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View Diary: What happens in Texas does not stay in Texas - “strengths and weaknesses.” (258 comments)

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  •  if nothing else, pass the article on to others (177+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    claude, northsylvania, homunq, catdevotee, BigOkie, JTML, Shockwave, bellatrys, NCrefugee, Woody, theran, gilacliff, TracieLynn, rktect, nyceve, SecondComing, MD patriot, buckhorn okie, chimpy, roses, javelina, jjhalpin, CocoaLove, wader, webweaver, shirah, ManhattanMan, Hawksana, texasmom, Penny Century, ohiolibrarian, khowell, annetteboardman, lcrp, alizard, Chun Yang, walkshills, frostieb, Wife of Bath, Nova Land, eve, AaronBa, Josiah Bartlett, Sassy, TexMex, Pokerdad, radarlady, Tinfoil Hat, NoMoreLies, jrooth, Ckntfld, mismolly, labwitchy, craigkg, ChemBob, Brooke In Seattle, Spoc42, concerned, snootless, Mr X, most peculiar mama, paxpdx, wiscmass, sodalis, Spathiphyllum, fhcec, RJDixon74135, meghna, gwilson, benthos, Clytemnestra, emeraldmaiden, Yellow Canary, martyc35, akasha, Ashaman, agnostic, Crashing Vor, FireCrow, plf515, bleeding heart, profh, high bitrate, DanC, FrankieB, Palmetto Progressive, illusionmajik, One Pissed Off Liberal, Mike McL, Ken in MN, donnamarie, khereva, Cronesense, blue armadillo, Wide Awake in NJ, threegoal, Wino, edsbrooklyn, Cofcos, WayneNight, MrMichaelMT, Uberbah, jnhobbs, millwood, Moderation, cececville, fallina7, feelingsickinMN, vet, gizmo59, VA Breeze, Clio2, Spoonfulofsugar, flowerfarmer, DraftChickenHawks, zerone, apocryphoto, lineatus, Haplogroup V, Jake Williams, carver, Quicksilver2723, ankey, NogodsnomastersMary, Drewid, kyril, tsqd, raoul78, dont think, Redneck Liberal, ludwig van brickoven, cactusflinthead, shortgirl, ryangoesboom, bottsimons, tabby, artmartin, snackdoodle, gdwtch52, DemocraticOz, Partisan Progressive, Ohiodem1, pylonsound, mrchumchum, remingtonsteele, wmdrpa, VAtrendsblue, zbbrox, Crayola, MotherGinSling, paintitblue, marcirish, ManageWA, Adzam13, SnowItch, common green, NY Dem, 57andFemale, zenmasterjack, myelinate, Dichro Gal, paul94611, Colorado Billy, capasb, Choom Gang Vets for Truth, PixyStyx, confitesprit, karesse, p gorden lippy, miss SPED, seandalai, OldPhart, Hyde Park, yesivotedforbush, Big Danny, KentuckyKat, deboChicago

    the purpose of this diary is to focus attention on the issue.  If that can be done simply by passing on the article, that may be enough.

    Of course, I will not object if people decide to make this diary more visible, either by passing on the link or by recommending it.

    OF course, like so much else before us, the choice of how we react is personal.  We will decide what matters to us, and act, write and speak accordingly.


    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

    by teacherken on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 03:49:11 AM PDT

    •  The marching forces of ignorance. (20+ / 0-)

      These religious loons are the most annoying people.

      "Somewhere. Someone's god is laughing." - Three Days Grace

      by Intercaust on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 04:05:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You realize that we have, for the first time, (22+ / 0-)

        the tools to deal with this.

        LET US MAKE THIS A NETROOTS ISSUE, contact each state and county school board, and get them to sign on a pledge NOT TO BUY any Texas based school book.
        Hell, let's deal with this in Austin, and I will be glad to sit on a panel or promote it or anything.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology and understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 04:53:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Damn right! (5+ / 0-)

          If the tubes can help us elevate an African-American to the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States of America, we can do pretty much anything we set our minds to...

