Required Readings

Free community college, NCLB changes, Israeli science books sans ladyparts, Young Skeptics, and more: Required Readings, 1.11.15

Welcome to the “my computer was acting up, so my assignment is late, Professor” edition of Required Readings!

The biggest news in education, in the United States at least, was President Obama’s announcement of a new initiative to make 2 years of tuition-free community college education available to millions of students. But many questions remain unanswered. Required readers, what do you think? Tell us in the comments.

Meanwhile, on the K-12 front, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke today about his priorities for a new federal education law. Among the potential changes is a rewrite of No Child Left Behind’s testing mandate.

Israel is making news regarding textbooks again this week, except now they’re the censors not the censored: Controversy is surrounding the decision by the Education Ministry to ask science textbook publishers to eliminate chapters on human reproduction, pregnancy prevention, and sexually transmitted diseases as well as any reference to the female body. The changes are to be applied in books and teachers’ manuals used in state religious schools, which had traditionally used the same books as secular schools.

As a secular alternative to the Good News Club (a project of the Child Evangelism fellowship that uses after-school recreational activities to proselytize), a number of communities are starting Young Skeptics groups for elementary-age children that feature science, logic, and learning activities.

The good news: The West Virginia state school board passed new science standards. The bad news: The original standards were revised so as to indicate that man-made climate change isn’t scientific fact after all. The really bad news: The changes were so poorly written that the local newspaper had to use sic three times in order to print them. The state science teachers association is not pleased.

Phyllis Schlafly has a rather unique solution to campus rape problem: Don’t admit so many women in the first place.

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Librarienne is a university librarian who sees her professional mission as teaching the masses how to separate the wheat from the chaff in today's expanding universe of information, that everything you read requires a critical eye, and how to properly use apostrophes.

1 Comment

  1. January 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm —

    A positive update to one of today’s Readings…The West Virginia state school board will be revisiting its climate-change-denying science standards: My favorite quote: “Ms. Hessl said she was unimpressed with the argument that the changes in the curriculum introduced balance, which she compared to “bringing someone into the classroom who says smoking is actually good for your health.”

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