If recent elections have taught us anything, it’s that young Americans have taken a decided turn to the left. Young voters delivered Obama the election: the under-44 set voted Obama and the over-45 set broke for Romney. The youngest voters, age 18-29, gave Obama a whopping 60 percent of their vote.
Now Republicans have a plan to try to recapture the youngest voters out there: Take over the curriculum in public schools, replace education with a bunch of conservative propaganda, and reap the benefits of having a new generation that can’t tell reality from right-wing fantasy.
How well this plan will work is debatable, but in the meantime, these shenanigans present the very real possibility that public school students will graduate without a proper education. To make it worse, many of these attempts to rewrite school curriculum are happening in Texas, which can set the textbook standards for the entire country by simply wielding its power as one of the biggest school textbook markets there is. With that in mind, here’s a list of 11 lies your kid may be in danger of learning in school.
Lie No. 1: Racism has barely been an issue in U.S. history and slavery wasn’t that big a deal.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute reviewed the new social studies standards laid down by the right-wing-dominated Texas State School Board and found them to be a deplorable example of conservative wishful thinking replacing fact. At the top of list? Downplaying the role that slavery had in starting the Civil War, and instead focusing on “sectionalism” and “states’ rights,” even though the sectionalism and states’ rights arguments directly stemmed from Southern states wanting to keep slavery. There’s also a chance your kid might be misled to think post-Civil War racism was no big deal, as the standards excise any mention of the KKK, the phrase “Jim Crow” or the Black Codes. Mention is made of the Southern Democratic opposition to civil rights, but mysteriously, the mass defection of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party to punish the rest of the Democrats for supporting civil rights goes unmentioned.
Lie No. 2: Joe McCarthy was right.
The red-baiting of the mid-20th century has gone down in history, correctly, as a witch hunt that stemmed from irrational paranoia that gripped the U.S. after WWII. But now, according to the Thomas B. Fordham report, your kid might learn that the red baiters had a point: “It is disingenuously suggested that the House Un-American Activities Committee—and, by extension, McCarthyism—have been vindicated by the Venona decrypts of Soviet espionage activities (which had, in reality, no link to McCarthy’s targets).” Critical lessons about being skeptical of those who attack fellow Americans while wrapping themselves in the flag will be lost for students whose textbooks adhere to these standards.
Lie No. 3: Climate change is a massive hoax scientists have perpetuated on the public.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been hard at work pushing for laws requiring that climate change denialism be taught in schools as a legitimate scientific theory. Unfortunately, as Neela Banerjee of the L.A. Times reports, they’ve already had some serious success: “Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change.” Other states are taking the “teach the controversy” strategy that helped get creationism into biology classrooms, asking teachers to treat climate change like it’s a matter of political debate instead of a scientifically established fact.
The reality is that climate change is a fact that has overwhelming scientific consensus. In 2004, Science reviewed the 928 relevant studies on climate change published between 1993 and 2003 and found that exactly zero of them denied that climate change was a reality, and most found it had man-made causes. To claim that climate change is a “controversy” requires one to believe that there’s a massive conspiracy involving nearly all the scientists in the world. So, your kids are not only not learning the realities of climate change, they are also learning, if indirectly, to give credence to conspiracy theory paranoia.
MS Lawmaker Opposes Education Funding Because It Would Go to ‘Blacks’ Who Get ‘Welfare Crazy Checks’
A Mississippi state lawmaker said he opposed putting more money into elementary schools because he came from a town where “all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I call ‘welfare crazy checks.’ They don’t work.”
In an interview with the Clarion-Ledger regarding education funding, state Rep. Gene Alday (R) stated his opposition to a push to increase funding to improve elementary school reading scores. Alday implied that increasing education funding for children in black families would be pointless.
Alday continued, saying that when he was mayor of Walls, MS, that the times he’d gone to the emergency room had taken a long time. “I laid in there for hours because they (blacks) were in there being treated for gunshots,” he told the newspaper.