          I want my Two Dollars!

          by Ken in MN on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 05:19:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You can't do that. (8+ / 0-)

          The textbook monopoly in Texas and California is strong and will not be swayed by a netroots pledge campaign.

          There is too much money involved.

          Books are created for the Texas market first because Texas has independent school districts statewide that choose their own texts, and the state buys more books than any other. Most other states buy books statewide for their schools. There are simply many more students to consume their products in Texas. That's why the publishers design them based so much on Texas (and California) input. Simple economics.

          Economics would trump any plan to just boycott them. They are too powerful and control too much of the market.

          You must go to the heart of the matter and change the way textbooks are bought and sold. Oh, and two of the four largest national textbook publishers are based in Texas.

          What is your plan for breaking down this monolith? Realize that putting them out of business also eliminates the jobs of thousands of people in one of the only states that isn't completely in the toilet jobwise right now.

          There are also an incredible number of stubbornly religious people in Texas. Many of them aren't open to having their minds changed about evolution. My Texas mom believes in evolution -- for animals. But she will tell you, loud and long, that she wasn't descended from any monkey, she was created by her God.

          •  Facts trump Faith (3+ / 0-)

            Religious zealotry is not a valid reason to teach something or forbid its teaching. Schools are about learning, not religion.

            Texas does have problems, but the economics of textbooks have also changed. If Texas wants to inculcate ignorance in their students, that does not mean that any other state should allow this hogwash to pollute the science textbooks in their schools.

            This is one place where national standards of education are useful. The religionists will have a much harder time capturing a national science education standards group than they have had capturing state education boards.

            •  I agree with much you say (0+ / 0-)

              I just know how they work.

              I worked in various aspects of the textbook industry, first college, then high school, then K-12 testing materials, all in Texas.

              I've seen it from the inside. They are often treacherous bastards who'd sell their own mother to get a major contract. There is much money to be made in add-on sales.

              I agree there should be national standards -- in every subject, but I don't know if they are possible. It's hard to get the states to agree within themselves on statewide standards. Also, what's the constitutional limit on the federal government imposing its will on the states? I know we have NCLB that forces states to dance to the tune of the feds. Can we create legislation that forces a GOOD program on them for the benefit of children (AND the rest of us) nationwide? I hope so.

              And for the record, I'm an atheist, so I think the unwanted intrusion of religion into ANYTHING is offensive. Just when you think you are dealing with a rational human being, God will get thrown at you as a trump card. If we could leave religion out of everything -- without deleting morals -- the whole world would be better off. The problem is, too many people would have no morals without their fear of eternal damnation. And that is truly sad.

              •  I will disagree on national standards (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ManhattanMan, agnostic

                because as we can see in the battles over things like textbooks or even statewide standards, the politicizing of the educational process is potentially explosive.   If you think battles over gay marriage were problematic, wait until you get battles over history -  is it the War of Northern Aggression, the Southern Rebellion, or the Civil War?  That's just for starters, and that one is far easier.

                And then there is science . . .  as we can already see, we have all kinds of problems with biology, but we also have it with physics and any kind of earth science.

                Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

                by teacherken on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:24:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree with your concern, but ... (0+ / 0-)

                  Education should not be politicized. The problems of politics are more profound at the local level than they are at the national level when setting standards.

                  I don't think that constitutional problems would arise, but we would get the common, and all-too-true, objection that the Feds will get involved but fail to pay for what they want. That needs to be fixed.

                  History and science can be completely reasonable and balanced. It is those who want their own spin who object when straightforward facts are offered and their politically or religiously-motivated propaganda is ignored.

                  For example, the American Civil War is a perfectly neutral description of the activity. Calling it something else shows a bias on the part of the writer. I'm not asking Atlanta to rename all of its Peachtree roads to honor Sherman, but I certainly don't want them to romanticize the antebellum South or ignore the causes from both regions that led eventually to war.

                  If the best propaganda is the propaganda that no one notices, Margaret Mitchell is the greatest American propagandist of all time.

                •  I thought that's what I said :~) (0+ / 0-)


                  However, there are still teachers in Virginia who put forth the notion that the South was right in the Civil War.

                  Oh, yes there are. I've met them. And that's dangerous.

