Shameful and Degrading Evaluations of Teachers by Politicians

Teacher bashing has become a contact sport that is played out by many U.S. Governors.  The rules of the game are staked against teachers by using measures that have not been substantiated scientifically.  For many governors, and mayors it is fair play to release the names of every teacher in the city, and their Value-added […]

Is There an Assault on Public Education and (Science) Teaching

There is an unrivaled assault on the teaching profession.  It  emerged and has sustained itself when education policy makers convinced themselves that public education should be based on standards driven accountability model, combined with high-stakes testing. The goal of this model of education is to improve student achievement test scores in mathematics, reading, and science. […]

Anthony Cody Writes: At the Department of Education, Warm Snow Falls Up

Guest Post by Anthony Cody As the Simpson family prepared to travel south of the equator to Brazil, Homer revealed some misconceptions. In opposite land, according to Bart’s father, “warm snow falls up.” Reading the latest press releases and speeches from the Department of Education, sometimes I feel as if this is where we have arrived. For […]

Obama Says: Stop Teaching to the Test; Teach With Creativity and Passion

In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama included a section of his speech that focused on education, not only K-12, but he also challenged colleges and universities to be more creative about how they work with students, and as well as the hundreds of thousands of young students who are not yet […]

Corporations are not People: Book Recommendation

I’ve started reading Corporations are not People by Jeffrey Clements and with a forward by Bill Moyers. On this post, and many other blogs (1,2,3 for example), the “reform” of education in the interests of corporations and private foundations has led to situation that many of refer to as the “corporate take-over of schooling” in […]

Is There An Assault on Science?

Is There An Assault on Science? Yesterday, I wrote a brief post introducing a new book by Shawn Otto entitled Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America.  For the past four years, Otto has co-led Sciencedebate.org, a grassroots organization that has tried to influence the 2008 and the 2012 presidential elections.  The […]

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America

Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America is the title of a new book by Shawn Lawrence Otto, c0- founder of Science Debate 2008, one of the largest online (125 million) science sites that featured a “debate” between the 2008 Presidential candidates on science. In Science Debate 2008, Presidential candidates (even during […]

Corporate Science Education Standards—Far From the Classroom

I got a Tweet from Christopher Emdin, Professor at Columbia University Teachers College linking me to his recent article on the Huffington Post entitled 5 Reasons Why Public School Teachers are Occupying Wall Street.  His reasons, which I will list below, resonated with me with regard to the way in which corporate boards, through organizations […]

Why Were Test Answer Sheets Altered? The Atlanta Case, Report #2

I’ve read the complete report on the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) CRCT testing scandal. It’s hard to believe that there was such widespread activity in which student answers on the state’s CRCT bubble sheets were changed. Why? That is the central question of this post. I’ll say upfront, that I don’t know, and the report […]

AAAS Vigorously Opposes Attacks on Climate Change Researchers

Yesterday, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) published an open letter on its website with the headline: AAAS Board: Attacks on Climate Researchers Inhibit Free Exchange of Scientific Ideas.  In the letter, the Board said: Scientists and policymakers may disagree over the scientific conclusions on climate change and other policy-relevant topics. But […]

Intelligent Design: The Right Sound Bite

One of the candidates who recently announced her candidacy for President said in a speech that “intelligent design” should be taught in science because all sides of an issue in science should be taught. Now that the race is on to see who will challenge our President for his job, one of the areas that […]

The Principle of Tolerance

Yesterday, the monstrous shooting of innocent people in a Tuscon, AZ shopping center parking lot, was not only an act against these persons, including a 9 year old child, a U.S. Congresswoman, and Federal Judge, and husbands, wives, brothers, and sisters of the 20 people that were shot or killed, but an act of extreme […]

Climate Change: How the New Congress Will Help the Earth Get Hotter

When the new Congress convenes in January, 2011, it will get hotter in the House & Senate with an influx of Representatives and Senators (all Republicans) who continue the conspiracy that global warming is a hoax, and that humans are not contributing to the warming of the Earth.  This group of elected officials (especially in […]

