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Author Topic: Michele Bachmann quits presidential race following poor showing in Iowa  (Read 5746 times)
ulthar
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« Reply #60 on: January 10, 2012, 11:30:01 PM »


 Now, why their math scores suck so badly, I have no idea . . . . Question



I can address that one.  We've come to call it "monkey chow" education.  The system is BROKEN.  Period.

The current institutional system does not seek to teach refinement of the mind.  It seeks to teach the quickest reward for the least effort.

Couple of anecdotes:

(1) About 15 years ago, I was teaching in a college department and near the end of the school year, we were evaluating two students for receiving our "Outstanding Senior" Award.  The two candidates were (a) a young woman who was there all the time, helped teach classes and labs, tutored underclassman (to the satisfaction of her supervisors) and had high B and low A grades, and (b) a young man who got solid A's but, as one prof put it, "he does all it takes to get his A, then no more."  B also tutored underclassman, but the teacher (me) whose classes he tutored for was VERY dissatisfied with his tutoring effort and results.

I voted against (b).  But, he got the award.  No good reason was given.  All they did was reward his minimal effort.

(2) I'd like to shoot the grade book of the elementary or high school science teacher who coined the term "human error" for student lab reports.  That's mental laziness - tell me WHAT error the human made or shut up about it.  Countless student papers and test responses I received contained drivel like this that required no thought whatsoever and it was all because of "conditioning."  "This is how you write a lab report, and if the answer does not match what I tell you to expect, write 'human error.'"  Eek.

(3) We've been involved with consulting for the major science and math textbook publishers..yes, the big dogs that have the US markets cornered...and both the products they offer and the process they use to produce them is CRAP.  Garbage.

They are moving toward something akin to 'online content' and it is nothing more than glorified NickJR flash games but with fancy 'educational' names.  Now, I'm talking COLLEGE math - algebra, calculus, linear algebra, etc.  They are being taught "point and click the answer  whether you know it or not."

(4) Ever thought about the instructions you are told for standardized tests?  If you solve the problem and don't see your answer, pick the one closest, or some variation of that?  That's not teaching math...that's teaching a test taking trick.

Monkey chow.  Sit and play the game, and when the bell rings, do what we've told you to do.  You'll get your reward - your ration of monkey chow for the day.

Oh man, Indy...can of worms.
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Professor Hathaway:  I noticed you stopped stuttering.
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Professor Hathaway: Up the voltage.

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Flick James
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« Reply #61 on: January 11, 2012, 09:47:52 AM »

Quote
That's what education is supposed to be...exposure ideas and thoughts and opening of minds.  As a Christian, I welcome discussion on/about other faiths, both for myself and my children.

I appreciate that. That wasn't really what I was addressing, however. If we're talking about exposure to religion for it's historical and cultural impact, that's just plain history. Students should learn history, and should certainly know the basics behind the major religions of the world. That wasn't really what I was talking about. I was more addressing Indy's comment about Christian parents wanting their kids to be able to discuss the Bible in class. My question was, why would they need that if they are already exposed to it through their family? The only motivation for discussing the Bible, at least as far as how I believe Indy means it, is to make sure all kids get exposed to Christian principles. If religion were taught as an exposure to the world that would be great, but unfortunately some would use the opportunity to indoctrinate, and that's why people have an issue with it. People jump to conclusions that there's this big cultural Marxist machine trying to eliminate religion from the world. No, it's people and their reactions to situation, many of which are irrational unfortunately, that create these s**tstorms, and then the public reacts in their typical fashion.

My fix to the problem would be to just leave religion out of elementary school altogether (public schools, that is). I don't trust teachers with it anyway. If most people are honest I don't think they trust them with it either, especially with the kinds of people that are being giving teaching licenses these days. I am a college advisor for people wanting to become teachers, believe me, I know. Wait until the kids at least reach middle school, then you can start hitting them with cultural studies that would include exposure to religion. Let their minds mature a little. In high school if they are interested in learning more about religion, I don't have any problem with that, even in the public schools. High schools have electives, don't they?

Despite my dogged defense of the Establishment Clause, I am in equal support of free exercise. I think these issues of prayers at football games or saying Merry Christmas are as ridiculous as you find them. However, the religious right likes to parade isolated events. They like to say that free exercise is not allowed in public schools. Some even go so far as to suggest persecution. Are they serious? Let's ask those millions of Jews and Christians who were fed to lions, burned at stakes, beheaded, etc. for their religious beliefs what they think about this terrible persecution of Christianity going on in America. Good grief. Despite some silly situations that happen, how many people are really being persecuted or restricted from practicing their faith?