                  And when I was reading essays of students in VA, there were several that gleefully rewrote US history from the view of Lee as victor. They think the South will rise again and hate Yankees like it's still 1860.

                  I've also mentioned in other comments on this site when we were talking about the election in West Virgina that some of the teachers in the Western counties don't think their students should be held to the same grammar standards as the rest of the state because "their kids don't speak that way."

                  And that's only in one state.

                  I know what we would be up against nationwide. I've participated in some of that standards-creation work on a strictly peripheral basis. But as I said above, they can't agree within the states, so how could they agree nationwide.

                  It would have to be imposed, like NCLB, with federal funds attached.

              •  National Standards are a bad idea. (0+ / 0-)

                What if we lose politically?  In addition to the whole country turning Red, it will also turn Dumb.

                There should be a National Test and the results should be made public.  Then let parents choose which schools they prefer.

                But any attempt to impose a National Curriculum will just give us the Texas Problem on a national scale...the Fundamentalists might win a few elections and gut science education across the country instead of just in a few states.

          •  actually, it depends on how we approach it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brooke In Seattle

            if we meet at netroots, come up with a plan, set out contact with state organizations, and purchasing groups, and they show the slightest interest in our work, I suspect that the bookmakers will sit up and take notice.

            For 20 yrs, they have bent to the strongest wind, and yielded to the loudest squeal. there has been NO opposition, not in an organized fashion.

            I suspect that we will have NEA, PTAs, school unions, principals, administrators and many more, taking a stance, a strong stance, against this shit, and forever remove religion from science. Anyone want to join me in a meet & greet in Austin on this issue?

            What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology and understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

            by agnostic on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:26:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps, if we can't change the industry (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              then the goal should be a nationwide education program for school districts to instruct them which pages to remove from those textbooks.  

              Can you imagine this assembly line of teachers and administrators passing books down a line armed with razor knives and having a large bonfire outside to burn the references to creationism?

              (you do know I'm just kidding right?)

              "I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence" Doug McLeod

              by artmartin on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:47:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  If I am there, I would like to meet. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Just realize it's a big undertaking.

              There are 254 counties in Texas, and within many of those counties there are several independent school districts. Each of those districts buys its own books. Within those districts are many schools, most with their own PTA that would have to be lobbied.

              For example, I graduated from a Texas high school in a little town in the southwest part. In addition to the ISD that governed my school, there were three other ISDs in the county that governed the other districts just in the one small county. (Population under 100,000) They all bought their own books directly from the publishers.

              Multiply that by the counties in Texas, and you have a massive mailing list to compile.

              Remember, also, that two of the four largest textbook publishers are based in Texas, so there are jobs to be considered as well. And Texas is a red state with lots of religious people who don't understand objections to teaching Jesus in class or praying before every sporting event.

              And I'm not just trashing Texans. I'm the child of Texans, married a Texan, have two Texas-born children, and, heaven help me, I'm living there again. They knew exactly what they were doing when they adopted the advertising slogan "Texas: it's a whole 'nother country."

              •  I just e-mailed netroots (0+ / 0-)

                to see if we can get a conference.

                Anyone else interested, please e-mail me (it is on my page here) and lets set out das plan, man.

                What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology and understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                by agnostic on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 09:19:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If Mark Warner is coming, ask him. (0+ / 0-)

                  He was governor of Virginia in 2002 when they added a huge amount of money to the budget for education.

                  They also had a standardized testing system in place in VA before NCLB was passed.

                  He might add an executive's point of view to this discussion.

        •  The DNC needs to focus more attention on Texas (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brooke In Seattle

          I wouldn't have come here but I was born here. I have considered leaving but I am in a position to help move things forward in Texas before I leave to explore the world and experience progressive environments.

          We need Chicago-style machinery to evangelize Progressive values into Texans. A campaign convincing Texans out of those Synagogues of Satan would be a start since Republicans have used certain kinds of churches to indoctrinate a base.

          Science should be the big issue this season. This, coupled with the expenses of NASA, are the backbone of the science issue that should be promoted. The first aversion to science is the metric system. It is a stumbling block in front of the science lab door and the stumbling block to stopping the creationist heresy. If we can metricate, stuff like climate change and evolution will be more understandable to the common person.