Why Scientific Perceptions Persist Even with Facts & Teaching

There was a very interesting study completed at the University of Michigan entitled When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions by researchers Brendan Nyhan, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, and Jason Reifler, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University.  This study, although in the realm of political behavior, has strong implications for science […]

Why Scientific Perceptions Persist Even with Facts & Teaching

There was a very interesting study completed at the University of Michigan entitled When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions by researchers Brendan Nyhan, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, and Jason Reifler, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University.  This study, although in the realm of political behavior, has strong implications for science […]

Why Scientific Perceptions Persist Even with Facts & Teaching

There was a very interesting study completed at the University of Michigan entitled When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions by researchers Brendan Nyhan, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, and Jason Reifler, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University.  This study, although in the realm of political behavior, has strong implications for […]

Why Scientific Perceptions Persist Even with Facts & Teaching

There was a very interesting study completed at the University of Michigan entitled When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions by researchers Brendan Nyhan, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, and Jason Reifler, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University.  This study, although in the realm of political behavior, has strong implications for […]

Global Warming: It’s Only a Theory & Balanced Treatment in South Dakota Science Classrooms

Yesterday, I reported that the South Dakota state legislature moved a bill along that calls for a balanced teaching of global warming, “especially since global warming is a scientific theory and not a proven fact,” to quote HR1009.  This notion of using “theory” in science as not being viable, or as having not gone through […]

Global Warming: It's Only a Theory & Balanced Treatment in South Dakota Science Classrooms

Yesterday, I reported that the South Dakota state legislature moved a bill along that calls for a balanced teaching of global warming, “especially since global warming is a scientific theory and not a proven fact,” to quote HR1009.  This notion of using “theory” in science as not being viable, or as having not gone through […]

Snow in Atlanta, South Dakota Wants Balanced Treatment for the Teaching of Global Warming: Go Figure

Yes, it did snow today in Atlanta, and indeed all around the southeastern region of the USA. It normally does not snow in March in Atlanta. This year has been the year snow, especially in the eastern part of the USA. Some pundants, and especially one US Senator have used this year’s snowfalls to support […]

Using Achievement Scores to Support Myths and Build Fear

There was an interesting discussion in Yong Zhao’s book, Catching Up, or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization about how John F. Kennedy used the launching of Sputnik to suggest that a “Missile Gap” existed between the United States and Soviet Union, that the United States was behind. It turns out […]

The Race to the Top: A Humanistic Perspective

There was a very interesting article in the current issue of the journal Science Education by Peter Fensham of Queensland University, Australia entitled The Link Between Policy and Practice in Science Education.  In the article, Fensham argues that the science education research community “has a rather spectacular record of naivete about educational policy and politics, […]

The Race to the Top: Some Thoughts

The U.S. Department of Education received about $100 billion ($100,000,000,000) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  It’s an enormous amount of money that is going to given to the States.  $4.35 billion of this amount has been earmarked as The Race to the Top fund, and it is that part of Department’s program that […]

Health Care in the US: An S-T-S Issue for the Science Classroom?

Health care has emerged as one of the most contentious issues of the day in the USA. The contention is not new. This PBS time line covering the past 100 years identifies points of contention and progress in the government’s attempt to deal with health care on a national level. A more informative time line […]

The Invention of Air and Science Teaching

Several months ago I purchased Steven Johnson’s new book The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America.  I started reading it, but for some reason put it away, only to return to it this weekend.  I finished reading it this morning, and have been thinking about making a […]

The “Two Cultures” Gap: Implications for the Issues of the Day

For the past week, or so, I have been trying to sort through the information emerging from Washington about health care, and what should be done about it.  In the Senate, the bill is known as the Affordable Health Choices Act, and in the House (HR 3200) it is called America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.  […]

