Sunday, March 18, 2007

 

Global Warming & School Choice

Leftist dogma & an inconvenient truth

The Burlington Free Press reports about the controversy over teaching Global Warming theory in Vermont schools:
As global warming has shifted from the subject of scientific trade journals and alternative media to the center of the public and political arenas, it also has become a hot topic in public schools. That has some parents questioning what their children are hearing. Parents who disagree with the global warming theory, or who chalk it up to environmental alarmists or political hyperbole, are finding that their points of view aren’t given the attention afforded the "other side."
....
All scientific theories are just that — theories. Cell theory and atomic theory aren’t "proven," just as the global warming theory isn’t proven, says Judy Allard, a biology teacher at Burlington High School. At some point, cell and atomic theories were controversial, too; but these days, a parent would be hard-pressed to find a public school that spent equal time teaching opposing cell or atomic theories.

Allard said the political attachment to global warming — like the religious factor in the creation and evolution debate — keeps it controversial and prevents objective evaluation of the evidence.

"Global warming, 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, was thought of as sort of a wing-nut idea. It’s not a wing-nut idea anymore because of the data that’s accumulated," Allard said. "It still involves interpretation, but the political attachment is what makes it difficult. It’s easier to deny that it exists than to say it does and we have to do something about it."

Allard also pointed to the growing evidence that supports the evolution theory, but said religious fundamentalism gets in the way of acceptance.
Equating cell theory and global warming theory is ridiculous. One does a excellent job empirically explaining observable reality; the other doesn't. Global warming theory is similar to creationism in that it is Leftist dogma that human activity is responsible for climate change.

Allard notes the role competing agendas have in shaping how and what students ultamately learn in public schools. I share the view expressed in this unsigned letter posted on a sidebar:
I always smile when parents express surprise that political persuasion is used in the classroom of public/government schools. My lord, haven't we figured it out already? That's the only way to get the nation onboard is to indoctrinate early. That's why the NEA and the left will always argue against school choice. Get with the program, people.
Utah has:
The Senate approved the bill 19-10 on Friday, a week after the House endorsed it by a single vote, 38-37. Both chambers are controlled by Republicans. Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican whose children attend public schools, has said he will sign the bill into law.

The vouchers will be open to any of Utah's 512,000 public school students. The amount will depend on family income, but even affluent families would be eligible for at least $500 per child. Students already in private schools would not be eligible.

The plan, which goes into effect this fall, is expected to cost $9.3 million in its first year and $327 million over 12 years. Utah has a $1.6 billion budget surplus. Public schools that lose enrollment will still receive a portion of state funding for five years after each student departs.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Stephen Urquhart, tried to alleviate concerns that public schools would be shortchanged. In Utah, income taxes must pay for public education. The money for vouchers would come from the state's general fund, which pays for all other state programs.
Introducing accountability into the education system in this way empowers parents at the expense of bureaucrats and politicians, which threatens the stranglehold liberals have on the education industry in this country. Mike Rosen comments:
Tanya Clay House of the ultra-liberal People for the American Way recently declared, "We've never seen a shred of credible evidence that shows school vouchers actually help students learn. While all public schools must demonstrate success under No Child Left Behind, private schools are not held to the same level of accountability for their performance."

Nonsense. Private schools are held to account in the most effective way possible - they're accountable to their customers who are free to take their business elsewhere if they're not satisfied. All the evidence you need for vouchers is that parents who have used them to escape the government school monopoly fight to keep them.

Then, Clay House added this gem: "Every child deserves an excellent education, not just those who can get admitted to a private school." I wonder if she realizes how self-contradictory that statement is. She's acknowledging that private schools provide educational excellence and that kids who are stuck in government schools are denied that! Does she suppose that wealthy parents who pay a premium to send their kids to private schools (without "a shred of evidence that they help students learn") are stupid?

(My emphasis.)

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