Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Here We Go Again

The Chesterfield (Virginia) School Board, under pressure from proponents of Intelligent Design Creationism, has issued the following statement, which I've interspersed with a translation from the politicianese:

Our vision for this school system is anchored upon the understanding that our schools must be thriving, dynamic, and inspiring educational environments that produce self-directed learners.
Does that sound educationionalish enough to be cover for what we are about to do?

Self-directed learning occurs only when alternative views are explored and discussed. The unimpeded exploration of different perspectives is essential in this regard, and the School Board wholeheartedly encourages such exploration.
But just let one of the little bastards try to learn something about gay rights!

We implore our students to expand their knowledge through research, to debate the concepts as presented, and to develop their creative and independent thinking skills.

Don't let an education keep you from thinking just like mommy and daddy!

The Virginia Constitution authorizes the State Board of Education to approve textbooks and instructional aids and materials for use in courses in the public schools of the Commonwealth.
Okay, you've got a gun to our heads ...

The State Board has adopted applicable regulations and our School Board is complying with the Constitution and those regulations as it adopts textbooks for use in Chesterfield County Public Schools.
And we will obey the bare minimum of the law that we can get away with ...

The School Board is cognizant that technology now allows easy access to an almost infinite number of resources facilitating learning.
But we don' need no steeekin' school books!

To suggest that we should limit our students' access to specifically approved textbooks and instructional materials would not only inhibit self-directed learning but would also ill-prepare our young people for the challenges that will face them in the competitive global market of the 21st century.
But just let one of the little bastards try to learn something about contraception on a school computer!

We have received much interest and concern from our citizens relating to the theory of evolution as taught in our science classes.
We don't like science!

It is the School Board's belief that this topic, along with all other topics that raise differences of thought and opinion, should receive the thorough and unrestricted study as we have just articulated.
We want our kids not to like science!

Accordingly, we direct our superintendent to charge those of our professionals who support curriculum development and implementation with the responsibility to investigate and develop processes that encompass a comprehensive approach to the teaching and learning of these topics. We also ask that the Superintendent report to us the results of this assignment and his evaluation of its success.
We want you teachers to figure out how to make our kids not like science.

As it relates to every aspect of our official duties, we have each taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
As long as somebody is watching ...

The U.S. Secretary of Education has reminded us that "the First Amendment requires public school officials to be neutral in their treatment of religion, showing neither favoritism toward nor hostility against religious expression."
The present politicians in Washington don't care about the Constitution any more than we do.

He further states, "[s]tudents may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Such home and classroom work should be judged by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school."

Gobbledygook is good for pretending that what we are doing is legal.

We must never confuse the requirement for religious neutrality of the government with the rights of our students to engage in religious expression.
Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what we mean?

To this end, the School Board directs the Superintendent, the School Board Attorney, and other appropriate members of the staff to instruct all of the Board's employees responsible for the education of our students about these principles that we have sworn to uphold. This instruction shall be accomplished on an ongoing basis with verification provided to the School Board annually.
When we get our asses sued, let's make sure we don't look like total idiots like those guys in Dover!

So, students can yammer on about Intelligent Design and the age of the earth as long as they plainly state that this is their religion, right? And no one will be allowed to criticize their work for fear of stepping on freedom of religion?

Legal or not, I don't think the DI will be too pleased with another bunch of rubes blowing the cover story. Or have they realized that since Dover, everyone sees through it anyway?
Schools can, at least, keep the lil' darling's from proselytizing each other during class hours and arguably have a duty, therefore, to do so.

The DI has long argued (not very credibly in my opinion) that individual teachers have the "academic freedom" to "teach the full range of scientific theories about origins." Maybe its next fallback position is to let the little children lead them.
John, Please review my efforts to stop the IDiots.

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