The "Two Cultures" Gap: Implications for the Issues of the Day

For the past week, or so, I have been trying to sort through the information emerging from Washington about health care, and what should be done about it.  In the Senate, the bill is known as the Affordable Health Choices Act, and in the House (HR 3200) it is called America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.  […]

From Sputnik to Sagan: Some Views on Science

I decided to obtain a copy of Unscientific America by Mooney and Kirshenbaum via my Kindle App on my iPhone, and started reading immediately.  A few days later, the book arrived.  In an early part of the book, “the rise and cultural decline of American science,” the authors have a chapter entitled: From Sputnik to […]

Some Things You Might Want Know About the House’s Clean Energy Bill

In the last post I listed ten reasons to support the Energy Bill passed in the U.S. House.  Here are some things you might find interesting about the bill.  I’ve tried, I really have, to keep my opinions out of this list. It’s long, really long.  When it it was first introduced into the House […]

Some Things You Might Want Know About the House's Clean Energy Bill

In the last post I listed ten reasons to support the Energy Bill passed in the U.S. House.  Here are some things you might find interesting about the bill.  I’ve tried, I really have, to keep my opinions out of this list. It’s long, really long.  When it it was first introduced into the House […]

Top 10 Reasons for the Senate to Pass an Energy Bill

Here are 10 reasons that I think the United States Senate must pass an Energy Bill which would then be reconciled with the House’s Clean Energy Bill (HR 2454).  They are listed in here in no particular order because they are really interrelated, and I don’t think that anyone of these is more important than […]

Scientific Illiteracy

There is a very interesting book by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum that will be published in July. It is titled Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens America. The authors explore the rift between science and mainstream American culture, and even refer to C. P. Snow’s famous book, The Two Cultures. I think this book […]

Georgia to boost pay of new math & science teachers: Some issues

The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill (HB 280) which the Governor signed relating to the employment and pay for mathematics and science teachers.  The bill would boost new math & science teachers’ salaries by paying these new teachers the same salary as a fifth year teacher.  In effect, the boost would be about $4,561 […]

Georgia to boost pay of new math & science teachers: Some issues

The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill (HB 280) which the Governor signed relating to the employment and pay for mathematics and science teachers.  The bill would boost new math & science teachers’ salaries by paying these new teachers the same salary as a fifth year teacher.  In effect, the boost would be about $4,561 […]

Further Thoughts on Evolutionary Teaching in Texas from Georgia!

I’ve returned to Georgia, and I wanted to look back over the most recent posts that focused on the actions of the Texas Board of Education on the teaching of theory (of evolution, expansion of the Universe, and all others) in science class.  A good review of the events in Texas are contained in an […]

Science Teachers Best Friend: The Austin American-Statesman

There was an editorial in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper today entitled Put education board under a microscope. If you are a science teacher or scientist in Texas, or for that matter throughout the USA, you have to love this editorial. The editorial announces a little known Texas House Bill 722 which will require that board […]

Junk Science: The Texas Board’s Approach to Teaching

If you hand the teaching of science over to the Texas Board of Education, what you get in the end is junk science. For several months now, the Texas Board of Education has been involved in deciding upon a final draft for the new science standards for the state of Texas. The final set of […]

Junk Science: The Texas Board's Approach to Teaching

If you hand the teaching of science over to the Texas Board of Education, what you get in the end is junk science. For several months now, the Texas Board of Education has been involved in deciding upon a final draft for the new science standards for the state of Texas. The final set of […]

Global warming: A bunch of hooey!