At issue is something called Mississippi’s “third grade reading gate,” a measure passed in 2013, which won’t allow students to advance to fourth grade if they can’t read proficiently. A survey of Mississippi’s school superintendents estimated that about 28 percent of the state’s third graders would have to repeat a grade because they couldn’t pass the reading proficiency exams.
The idea for the policy came from Florida, where the state invested about $1 billion into schools to pay for reading coaches, teachers and increased attention to students who struggled with reading.
The Mississippi legislature recently advanced a bill that would provide exceptions to the reading policy for students with learning disabilities. The bill is opposed by Gov. Phil Bryant (R), who supports the third grade gate policy.
What else can you expect Jake, it’s Mississippi!
Federal data released in March 2014 show that black students are suspended at three times the rate of their white counterparts. Research from the collaborative reveals that these disparities routinely aren’t explained by more serious misbehavior by black and brown children: White children doing the same things often get less punitive consequences.
Excessive discipline comes at a steep cost. Studies show a single suspension in the ninth grade is correlated with a doubled chance of dropping out and that suspended or expelled students are three times as likely to end up in the juvenile justice system.
In both schooling and policing, then, young people of color—especially black girls and boys—are disciplined and punished excessively far too often for minor behaviors, with consequences lethal to their life prospects.
Its scary how the religious right is trying to undermine our constitution. Frank Schaeffer talks about how helped the GOP start their war on the public schools, before he saw the light.
As someone who participated in the rise of the religious right in the 1970s and 1980s, I can tell you that you can’t understand the modern Republican Party and its hatred of government unless you understand the evangelical home-school movement. Nor can the Democrats hope to defeat the GOP in 2016 unless they grasp what I’ll be explaining here: religious war carried on by other means.
The Christian home-school movement drove the Evangelical school movement to the ever-harsher world-rejecting far right. The movement saw itself as separating from evil “secular” America. Therein lies the heart of the Tea Party, GOP and religious right’s paranoid view of the rest of us. And since my late father and evangelist Francis Schaeffer and I were instrumental in starting the religious right — I have since left the movement and recently wrote a book titled “Why I Am an Atheist who Believes in God: How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace” - believe me when I tell you that the evangelical schools and home school movement were, by design, founded to undermine a secular and free vision of America and replace it by stealth with a form of theocracy.
Unfortunately racism is still apart of our society, and will most likely be for a long time to come.
There is a bitter debate over racism these days — specifically, whether or not it still exists in a way that actually matters. The argument against goes something like, “Sure, there are neo-Nazis and KKK and YouTube comment sections out there, but we’ve got a black president, for Christ’s sake! Racism has been banished to the craziest fringes of society.”
But science says that’s just not true — the prejudice persists, we’re just less aware of it, and there’s tons of proof that we’ll get into starting … now:
This is such an Awesome underdog story. I wish I could personally thank Joshua Davis for writing this. I would also really like to meet The high-flying Falcons.
Editor’s note: Ten years ago, WIRED contributing editor Joshua Davis wrote a story about four high school students in Phoenix, Arizona—three of them undocumented immigrants from Mexico—beating MIT in an underwater robot competition. That story, La Vida Robot, has a new chapter: Spare Parts, starring George Lopez and Carlos PenaVega, opens in January, and Davis is publishing a book by the same title updating the kids’ story. To mark that occasion, WIRED is republishing his original story.
The winter rain makes a mess of West Phoenix. It turns dirt yards into mud and forms reefs of garbage in the streets. Junk food wrappers, diapers, and Spanish-language porn are swept into the gutters. On West Roosevelt Avenue, security guards, two squad cars, and a handful of cops watch teenagers file into the local high school. A sign reads: Carl Hayden Community High School: The Pride’s Inside.
