Young Dallas orator meets Oprah

November 18, 2008

Dalton Sherman, the fifth grader from Dallas’s Charles Rice Learning Center, accepted an invitation to speak to a national audience through Oprah Winfrey’s television program, yesterday.

It was much the same speech he gave to Dallas teachers in August, edited for a broader audience.  Did you see it?  What did you think?

Did we mention earlier that his mother is a teacher in Dallas Independent School District?

Texas A&M sent a recruiting letter — he’s just seven years from graduation.  He said he thinks he can be the next Obama.  So that begins.  Good.

How is education in Alaska?

November 18, 2008

Alaska is still counting ballots in the U.S. Senate race, but for the state offices, most of which were not contended in this cycle, the election is over.  Sarah Palin is back at work there — except when she’s on a plane to the lower 48 to do interviews for her out-of-Alaska career.

So, how is education faring there?

Progressive Alaska notes several areas where improvement might be had.  (Is that really a photo of Gov. Palin?)

Separation of church and hate

November 18, 2008

Florida protest, photo found at Quark Soup

Florida protest, photo found at Quark Soup

We’re in the middle of grading; I confess I do not know what this protest is about (Proposition 2?  What is that?).

The line is priceless, regardless.

Who is going to order the bumperstickers?

Found the photo at Quark Soup.

98% of Texas scientists say ‘teach evolution, not intelligent design’

November 18, 2008

Many scientists and researchers call Texas home, working at the Johnson Space Center, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas, University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Christian University, Southern Methodist University, Baylor University, Rice University, the University of Houston, Texas Tech, the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center . . . well, you get the idea.

These are people who work in science every day.  Many of them dedicate their lives to research in biological sciences, where evolution theory is the foundation and framework that hold all the biological sciences together.

In a groundbreaking poll released today by the Texas Freedom Network, 98% of Texas scientists told the Texas State Board of Education to quit trying to inject religion into public school science classes under the guise of intelligent design.

Will the Texas State Board of Education members listen to wise, professional advice?

The report highlights five key findings from the survey:

1. Texas scientists (97.7 percent) overwhelmingly reject “intelligent design” as valid science.

2. Texas science faculty (95 percent) want only evolution taught in science classrooms.

3. Scientists reject teaching the so-called “weaknesses” of evolution, with 94 percent saying that those arguments are not valid scientific objections to evolution.

4. Science faculty believe that emphasizing “weaknesses” of evolution would substantially harm students’ college readiness (79.6 percent) and ability to compete for 21st-century jobs (72 percent).

5. Scientists (91 percent) strongly believe that support for evolution is compatible with religious faith.

The survey results show that politicians who argue that there is a scientific controversy over evolution are not supported by scientists even in a state as conservative as Texas, [TFN President Kathy] Miller said.

Texas scientists report that their students from Texas too often are unprepared for college science curricula in biology because evolution wasn’t taught to them.  This increases costs at the college level where remedial work must be done, and it discourages many capable students from pursuing careers in science. The report urges SBOE to listen to Texas scientists:

It is no exaggeration to say that Texas colleges and universities have a world-class science faculty and boast some of the most respected science educators found anywhere. These scientists should be an invaluable resource in crafting curriculum standards that prepare Texas schoolchildren for college and for the jobs of tomorrow. But is anyone listening? The State Board of Education would do well to heed the advice from these professors. The science education of a generation of students hangs in the balance.  [page 9]

Hearings on proposed changes to the science curriculum are scheduled for Wednesday, November 19, in Austin.  Steve Schafersman, Texas Citizens for Science, will live blog the hearings for his Houston Chronicle blog, Evosphere.


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