Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm back

Yes, I know I've been gone a while. Something things just work that way. But it's time to get back to blogging because things have been happening and I would like your thoughts and feedback to some of it.

Like what's now going on in Florida. Florida, where they almost did the completely right thing, has introduced a bill in the State Legislature supposedly to protect the academic freedom of anyone who teaches alternatives to evolution. How bogus is that!

OK, you might disagree, but look at it this way. Every education system already has procedures in place to deal with academic freedom. Teachers, especially ones with tenure, are free to bring in just about anything related to their subject area into the classroom. They already have that level of protection. So why do we need this bill?

My take on it is that some teachers want to bring things into the classroom that is outside their subject area. Now this begs the question, do teachers who introduce topics outside their subject area deserve a special level of protection? I say No! If the English teacher starts teaching biology, they deserve swift and rapid action . . . and if they continue, they should be fired -- tenure or no tenure.

Of course this wouldn't apply here because this bill is specific to teachers who want to teach alternatives to evolution. And what alternatives are there? You know it's funny because while the bill supporters claim this is not going to be used to introduce religion into the classroom, the only alternatives that exist to evolution are religious based ones. There are no scientific based challenges to the theory of evolution.

So on the one hand this bill will do nothing . . . because it specifically addresses Evolution and if religious alternatives aren't discussed, then the bill is totally a waste of time. On the other hand the bill really doesn't prevent someone from teaching Creationism, or its little brother Intelligent Design. So if they did, the new law could be used to prevent the school from taking any action. That would suck!

Here is what I think Florida should do. I think this would remove all issues and make a law that might actually do something useful. Since there are varying degrees of Academic Freedom in the policies of the multitude of school boards. Change the wording of the law to address academic freedom across all subject areas. State that a teacher cannot be disciplined for bring into the classroom controversial subjects that pertain to the subject area being covered! This would keep teachers focused on their subject area, the area they were hired and are paid to teach. It would prevent someone from bring religion into any class other than one addressing sociology or theology. Religious alternatives to Evolution would not be protected because they would not be within the biology subject area. That's my take! Any teacher that introduces material from outside their subject area or is pushing a specific religious point of view, whether it's Creationism for Evolution, Young Earth Creationism for Geology, or Astrology for Astronomy, I say they do not deserve any protection and schools should take quick and decisive action against such teachers.

Luckily, I am not the only one who objects to this bill (http://www.mysuncoast.com/Global/story.asp?S=8167028&nav=menu577_2_1)

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