August 24, 2007

Sometime late Saturday or Sunday, the blog will probably kick over 200,000 hits, total, in just over 13 months.

Thank you.  Keep those cards and letters coming.

Teachers’ planning: On-line sources for everything

August 24, 2007

Digital History.

Maybe not absolutely everything. But you can mine this source, the veins are rich and deep.

This is a list of sources from Digital History, a site maintained by the University of Houston. I’ve mentioned it in the past, I think — I’ve used it a lot. For example, it has a list of history museums throughout the U.S., with websites and links. It lists the sites of history journals. It lists the sites of electronic history journals.

You’ve got your lesson plans mapped out, most of them done. You’ve got the data sheets for the students to fill out, you’ve got the first week’s bell ringers all prepared. The syllabi are all resting snug in their boxes, just waiting for students, those sly little foxes.

You’re ready.

Take a minute, take a deep breath; now, go browse the Digital History resources. See what other possibilities there are.

Texas education board opposes intelligent design

August 24, 2007

Front page headline in the Dallas Morning News this morning: “Intelligent design? Ed board opposed.

And the subhead: “Even creationists say theory doesn’t belong in class with evolution.”

Remember, this is the state school board that is dominated by creationists, and whose chair, appointed just about a month ago, is the famous creationist dentist Dr. Don McLeroy. Just what is going on? According to the article by Terrence Stutz:

Interviews with 11 of the 15 members of the board – including seven Republicans and four Democrats – found little support for requiring that intelligent design be taught in biology and other science classes. Only one board member said she was open to the idea of placing the theory into the curriculum standards.

“Creationism and intelligent design don’t belong in our science classes,” said Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, who described himself as a creationist. “Anything taught in science has to have consensus in the science community – and intelligent design does not.”

Mr. McLeroy, R-College Station, noted that the current curriculum requires that evolution be taught in high school biology classes, and he has no desire to change that standard.

“When it comes to evolution, I am totally content with the current standard,” he said, adding that his dissatisfaction with current biology textbooks is that they don’t cover the weaknesses of the theory of evolution.

Really noteworthy:

First, McLeroy chooses to act as a more of a statesman than he has in the past — this is good. Chairing a board like this is an important job. Such leadership positions require people to rise above their own partisan views on some issues. McLeroy has demonstrated such a willingness.

But, second, and important: McLeroy uses the campaign line of the Discovery Institute and all political activists against evolution and science: “Cover the weaknesses of the theory of evolution.” That’s a line invented by Jonathan Wells, the great prevaricator ID advocate, and what it means to him is fuzz up the facts, fog the books and the debate to the point that learning actual science and what the actual theories of evolution are will be impossible.

“Teach the weaknesses of evolution” should be heard as “keep the kids ignorant of the real science.”

Today’s article holds a spark for the fire of hope, and a gallon of cold water on the idea that the board will strongly support science.

Read the rest of this entry »

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