According to Mr. Don McLeroy, the chairman of the Texas State Board of Education any contribution by humans to global warming is a bunch of hooey! The Board of Education met for several days in Austin to discuss and vote on the new science standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for Texas. Most of the […]

Strengths and Weaknesses of Evolution May Be Out of Texas Science Standards

UPDATE: The Texas Board of Education approved the science standards BUT teachers will be required to have students “scrutinize” all sides of the theories. Read more here for more details. We are in the Round Top Texas area for two weeks participating in a very large collection of antiques shows held twice a year in […]

Should science teaching be political? A Humanistic Question

I could have titled this “Is science teaching political?: A Humanistic Question.” In an article (Scientific literacy: A Freirean perspective as a radical view of humanistic science education) recently published in Science Education, Wildson L.P. dos Santos, of the Instituto de Quimica, Universidade de Brasilia, describes a rationale for advancing a new idea in humanistic […]

Climate Change, Politics and Science Teaching

The new administration in Washington has made it clear that it climate change would be one of the science-related issues that it would deal with, and there is clearly some evidence to support this.  In an article in USA Today, entitled Politics heats up global warming suggested that climate scientists should get involved in the […]

Florida Legislators: "Teach Critical Thinking in Science, but Just the Facts, Man in History"

Can you insist on critical thinking in one content area, and then demand that another be taught only as a factual pursuit? Well, that’s what some legislators in the Florida Senate believe. A bill was introduced on February 27, 2009 into the Florida Senate relating to educational instruction. It is a comprehensive bill that will […]

Florida Legislators: “Teach Critical Thinking in Science, but Just the Facts, Man in History”

Can you insist on critical thinking in one content area, and then demand that another be taught only as a factual pursuit? Well, that’s what some legislators in the Florida Senate believe. A bill was introduced on February 27, 2009 into the Florida Senate relating to educational instruction. It is a comprehensive bill that will […]

Education and the Economic Recovery Bill

Today I want to focus on how education will play a crucial role in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Bill, and will focus on education and schooling, as well as some comments about science education. Firstly, the amount of funds being directed into the education sector of the economy is enormous.  Depending upon which fact […]

Science & Education in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Bill: Some Details

Science education in general, and science teachers, in particular, have an important role in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Bill (ER&RB). According to the Committee on Appropriations, the ER&R Bill will target eight areas. As you scan the list, please note that science, technology & education are integral to the economic recovery. As you look […]

Science & Education in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Bill: Some Details

Science education in general, and science teachers, in particular, have an important role in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Bill (ER&RB). According to the Committee on Appropriations, the ER&R Bill will target eight areas. As you scan the list, please note that science, technology & education are integral to the economic recovery. As you look […]

Read Summary of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment in Science

The Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives has just released a summary of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  It will help you see how the funds are used accross all sectors, but for readers of this blog, you will be able to see how science will play a crucial role in the […]

Exploring Science & Technology & and Science Education in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Act

Exploring the landscape of the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Act is an enormous task.  I know the Act was just signed by the President, but I am eager to find out the areas of recovery and reinvestment that pertain to science & technology and science education.  In the U.S. House of Representatives, there are 24 […]

Exploring Science & Technology & and Science Education in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Act

Exploring the landscape of the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Act is an enormous task.  I know the Act was just signed by the President, but I am eager to find out the areas of recovery and reinvestment that pertain to science & technology and science education.  In the U.S. House of Representatives, there are 24 […]

Billions and Billions, Part 2: A Look at Education "Stimulus" Funding

In this weblog post, I am continuing the discussion started yesterday when I invoked Carl Sagan’s signature phrase, “Billions and Billions.”  Today I want to look at the budget that the U.S. Department of Education will have as part of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Firstly, here is a graphic showing how the $115 […]

Billions and Billions, Part 2: A Look at Education “Stimulus” Funding

In this weblog post, I am continuing the discussion started yesterday when I invoked Carl Sagan’s signature phrase, “Billions and Billions.”  Today I want to look at the budget that the U.S. Department of Education will have as part of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Firstly, here is a graphic showing how the $115 […]

