Showing posts with label EnageNY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EnageNY. Show all posts

Bully Texas gets the Back of Core's Hand

I recently signed a petition to stop the Texas State Education Board from censoring Climate Change from school books and curriculums. (Yes, Koch is involved, yawda yawda... not the point). The group pushing this effort against the board sent me back a thank you note and a letter of 'reasoning' which I thought was slightly odd, since I already signed the petition. Guessing that I might be missing something, I sipped a bit of coffee, wiped my eyes and took another shot at the email.

The reasoning is ... after reading the message... sent to me because they aren't getting much attention and they want me to post to Facebook with their message that they have designed to encourage the highest rate of success. So, now I have to read the message carefully because my Friends list is filled with writers, artists, business specialist, doctors,and many other intelligent people, and I don't want to look stupid, just to get this group a few more names on the petition.

Their letter isn't bad, and the fangs are interesting:
Texas Board of Education member David Bradley is trying to stop students from learning the facts about climate change. Bradley is pressuring fellow Board members to approve new social studies textbooks for K-12 students that deny the scientific consensus on climate change. 
Since Texas is the nation’s second largest buyer of textbooks, books produced for the state are often sold around the country. Therefore, if the Texas Board of Education approves scientifically inaccurate textbooks, students nationwide will be negatively impacted. 
Bradley said recently, "Whether global warming is a myth or whether it's actually happening, that's very much up for debate. Don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.” 
The number one School Text book buyer in the nation is California.

Historically publishers bow to the whims of Texas and California both. The amount of money involved with the state wide purchase of these books is staggering. The publishers charge a fortune for these text books as well. Corporate battles for territory and contracts are fairly famous in the book world. In fact, you will rarely see a demonstration of political war, abominable greed and vicious competition greater than demonstrated by these publishers during the book buying season.

It is true though, that the other states tend to wait to see what Texas and California are going to purchase. Then they add their orders in with one of them, to lower their own costs. So, this part of the claim above has some validity.

Back in 2010 Texas went radical right and took their school system with them. The alterations to the school curriculum standards are staggeringly agenda driven and boarders on indoctrination at a level that is embarrassing to see in the United States. Without a single shred of apology the TEKS standard melds the Bible and Christian Dogma into History, Social Studies and US Government, trampling the First Amendment rights of any non-Christian student and dashing the Texas Constitution against the wall like it was the paper at the bottom of a bird cage.

Their view of history dismisses all historic evidence, laughs at the letters, and journals of the founding fathers, denies any contradiction and boldly states that the Founding Fathers were Christian (everyone of them, and they have the fake quotes to prove it from their heinously concocted history books they had written by real live pseudo-historians) and that Moses, after receiving the Ten Commandments from God, brought to the world the first written form of conduct, and that this was the basis for the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.

There is so much wrong with that notion I have no clue where to start. I mean, to describe the Constitution as a document which imposes a guide of conduct for the citizens of this country is ludicrous. It is exactly the opposite, in fact, as it mostly focuses on the many ways in which government may not impede on the nations conduct. Free right of assembly, protest, pursuit of happiness, engagement in business, free to speak, free to engage in criticism, absolute freedom from dogmatic, religious or philosophical decrees which do not suit us. And not a single sentence which begins Thou Shalt Not... and curiously no mention of God, Jesus or the bible throughout the whole things.

"Well, what they meant was..." these Mad Hats tell me, to which I say, "No, what they meant was No Part of the Constitution was Based on the Christian Religion!"

And they were wise beyond imagination for keeping the Christian religion out of that document and out of our Government. Christianity is a great servant, but a terrifying master. I defy the recall of a single government whose doctrine was defined by Christianity (any religion really, but we'll stick with this one) which did not, in short order, become twisted, oppressive, and then warish against the rest of the world, destroying not only those they warred against, but their own  citizens.  Nope, don't bring up the city-state of Rome. They are only well behaved because we'll kick their ass, and the first chance they got in centuries for getting in on world domination, they took without hesitation -- when they blessed and partnered up with Hitler during World War II.
say "

No, that experiment is well known, and deeply explored, and found to be the doorway to all things dark and terrible.

