We don't need no Education (thread)

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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Tue May 01, 2012 2:40 pm

Should Evolution Be Taught in School? Miss USA Contestants Respond

I was saying to a fellow science teacher the other day that I'm actually a little disappointed that I've never experienced any controversy when teaching evolution. My students have always been receptive, thoughtful, and inquisitive about the topic. But the sheer level of ignorance that I hear about is aggravating. And no, I will not support a "compromise" where creationism is also addressed in a science class, unless it is to explain why it's not science and therefore shouldn't be addressed.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Thu May 10, 2012 8:19 pm

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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Eaquae Legit » Fri May 11, 2012 9:04 am

"Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul." -- Pope John XXIII

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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:03 pm

U of T graduate refuses degree in convocation protest

So here's why I don't have much respect for this guy: it's a meaningless gesture. If he really feels that universities are elitist and all of that, why did he enroll in one? Why did he spend (presumably) 4 years at one getting his degree, and then protest the corrupt system after taking full advantage of it?

You see, whether or not he accepts the piece of paper, he still holds the degree, and I'm sure he's not going to leave that off his resume when he's applying for jobs.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Rei » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:00 pm

It does take guts, but yeah... It seems an empty gesture, and even if it weren't, solidarity with Quebecois students seems a strange reason to refuse one's degree. Surely there are better things to take a stand on, even with your degree.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:48 pm

Louisiana Private Schools Teach Loch Ness Monster Is Real In Effort To Disprove Evolution Theory

I don't mean to pick on all my lovely American friends, but you guys have some serious issues to work out when it comes to science and math education. I don't have solutions for you, but you should probably start by keeping religion out of it.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby starlooker » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:51 pm

:bash: :bash: :bash:
:lecture:
:bash: :bash: :bash:
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:46 pm

Well said, Kirsten. :D

I can't recall if I've said all of this before, but aside from genetics, evolution is my favourite topic to teach in biology. I'm actually a little bit disappointed that I have thus far not had to deal with any controversy relating to it in my classroom. It would make for an interesting discussion. My students represent a number of different faiths so I'm always expecting someone to object to something.

It may help that I always preface the topic by saying something to the effect of, "this is a science class, and we will therefore be discussing a scientific theory and the evidence that supports it. I will not tell you what to believe or what not to believe, but I will assess your understanding of said theory and evidence." I also briefly discuss why creationism and other religious views on the matter are not scientific, and therefore may be acknowledged in discussion but are not part of the science curriculum.

As I said, so far no one has had any problem with this approach.

For me, the bottom line is that everyone should have a basic understanding of the theory of evolution. After that, what you choose to believe is your own business. I have only ever unfriended one person on facebook because in addition to repeated preachy homophobic status updates, she posted something like, "If human evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys around?! No wonder I read the Bible instead of listening to this nonsense in school! LOL". I hadn't spoken with this person since 8th grade, and I knew at this point if I had to read another one of here status updates my first communication with her in 15 years would be saying something on her wall about ignorant she is and how much I hope her children have great teachers who will manage to shovel out some of the s*** that she is no doubt filling their poor impressionable minds with. It's not that I'm against religion, of course. I may not be the best Christian in the world, but I do still consider myself one. However, in nearly 400 years have we still learned nothing from Galileo when it comes to consulting the Bible on scientific matters?
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby elfprince13 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:28 pm

And no, I will not support a "compromise" where creationism is also addressed in a science class, unless it is to explain why it's not science and therefore shouldn't be addressed.
This would be more fun and more educational if you were in a physics class and analyze something like Russell Humphrey's White Hole Cosmology.


There are some pretty well developed YEC "theories" based on analysis of the fossil record, the flood account, geology, and some misunderstanding of genetics and information theory, which are also worth analyzing to show how they fail to be science.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Rei » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:15 pm

However, in nearly 400 years have we still learned nothing from Galileo when it comes to consulting the Bible on scientific matters?
Oh neo... I was so with you all the way up until here... :P
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:26 pm

Care to explain?
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Rei » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:50 pm

Galileo gets a bit too much credit for the idea as there were several notable figures before him who promoted the heliocentric model, not the least being Copernicus and Kepler, and going back to the Ancient Greeks with (as I learned this evening from Alison and a friend) Aristarchus. Also, I'm reasonably certain that the Bible doesn't address heliocentric vs geocentric models of the cosmos. The geocentric model, I believe, comes from the Greek structures and philosophy which informed vast swaths of science up until the end of the Middle Ages. An article I'm currently reading actually suggests that as much as Galileo gets the credit for ending geocentrism, heliocentric theory did not actually become properly established until after the publication of Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:08 pm