Billions and Billions: From Galaxies to Dollars—Funding in Science

In the widely popular PBS program Cosmos, Carl Sagan approximated the numbers of planets, stars and galaxies in the Universe as “billions and billions”—his famous catch phrase.   Over the past several months, American’s have been reintroduced to the phrase “billions and billions,” but this time in the context of the economy, not astronomy.  The […]

Science and the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The US Senate is working on the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment bill, and as of today, it appears that it will be approved in the Senate, perhaps on Tuesday. However, Shawn Otto has been in contact with citizens that are members of the ScienceDebate2008. On Friday, February 6, he informed the membership that it looked […]

Track II Diplomacy and Science Teaching

In yesterday’s post, I used the phrase “track II diplomacy” when I was reporting an interview with Dr. Peter Agre, the new president of the AAAS. It turns out that Dr. Agre agrees with a group of American scientists who wish to talk with North Korean scientists, in a sort of “informal diplomacy,” discussion, and […]

Science Teaching: In search of the answers of questions unknown

There were two articles in the New York Times today that relate to this post about the nature of science teaching. One was an essay entitled by Dennis Overbye, Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy, and the other was an interview with Peter Agre (President of the AAAS & Nobel Winner in Biology, and major contributor to […]

Great Minds in Science Will Meet in the White House in 2009

I’ve returned to from a bit of hiatus and want to start with a discussion of how science might fare in the next Congress, and in the White House. A year and half ago I wrote a post entitled Meeting of the Minds on Global Warming: The US Congress, Al Gore, and John P. Holdren.  It […]

Why we need to re-think NCLB and support a Paradigm Shift

In a recent edweek.org newsletter there was a No Child Left Behind Alert that I found interesting, and provided the starting point for this post.  The forum discussion (a question is posed, and you can submit a response joining you to the discussion) for the day was:  What’s the most important thing President-to-be-Obama could do […]

A New Age for Science and Science Education?

In earlier posts on this Weblog, I introduced readers to ScienceDebate2008, a citizen effort to engage the US presidential candidates in a real debate on science, technology and society.  The debates never happened, but each candidate (science advisors, I suppose) answered the 14 questions that ScienceDebate2008 participants generated.  If you haven’t read the questions and […]

How will science be affected by the Presidential election outcome?

I am writing this hours before we know the result of today’s election for President. Some thoughts about science and science education and how they might be affected by the election of John McCain or Barack Obama. Over the past several months ScienceDebate2008 has not only engaged John McCain and Barack Obama in responding to […]

Human Side of Science: The ScienceDebate 2008 Conference

Last week, ScienceDebate 2008 held a conference at the University of Minnesota.  The conference was the result of a grass roots campaign hoping to engage Barack Obama and John McCain in a real debate on science and technology.  That conference never happened, although each candidate answered 14 questions posed by the ScienceDebate 2008 organizers.  ScienceDebate […]

Vote on the ScienceDebate 2008 Questions

In two recent posts I wrote about ScienceDebate 2008, a grassroots movement to engage the two presidential candidates in debating their views on science, science education and science in society.  I specifically discussed two of the 14 questions, question 4 on science education, and question 12 on scientific integrity. If you recall, each candidate responded […]

Making Important Decisons Based on "Sound" Science

Sound: a: free from error, fallacy, or misapprehension <sound reasoning> b: exhibiting or based on thorough knowledge and experience <sound scholarship> c: legally valid <a sound title> d: logically valid and having true premises e: agreeing with accepted views Science: a: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general […]

Making Important Decisons Based on “Sound” Science

Sound: a: free from error, fallacy, or misapprehension <sound reasoning> b: exhibiting or based on thorough knowledge and experience <sound scholarship> c: legally valid <a sound title> d: logically valid and having true premises e: agreeing with accepted views Science: a: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general […]

Science Scores on International Assessments: The Sky is Falling

In yesterday’s post, I described Science Debate 2008, and efforts to engage the two major candidates for President to answer 14 important questions about science.  The one question that focused on science education was as follows: A comparison of 15-year-olds in 30 wealthy nations found that average science scores among U.S. students ranked 17th, while […]