And so, thus, we have the State of Texas. And this state Education Board ready to disregard the huge mound of evidence gathered from all over the world, plus the physical evidence and the experience and expertise of every credible group of scientists (which is true by the way. Prior to the adoption of their new statement in 2007, the AAPG was the only major scientific organization that rejected the finding of significant human influence on recent climate. Their new statement recanted that claim and brought in further evidence which changed their minds.) Climate Change is real and we, the human race, are definitely causation for its rapid alteration. Hell, two more years and we won't have a North Pole ice cap.We barely have one now. What are these teachers in Texas going to say then?
It's God's way of telling us that Santa Claus is not the meaning of Christmas.
Setting aside for a moment that I don't believe Belief is a relevant factor in the Climate Change debate, not to teach it at all is a direct assault on those kids. It is the worst kind of censorship.

But, you might ask, wouldn't the people who write these text books, school text books, which are suppose to be factual, put that information in the text books if it was relevant to the lesson?

Answer: no. Texas is such a golden goose that the Publishers will hire a writer willing to put in the text books anything thing Texas decides they want in there. I'm not kidding. Here are reports from professors who have gone through some of the new text books to see if they are inline with the TEKS standards. It will be enough to go through the Executive summary to dash all doubt with disturbing evidence. Those kids are screwed and I'm really hoping that either petitions like this one, or maybe the Blaine Amendment inside the Texas State Constitution will make enough trouble for this Department of Education to unseat them all.

What irks me however, is exactly this problem with the publishers. They should tell Texas to go screw themselves, and they are not in the fiction business, they write, produce and sell  scholastic textbooks, and kids depend on them to get their facts straight. School books are like the highest court of authority when you are in grade school. If it says it in there, it has to be true -- even if it is not. I'm very disgusted at the ease these publishers have discarded this trust of our nations children. Which brings me to Common Core State Standards and my gratitude for their existence.

I do ask that you sign the petition, but my gut tells me that our country is stronger than this school board. That through the powers of our Constitution, and the voting/recall process, this is going to get straightened out and those responsible will be brought to task. It is a shame that this is likely only going to be able to happen, after they use the educational funds to purchase millions of dollars of useless school books. That is going to be a budget shock of dire consequence. Now, if they had enacted and ready the CCSS system, it wouldn't be so bad. How?

New York City, was one of the ground zero testing sites for CCSS. It was a huge project and I've chatted a little with Joel Klein, who was thrown into the position of heading the changes -- having no experience in this area, he was still driven and willing to do a good job, which he did. Changing over was perceived to be a huge undertaking, though the reality proved better than expected. Inside of this project, the EngageNY project was created, which designed, wrote, and published 1000s of resources and books for the whole of New York City, which created specifically to take advantage of the CCSS. What they came up with is of a quality you can't get without serious cash investment. These books and lessons rock -- at least everyone of them I've checked out has exceeded what I expected.

The books are all electronic format. So the school requires readers of some type, which can handle PDF format. Tablets are often the best choice I'm told. But supporting these books are audio lessons and video lessons as well. Like I said, it is a huge scholastic resource.

Yes, all very well and good you say, but how does that help Texas once they come back to reality and find they are broke?

Every book, video, audio, lesson and resource in the EngageNY project is published under the Creative Commons Copyright, and or the TLS/CTAC copyright. In easy-speak this means that no, you can not sell them or use them in a class which you are getting paid to teach (private school), but If you are a teacher of a public school who wants to use these materials for public students.. go for it  No fee, no charge and hey, text us or tweet us if you have questions. Hundreds of teachers in NY used these things every day. Happy to help. 

EngageNY even has Social Studies, Science and Physical Education lessons that are CCSS aligned. Every one of them developed by teams of top educators... none of which would write a single sentence for Texas TEKS. There are somethings you just don't do... which is why I'm not going to be concerned at all, in five or six years, when the School Systems are up and running with CCSS, and teachers have Internet forums, Tweeks, and groups they have created, and sharing lessons , ideas, and methods back and forth with each other -- when they suddenly realize, they don't need these publishers at all, and in fact, there is no way for these publishers to produce the quality of material that a group of teachers and developers online can produce for no cost to the school.

EngageNY is only one resource library. PBS has a huge collection of lesson and activities. In fact there was a call out the other day for anyone who might have a lesson dealing with Ebola. A bit of looking, maybe an hour, and I found one on the PBS site. After taking a bit to go through the material to see that it was par for class room standards, I shot the link over to the teacher who asked about it and close to 30 others picked up on the tweet. Can't get that from a publisher.

And when these Judas who would take their silver at the injury of our nation's kids, because of a few very silly people wave some cash, when these greedy men fall into bankruptcy, I'll probably have a beer and toast the failing of their sun.

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