Well fine, if you want to be all factual about it, but you get my point. :P
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Rei » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:27 am

Heee, yes :P
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby JohnPaulWiggin » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:48 am

Sorry to change the subject a bit, but I'm going all the way back to the original post in this thread. I'm wondering if you've read the book, Freakonomics. It includes a great story about that same issue of teachers/schools falsifying standardized test scores. Pretty amazing.

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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:51 pm

No, I haven't read it, but I know that the situation I referred to in the original post is not an isolated incident.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby jotabe » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:48 pm

Galileo gets a bit too much credit for the idea as there were several notable figures before him who promoted the heliocentric model, not the least being Copernicus and Kepler, and going back to the Ancient Greeks with (as I learned this evening from Alison and a friend) Aristarchus. Also, I'm reasonably certain that the Bible doesn't address heliocentric vs geocentric models of the cosmos. The geocentric model, I believe, comes from the Greek structures and philosophy which informed vast swaths of science up until the end of the Middle Ages. An article I'm currently reading actually suggests that as much as Galileo gets the credit for ending geocentrism, heliocentric theory did not actually become properly established until after the publication of Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica.
Galileo was more of a popularizer, so to speak, of the topic. By Galileo's time, most astronomers who had access to accurate measurements knew that the heliocentric model leaked badly, and too many ad hoc modifications had to be done to keep it accurate. The perfect circles of which Aristotle had spoken were only a fuzzy, warm memory, and the geocentric model provider a better fit with measurements... but the authority of Aristotle was still very big, and no respected scholar would want to get caught saying he was wrong (the scientific mindset didn't exist yet).
Galileo also provided valuable evidence that supported the heliocentric model. But the one that really killed the geocentric model was Kepler, he gave it full mathematical standing, and accuracy to a level not seen before. After Kepler's model, there were very little serious astronomers on the heliocentric field.

Regarding the geocentrism in the Bible, there's this fragment of the OT where they talk about a battle, and god commands the Sun and the Moon to stand still, giving two separate, independant commands. And these commands result in increasing the duration of the day, so they would have light to do battle. From the literalist interpretation of the bible, this only fits with an astronomical geocentric model (which due to ancient astronomy, was very much in vogue, anyway).
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Syphon the Sun » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:14 am

Step softly; a dream lies buried here.

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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby starlooker » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:43 am

Sigh. It always disturbs me when real life is ripped from South Park.
There's another home somewhere,
There's another glimpse of sky...
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into the wind, unafraid.
There's another life out there...

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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby jotabe » Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:34 pm

I actually sympathize with the teacher. If they don't work, refuse to work, and no one at their homes makes them work, what is she going to do? Fail them all? that would probably get her fired as well.

My father is teacher of car mechanics in a professional school. One of his groups had been particularly bad, one year, and almost all of them failed in June. He gave them exactly the same exam in the September make-up. Most failed again.

And no, it's not "kids nowadays...", it's "parents nowadays..."

:lecture:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3kPYgdIssE" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (dunno if this vid was already posted xD)
Last edited by jotabe on Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Gravity Defier » Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:35 pm

And no, it's not "kids nowadays...", it's "parents nowadays..."
YES.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby jotabe » Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:40 pm

And no, it's not "kids nowadays...", it's "parents nowadays..."
YES.
hehe did you see the vid i edited into the previous post? :D

Of course, i know parents from the PWEB are different! :angel:
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:17 pm

I posted that video before but I see nothing wrong with posting it again for those who missed it. :mrgreen:
I actually sympathize with the teacher. If they don't work, refuse to work, and no one at their homes makes them work, what is she going to do? Fail them all? that would probably get her fired as well.
Well, in my school board there's an emphasis on giving students every possible opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of course content in a variety of ways. If I can show that I've done that, and the students have consistently failed to achieve satisfactory results, and I've brought this to the attention of parents and administrators well in advance, I don't think I'd have a problem failing as many as I need to. A colleague of mine failed literally half of her chemistry class last year.