There certainly isn’t a lot of pride on the outside. The school buildings are mostly drab, late ’50s-era boxes. The front lawn is nothing but brown scrub and patches of dirt. The class photos beside the principal’s office tell the story of the past four decades. In 1965, the students were nearly all white, wearing blazers, ties, and long skirts. Now the school is 92 percent Hispanic. Drooping, baggy jeans and XXXL hoodies are the norm.
The school PA system crackles, and an upbeat female voice fills the bustling linoleum-lined hallways. “Anger management class will begin in five minutes,” says the voice from the administration building. “All referrals must report immediately.”
French national education aims to prevent religious radicalization among young school children. Yet, it stigmatizes them based on their appearance
I know they want to fight extremism within the French Muslim community, but I hardly think this is the way to do it. Begüm Tunakan reports on the controversy.
ISTANBUL — A new document entitled “Prevention of radicalization in schools” sent to the French school administration aims to prevent religious radicalization among French youths. However, it has provoked strong criticism from parents as the document signals growing Islamophobia in French society, and significant intolerance toward the Muslim community.
The document demands that teachers identify students who have a tendency toward radicalization. Teachers are also required to notify school administrators and the French government to keep those students on track. The criteria for suspicion include “an uncut mustache,” “Muslim clothing” and “weight loss due to intense fasting.” Apart from severe restrictions on appearances, it also includes a point on the “political rhetoric” that students develop in their homework on issues related to Palestine, Syria or Iraq, or religious issues.
The document was reportedly prepared by a team of education specialists and French police forces during the former Nicholas Sarkozy’s presidency in 2009 as a response to growing security and safety concerns towards Muslim communities in French society.
TALLAHASSEE, FL (RNN) - The person who shot several students on Florida State University’s campus early Thursday was identified as a graduate who was also a former prosecutor.
Myron May graduated the school before earning his law degree at Texas Tech, according to the Tallahassee police chief.
“He graduated from FSU in 2005, and he moved to Texas where he attended Texas Tech for law school. He graduated there in 2009,” Chief Michael DeLeo said during a news conference.
DeLeo said May used a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun and had additional ammunition in his pockets. Police have not confirmed a motive in the shooting.
May injured three students at the campus library Thursday morning and was killed by university police after failing to drop his weapon, police said.
May’s Facebook page shows he posted mostly Bible verses and links to conspiracy theories about the government reading people’s minds.
Records show May was licensed to practice law in Texas and New Mexico.
According to a Las Cruces, New Mexico, police report last month, May was a subject of a harassment complaint after a former girlfriend called to report he came to her home uninvited and claimed police were bugging his house and car. Danielle Nixon told police May recently developed “a severe mental disorder.”
“Myron began to ramble and handed her a piece to a car and asked her to keep it because this was a camera that police had put in his vehicle,” the report said.
“Myron De’Shawn May was a student at Texas Tech University School of Law from July 2006 through his graduation in May 2009. Texas Tech University extends its condolences to all those impacted by this tragedy.”
May earned his law degree from Texas Tech in 2009. May was also a FSU alum. He graduated from FSU in 2005.
The yokel punditocracy in Lubbock has labeled May a “leftist” largely because he reportedly walked out of his law school commencement to protest Karl Rove being the speaker.
It’s obvious that he had issues that completely transcend any kind of real world politics. If anything his specific delusions are more commonly associated with the Alex Jones wing of the extreme right.
When gender perceptions and negative stereotypes towards women in mathematics and science are non-existent, the gender gap in performance seems to disappear. That’s the lesson to be learned from not just Finland, but also Puerto Rico where females are performing as well as males and better than males in some math and science subjects.
This is a very interesting interview on how the gender gap in STEM fields came to be in the USA and how it can be closed down.
HannibaltheVictor13 an archeology, anthropology, and history student created a great video on why people fail to understand both why history is important, but also why being a historian is much harder than many people think. Its primarily just audio but Its a great video lecture to watch, (or just listen to) and also it gives you some important things to think about.