Presidential Candidates Answer Top 14 Questions on Science

You can find the answers to 14 science questions that were submitted to Barack Obama and John McCain at the  Science Debate website.  Starting in 2007, a small group of individuals began working on the possibility of having a debate between the two candidates focusing on the importance of science in American society.  The original […]

Teaching About Global Warming, or Should It Be “Global Weirding”

People who say “drill-baby-drill” are much like people in the 1980s when personal computers came on the scene saying we need more typewriters and carbon paper (paraphrased from Thomas Friedman–see the video in this post).  The “drill-baby-drill” is a mantra of those who are stuck in the past, with their heads in the sand,  and […]

Teaching About Global Warming, or Should It Be "Global Weirding"

People who say “drill-baby-drill” are much like people in the 1980s when personal computers came on the scene saying we need more typewriters and carbon paper (paraphrased from Thomas Friedman–see the video in this post).  The “drill-baby-drill” is a mantra of those who are stuck in the past, with their heads in the sand,  and […]

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: A Revolutionary Paradigm of Teaching for Energy and Environment

In a democracy, there are differing views on how the government and industry should deal with energy, energy sources, and the environment.  I’ve visited the American Presidency Project, and there you can read the complete platforms of the Democrats and Republicans.  You have to go the Libertarian Party and the Green Party websites to read […]

Scientists Enter the Political Debate

A new organization was launched yesterday Scientists and Engineers for America, dedicated to electing public officials who respect evidence and understand the importance of using scientific and engineering advice in making public policy. The group was organized by scientists and former nobel laureates, and other citizens. According to SEA, “scientists and engineers have a right, […]

Ethanol from Brazil: A Lesson in Science and Social Responsibility

Perhaps one of the important trends over the past 20 years in science teaching has been the “science and social responsibility movement” which resulted in programs that have impacted K-12 schools, not only in the US, but in many countries around the world. The Web made it possible for students in different countries to collaborate […]

Evolution of Kansas?

Tuesday’s vote in the State School Board elections in Kansas resulted in the ouster of the conservative majority which favored putting evolution under review (and only evolution—no other science concepts and ideas need such critical reveiw). According to observers of this election, and the ongoing debate between evolution and intelligent design, this was another major […]

Toto: I Think We ARE in Kansas!

Yes, Kansas is back in the news again regarding the nature of science, evolution, and the Kansas State School Board. Elections for half of the seats on the board are next Tuesday. In a New York Times article, Evolution’s Backers in Kansas Start Counterattack, a contentious election is being played out among the 16 candidates […]

Stem Cell Research Issues

Since the recent bill proposed by the Senate to support embryonic stem cell research through NIH funding, and the subsequent veto by the President, considerable discussion has ensued from each side of the issue. Today’s issue of Time Magazine has as its featured story, Stem Cells: The Hope and the Hype. The article explores the […]

Political and Policy Implications of Science: A Cause for Rewriting Science?

Since late 2004, Dr. James Hanson, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has been prevented from speaking out about the implications of years of research on Global Warming. Hanson, a 30-year veteran NASA scientist, “fell out of favor with the White House” after giving a speech complaining that climate scientists were being muzzled […]

The Decision on Intelligent Design: What did Judge Jones Really Say?

As I indicated in the previous post on this Blog, Judge John Jones, a federal judge (a Republican, and appointed by George W. Bush, in his first term, not only rejected the teaching of intelligent design in science classes, but rebuked the Dover, PA school board, and the perpetuators of Intelligent Design, especially the law […]

Evolution back in court in Georgia!

“Evolution” stickers are back in court, and I am back online. I had been on trip to England. And there in England, on every £10 (pound) note was a picture of Charles Darwin (replacing the other Charles, Charles Dickens). All I could think of was what would happen in the USA if we put Darwin’s […]