However, in this case the cheating took place on a standardized test, I believe, and I don't know that such tests influence students' final grades in the States. But if I'm not mistaken they do affect things like funding, which again brings us back to the first issue we discussed in this thread. I think that the U.S. needs to rethink how and why standardized tests are used, and more importantly, how funding is determined.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Syphon the Sun » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:31 am

But if I'm not mistaken they do affect things like funding, which again brings us back to the first issue we discussed in this thread.
I've been thinking about this for a while. I'm not sure that test scores really do affect funding in a meaningful way. As far as I'm aware, the only thing that really ties standardized testing to funding is No Child Left Behind (of which I'm no fan). But federal funding makes up only about 10 percent of education funding (and this is after NCLB increased federal spending on education) and NCLB applies to a type of funding that only about half of school districts receive. I hear a little about how NCLB could cut funding for districts that fail to meet AYP year after year. I'd like to see the data on individual schools (or even in the aggregate), to see how much this has really happened, but I haven't been able to find it very easily. I do know that there are other things NCLB makes you do if you're a failing school (e.g., offer vouchers to students so they can attend another school in the district), but that those policies are rarely enforced.

I think the fact that states will come in and take over a school (or convert it to a charter school) if it's been failing long enough is probably a bigger motivator for cheating than the funding issue, which I'm not convinced is a meaningful threat for failing to meet achievement standards.

And I'm just going to leave this right here:
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:23 pm

If test scores don't have much of an effect on funding then what's the incentive behind these cheating incidents? This recent example may have been one teacher's poor judgment, but last year in Atlanta involved hundreds of board employees. I'm not asking rhetorically, I'm really trying to understand how this system works.

As for the graph, I think it just shows that throwing money at the system doesn't fix it.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Syphon the Sun » Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:51 pm

There are lots of things that could motivate cheating other than funding levels. Schools that have failed to meet achievement standards for too long can see longer school days and new curriculum. They can see the complete replacement of their faculty and staff. They can see the removal of their entire school board. They can see the school converted into a charter school or privately-run public school. They can see their state board of education takeover the school's administration. They can see the school close completely.

A nearby school district was recently taken over by the state's board of education after failing to meet AYP for nine straight years. (The tragic fact is that last year, less than 10 percent of that school district's 11th graders were able to get even barely-passing scores in reading, math and science.)
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:54 am

It's that time of the year again...

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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Eaquae Legit » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:20 am

My dad retired this past June. He is going to spend the first day of school at the campground run by the Teacher's Federation (if you've not heard of this yet, Jason, and enjoy camping, PM me). All the retired teachers have a champagne breakfast called To Hell With the Bell! and man is he looking forward to it.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:15 pm

Congratulations to your dad! I'm not much of a camper though. :D
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:32 pm

I'm not sure if I should find this sad or funny: Kids Suspended for Seeing Teacher's Topless iPad Pic

Personally, I don't see a need to punish anyone involved here. Obviously not the kids. They didn't do anything wrong. As one of them said, they could have done nothing and left the picture there, or they could have showed it to others or even spread it all over the internet. Instead, they reacted responsibly.

As for the teacher, it was stupid of her to be carrying around such a picture on her phone, but certainly not criminal and probably not in violation of any board regulations. Syncing it to the iPad was just an unfortunate accident. I would suggest that the entire staff get some professional development time to train them in using their devices since the school issues iPads to students. Really, the poor teacher suffered the most harm from this incident. 13 year old boys are not going to be traumatized by seeing a topless woman. :roll:
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Dr. Mobius » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:09 pm

Clearly, responsibility is not a lesson they wish to teach.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby Syphon the Sun » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:25 pm

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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby jotabe » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:57 pm

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Ha! the kid did well. A subject that everybody passes is trivial and should not be taught, fire that professor! :angel:

Maybe i am biased from my experience of seeing the empty "passing lists" (because the ratio of people who go to the exam/people who paid enrolled in the subject is so low, professors only list the people who passed the exam).
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:39 pm

The skeptic in me wants to say that that's probably fake, but in just 5 years of teaching I have seen and heard firsthand reports of dumber things.
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Re: We don't need no Education (thread)

Postby neo-dragon » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:09 pm

*BUMP*

So here's a question for you guys, is there value in assigning homework?

Here's what a very articulate and precocious 5th grader has to say about it

I know that OSC has also expressed views on this matter which are similar to those of this young man. I'd like to hear thoughts from you guys before I comment myself.
"Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic."
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