          I propose that the Democratic platform on science start with national metrication. The other two issues, space exploration and evolution, can be hidden under the metrication banner. To start, we can use the manufacturing decline to our advantage. This is the 21st century and we need a 21st century measuring system!

          Declare independence from Great Britain. Use SI instead. U.S. Metric Association

          by movingforward on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 09:21:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  now in transit to school (7+ / 0-)

      will check on this when I can, but will shortly be offline for at least 45 minutes

      Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

      by teacherken on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 04:17:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As a student at Berkeley, I have spoken with (16+ / 0-)

      a number of professors who are extremely frustrated by the efforts to undermine things like evolution and global warming. In the scientific community, while there are always dissenters, evolution and global warming are both almost universally accepted. My geology professor, for instance, couldn't help but laugh when confronted with a ridiculous 'argument' against global warming.

      It isn't funny though. These people are inhibiting the advancement of knowledge, and restricting our youth's potential.

    •  The campaign is insidious. (10+ / 0-)

      They're determined to cram their filth down our throats, whether its welcome or not.

      •  the weanesses include (14+ / 0-)

        if you don't accept it you can't make sense of evolving infectious agents and plan the next rounds of vaccines.You can't understand how populations change when environmental stresses are changed, you can't make sense of how viruses like HIV evade the immune system as they undergo round after round mutation, evolving literally different strains in different organs, or how to target the constant parts to cure or prevent infection.

        Gawd, I hate this back-to-magic crap. Elections matter, and so does education of kids.

        Why don't we teach the strengths and weaknesses of gravity? That's "only" a theory. That may encourage kids to think independently and try to see if they can step off a tall building.

        As I've commented previously elsewhere, the word "theory" has two meanings, one in popular usage, one in scientific usage. In pop usage, it means the same as what scientists mean by "hypothesis," a tentative idea of how something might work that can be tested. Theory in science means a concept that unifies and explains a huge number of observations. That is evolution, that is relativity, that is quantum electrodynamics, that is the heliocentric solar system, that is the round earth.

        Pushing back against fundie influence, legitimized and brought in from the fringe by Reagan, is going to take real vigilance for a long time.

        Fear is the mind killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

        by p gorden lippy on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 04:59:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  McBush is another evolution denier (2+ / 0-)

          McBush panders to the right wing loonies, takes their money, and SEEKS OUT the endorsements of wacko preachers.

          Number one job is to elect Obama on November 4, 2008.  All other down ticket races are important also, but the top spot is crucial- look at the damage bush has done, McBush wants to continue that and in some areas actually make things worse than bush!

        •  most people that have a problem with "evolution" (0+ / 0-)

          have a problem with the probablilty of spontaneous generation.  they are skeptical of the idea that DNA essentially made itself and that it was sequenced in such a way that allowed a cell to be formed as a result. The intricacies of all that and the complexities of it are a little too much to say that it was a natural chemical reaction.  Many respected arithmeticians have issues with this problem.

          A lie makes it halfway around before the truth gets out the door.--Mark Twain(paraphrased) -4.50, -1.90

          by Ab2kgj on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:20:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Abiogenesis preceeds evolution (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            p gorden lippy

            It is true that we don't understand much about the beginning of life on earth, but that has nothing to do with the facts of evolution. Of course the denialists go out of their way to muddy the water and mislead people about what was going on. Their 'probabilities' are generally pulled out of the air and relate not at all to what could have been happening on earth at the time life was beginning.

            I am not aware of any scientists or mathematician who has provided any science-based objection to abiogenesis.

          •  evolution only covers what can be tested (0+ / 0-)

            The primoridal rise of life is another interesting area of biological research that is not directly related to evolution of species by natural selection. There are, of course, no fossils, so there is a great deal of inference based on what we know currently. There have been many good scientific hypotheses that propose higher order organization of early pre-biotic molecules by catalysis via the repeating structures of certain clays. There is also the widely-held view that RNA preceded DNA as the genetic molecule for a variety of reasons, including its ability to act as an enzyme at the same time it stores information in its sequence. It's an area for scientific inquiry, not an excuse to abandon reason or investigation.