Part of the issue here is that Christianity believes firmly in spreading the Gospel, part of the dominionism I was talking about in my earlier post. This is not something I'm making up. This is a real thing. I visited the official site of the Southern Baptist Convention and they had a page dedicated to bemoaning the hostility toward people of faith in public schools. Two of the points on the page were to encourage a resolve to "vigorously and aggressively to seek all means by which they may share the love of God with their fellow students" and "exercising their religious liberties for the furtherance of the Gospel." This is where is starts causing issues and why people get upset. Christians want to indoctrinate. Christian need to indoctrinate. It is part of their belief and obligation to their faith. So what happens is that it's not enough to be able to believe and practice what they believe in without fear of persecution. Instead, they want to be free to indoctrinate in class, because that is part of their faith. If the teacher tries to direct the class back to math, is he/she limiting free exercise then? Do you see any other group in the U.S. other than Christians making a big deal about free exercise in public schools? If there are, I don't hear about them, or at least they are not as loud or dominant as Christians are. It still being the predominant faith in America is a factor, sure, but still. I believe a bigger factor is that most other religions are not as adamant about spreading their faith as part of their belief structure.

It gets complicated and sticky. It doesn't bother me much that fights over these matters take place. That's just Americans being Americans. I have my own version of what crosses the Constitutional line in public schools and other people have theirs. That's why it gets so damned sticky. It's not as simple as "good vs. evil" or "us vs. them."
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Derf
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« Reply #62 on: January 11, 2012, 11:21:09 AM »


Despite my dogged defense of the Establishment Clause, I am in equal support of free exercise. I think these issues of prayers at football games or saying Merry Christmas are as ridiculous as you find them. However, the religious right likes to parade isolated events. They like to say that free exercise is not allowed in public schools. Some even go so far as to suggest persecution. Are they serious? Let's ask those millions of Jews and Christians who were fed to lions, burned at stakes, beheaded, etc. for their religious beliefs what they think about this terrible persecution of Christianity going on in America. Good grief. Despite some silly situations that happen, how many people are really being persecuted or restricted from practicing their faith?

Part of the issue here is that Christianity believes firmly in spreading the Gospel, part of the dominionism I was talking about in my earlier post. This is not something I'm making up. This is a real thing. I visited the official site of the Southern Baptist Convention and they had a page dedicated to bemoaning the hostility toward people of faith in public schools. Two of the points on the page were to encourage a resolve to "vigorously and aggressively to seek all means by which they may share the love of God with their fellow students" and "exercising their religious liberties for the furtherance of the Gospel." This is where is starts causing issues and why people get upset. Christians want to indoctrinate. Christian need to indoctrinate. It is part of their belief and obligation to their faith. So what happens is that it's not enough to be able to believe and practice what they believe in without fear of persecution. Instead, they want to be free to indoctrinate in class, because that is part of their faith. If the teacher tries to direct the class back to math, is he/she limiting free exercise then? Do you see any other group in the U.S. other than Christians making a big deal about free exercise in public schools? If there are, I don't hear about them, or at least they are not as loud or dominant as Christians are. It still being the predominant faith in America is a factor, sure, but still. I believe a bigger factor is that most other religions are not as adamant about spreading their faith as part of their belief structure.

It gets complicated and sticky. It doesn't bother me much that fights over these matters take place. That's just Americans being Americans. I have my own version of what crosses the Constitutional line in public schools and other people have theirs. That's why it gets so damned sticky. It's not as simple as "good vs. evil" or "us vs. them."

You make some good points here, Flick, but I'm not sure I can agree with some of your terminology. I can see why you use the terms "indoctrinate" and "dominionism," but I don't think they are accurate, at least not in my experience. I am (technically, at least) a Southern Baptist. I say technically because, while I do attend a Southern Baptist church and have not found an organized denomination that suits me better, I have no qualms in disagreeing with the stauncher members of the denomination when I feel they are mistaken. In other words, I don't walk any "party lines," but rather I practice my faith as well as I am able based on my own convictions. Now to why I disagree with your terminology: In a nutshell, I think you are using too strong a term with "indoctrinate." Yes, Christians attempt to proselytize. However, it is supposed to be through compassion rather than through forceful persuasion. I am fully aware that some who call themselves Christians are jackasses (okay, a lot of them are) and feel it is okay to pressure people into Faith. Those people might be justifiably accused of attempted indoctrination. But just as the members of Westboro Baptist Church do not represent the true spirit of Christ (whatever they may claim), neither do those who try to pressure others into becoming Christians. I understand that I may be opening an entirely different can of worms with this claim, but I stand by it. As for "dominionism," again, I see why you use the term, but, also again, I see it as too strong a word for what most Christians realistically want. In an ideal world, all people would have similar values and a similar belief system, and, yes, Christians promote their views in order to achieve that end. However, realistically, we know that it isn't going to happen, and that the responses of others are not our responsibility. In other words, yes, Christians dream of a Christian world, but it is not our place to try to force it into being.

