakota House of Representatives passed a resolution to “urge” public schools to teach astrology. By a 36-30 vote, the legislators passed House Concurrent Resolution 1009, “Calling for balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools of South Dakota.” After repeating long-debunked denier myths and calling carbon dioxide “the gas of life,” the resolution concludes that public schools should teach that “global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact”:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Eighty-fifth Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the Senate concurring therein, that the South Dakota Legislature urges that instruction in the public schools relating to global warming include the following:

(1) That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact;
(2) That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect [sic] world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative; and
(3) That the debate on global warming has subsumed political and philosophical viewpoints which have complicated and prejudiced the scientific investigation of global warming phenomena; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature urges that all instruction on the theory of global warming be appropriate to the age and academic development of the student and to the prevailing classroom circumstances.

Yesterday, the South Dakota Senate passed by a vote of 18-17 an amended version of the resolution which eliminates most of the anti-science conspiracy theories, but still asserts that the “global warming debate” has “prejudiced the scientific investigation of global climatic change phenomena.” The amended version now “returns to the House for approval.”

And they say we homeschoolers are nuts. I think public school in South Dakota just got a little nuttier. Now they can devote science class to two subjects: the “theory” of global warming and the “theory” of evolution. I’d like to see a little evolution in the SD legislature. Maybe God can save us?

the fourth purpose

John Taylor Gatto is scheduled to speak at this year’s InHome Conference. Gatto is a writer and speaker, an outspoken critic of compulsory education, a homeschooling advocate, and an award winning former New York public school teacher. He’s in the process of raising money to complete a documentary film entitled The Fourth Purpose. Just recently, I stumbled upon this demo reel for the project. Check it out by clicking the image below. It will take you to another site where you can view the video. It looks quite good.

ken robinson on how school kills creativity

Author, educator, and speaker Sir Ken Robinson writes and speaks about the dire need for creativity to be a crucial element of public education lest we face a future far bleaker than our present. The problem, though, as he articulates so well, is that public education is in the business of educating us out of our creativity. The issue is not learning to be creative as we grow, but rather staying that way despite the influence and impact of schooling. We don’t grow into creativity in other words; we grow out of it under the influence of public education. Here he is speaking at the Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) conference.

Robinson points out that public education across the world privileges math, science, and languages and invariably places the humanities and the arts at the bottom of the hierarchy (with performing arts at the very bottom) because it does not serve the pragmatic need of industrialized economies. The whole purpose of public schooling is to progressively educate kids from the neck up and slightly to one side, he says. Steering children benignly away from art, music or other things they’ll “never make a living doing” has profound consequences today according to Robinson. In a world in desperate need of creative solutions to some of the most pressing problems ever faced, creativity must be encouraged, cultivated, and taught.

Does school educate us out of our creative capacities?

Robinson uses a particularly apt analogy when he speaks of our education systems mining our minds the way we have strip-mined the earth–for a particular commodity. We must reconceptualize our view of education to one that considers the whole child, her full humanity, and embraces all that she is capable of–even if it does mean she’ll drive a Honda Civic instead of Mercedes S-Class. Our future depends on it.

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