            Fear is the mind killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

            by p gorden lippy on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:54:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  How about the intelligent design of our textbooks (5+ / 0-)

      I don't mind people engaging either evolution or intelligent design as a testable hypothesis. Why not explore the strengths and weaknesses of the Bible and its testable hypothesis at the same time?

      Suppose we enquire as to the evolution of the argument itself and teach its history including identifying the players and their strategies.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Impeach, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 05:07:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I come from Kansas (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, p gorden lippy

      and still (in spite of 17 years in Missouri) consider myself a Kansan.  The thing that is reassuring to me in general is to see that state fight back -- each time the religious loons have gotten themselves elected to the school board, the state gets them off.  It is a frustrating thing that people don't pay attention until the crazies are elected, but a relief that the overall state belief is that they ARE crazy.

    •  Sorry for the delay in recommending this.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SecondComing, p gorden lippy

      I clicked my mouse button but God was apparently busy elsewhere at that moment.

    •  I remember this issue... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...being a huge concern in 2000 to those of us tracking this huge racket.  And that's what it is.  Texas and California get to control the selection of the textbooks used in our public school systems nationwide by virtue of their superior purchasing power.

      The stories circulating here in 1999 and 2000 identified two people in Nacogdoches, Texas, as having a dispurportionate impact upon the choices for the entire nation by their choices.

      I always hoped that smaller school districts nationwide would band together to form a purchasing bloc that would rival those of the big state purchasers.  It wasn't an issue for me because my children were already adults.  

      Money = leverage.  The combined budgets of smaller school districts could address this anomaly by working together to overcome this obvious monopoly by Texas and California.

      It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them. Alfred Adler

      by Quicksilver2723 on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:10:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, come on Teacherken, don't (4+ / 0-)

      you know that people and dinosaurs existed together?  Here's proof:

      •  Alley-Oop-oop . . . (4+ / 0-)

        as recorded by "The Argyles" aka Dallas Frazier, take from this web site:

        (Oop-oop, oop, oop-oop)
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)

        There's a man in the funny papers we all know
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        He lived 'way back a long time ago
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        He don't eat nothin' but a bear cat stew
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        Well, this cat's name is-a Alley Oop
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)

        (Alley Oop) He's the toughest man there is alive
        (Alley Oop) Wearin' clothes from a wildcat's hide
        (Alley Oop) He's the king of the jungle jive
        (Look at that cave man go!!) (SCREAM)

        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        He got a chauffeur that's a genuwine dinosawruh
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        And he can knuckle your head before you count to fawruh
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        He got a big ugly club and a head fulla hairuh
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        Like great big lions and grizzly bearuhs
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)

        (Alley Oop) He's the toughest man there is alive
        (Alley Oop) Wearin' clothes from a wildcat's hide
        (Alley Oop) He's the king of the jungle jive
        (Look at that cave man go!!) (SCREAM)

        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        He rides thru the jungle tearin' limbs offa trees
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        Knockin' great big monstahs dead on their knees
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        The cats don't bug him cuz they know bettah
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        Cuz he's a mean motah scootah and a bad go-gettah
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)

        (Alley Oop) He's the toughest man there is alive
        (Alley Oop) Wearin' clothes from a wildcat's hide
        (Alley Oop) He's the hullie-gullie king of jive
        (Look at that cave man go!!) (SCREAM)

        Thair he goes
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        Look at that cave man go
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        Ride, Daddy, ride
        (Alley Oop, oop, oop, oop-oop)
        Hi-yo dinosawruh

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH! If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy

        by teacherken on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:53:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Careful with those lyrics sites. (0+ / 0-)

          My computer geek friends tell me that lyrics sites often junk up your computer with cookies, adware and other crap that slows down your machine.

          I got a nasty virus from one once, and it nearly shut down my whole computer. I won't go to them now.

          Take care.

    •  teach, I diaried this (0+ / 0-)

      and asked if people are interested in having a meeting on this issue.
      again, nice diary.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology and understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 09:51:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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