On a separate note, you seem to be mixing two issues (I may be wrong on that, but that is what it seems like to me). I agree with you that public schools should not teach religion. At all. There is a difference, however, in students being allowed to talk about religious beliefs with other students while at school. That is free practice. And the Constitution allows that as far as I can tell. However, in practice, school administrators are so paranoid about lawsuits that they restrict free practice in order to placate a vocal minority who seem to simply want to eliminate religion altogether. Neither understand the Constitutional realities, and, as a result, a mild form of persecution results. All sides are basically whining about not getting their way, and no, it doesn't compare to the martyrs for Christendom, but it does still amount to a form of persecution. Another point: That same ignorance concerning the Establishment Clause also often prevents schools from teaching the historical impact of Christianity on our culture in general, which you say you support (as do I). I remember noting back in my high school world history class that Jesus got all of one sentence in the text book. I understand the disputes over the historical Jesus vs. the Jesus of the Church, but either way, the teachings of Jesus pretty much formed Western Culture. I can't think of any one person who has had a greater philosophical, moral and religious impact on the world (okay, Mohamed and Buddha come close, but not in Western Culture), and yet a fear of breaking the Establishment Clause relegates him to a passing mention. I find this highly disturbing, but I am not sure what the solution should be since Jesus is so tied to both history and religion. It would be a fine line to teach the impact of his teachings on the world without also teaching what he said. As you note, it is a sticky problem.

On a final note (and to end my current ramblings), I would point out that Islam is at least as bent on proselytizing as Christianity, and more Muslims are willing to resort to coercion to get the job done. And such coercion seems to be in line with at least some readings of their religion. While similar things have occurred in the history of Christianity, I can at least say with certainty that such methods are not condoned anywhere in the teachings of Jesus.
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Flick James
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« Reply #63 on: January 11, 2012, 11:59:40 AM »

Derf,

I think we may be beginning to split hairs here, but I enjoy the occasional cleaving of follicle-generated dead cell strands, so fine by me.

You have contributed grandly to the last point of my previous post in just how sticky this thing gets.

I will disagree about ďindoctrination.Ē Perhaps the word carries strong connotations to you, but it is a perfectly valid definition that applies to teaching fundamental or rudimentary ideals. Itís not like I said ďbrainwashing.Ē

Look. I am a deist, or, at least that set of beliefs resonates closest with me. I realize that I am a social misfit in that regard. Iís used to it. I also have kids. I realize that they are going to get exposed to religion. Be I in the minority or not, I do not trust teachers to guide discussion or instruction in those matters, but I think we are in agreement with me on that point. As for free exercise, fine. I know that my children are going to run into religious classmates and friends and some of them will attempt to influence them about their faith, just as happened when I went through school many times. This does not bother me in the slightest. If some level of ostracization occurs in public schools, Iím not going to get too upset about it. Iíve lived most of my life being ostracized, and Iím no worse for the wear. Believe me, Iím in full support of school vouchers and parents being able to send their kids to private or religious schools that they normally wouldnít be able to afford if they donít like the way the public schools are run. Hell, I donít like the way theyíre run either. However, Iím not entirely convinced that there is an alarming level of ďpersecutionĒ going on. That sounds rather melodramatic to me.

Whether or not all Christians, or even the majority of them, observe the dominionist obligations of their faith, Iím familiar enough with the Bible and Christian faith to know that it is a very integral part of the belief structure. If indoctrination is too strong a word, I will try to find a gentler one. But you having issue with this perfectly appropriate word is precisely what Iím talking about regarding how sensitive this issue gets. If I canít even use the word ďindoctrinationĒ without it ruffling some feathers, how is a solution even possible? It would seem EVERYBODY has thin skin these days, not just the minority of people that you claim are making the stinks. I know Iím giving you a bit of a hard time about that, but donít take it personal, I do that to everybody, especially if itís Indy.  Wink

Anyway, several posts ago I had intended to make my last post on this topic, and here I am. If thereís one thing Iím guilty of, itís not being able to get enough of a stimulating discussion. To everyboyd, please take that as a compliment.
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« Reply #64 on: January 11, 2012, 12:39:53 PM »

No real feather-ruffling on my part, Flick. I just tend to see "indoctrination" more often used as a synonym for "brainwashing" than in its literal sense. Your clarification is appreciated. And as for who is making the stinks (besides Trevor's underpants), I think it is all sides in the debate; there are no wholly innocent parties. Throwing it all back to the "U.S. education sucks" argument, I think it mostly has to do with poor communication skills. As a (former) teacher of writing and literature, I can attest to the constant lowering of standards in written communication.
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ulthar
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« Reply #65 on: January 11, 2012, 01:16:56 PM »

Jackasses, the lot of ya!   BounceGiggle

(For the humor challenged, that's a joke based on something Derf posted a few posts ago...)

Flick,  I'm perfectly comfortable with the terms indoctrination and brainwashing.  That's all ALL education is.  Let's be honest with ourselves about that.

Where I get rankled on this topic is when I'm accused (not by you, I'm talking outside this discussion) of brainwashing my children when the accuser does the exact same thing.  I can accept that I am indoctrinating or brainwashing them into things like respecting all life on this planet above the love of money as well as things like pray to God to help guide the decisions you make in your life.

What I cannot accept is being somehow singled out for those things because someone else thinks either money is more important than trees (that is, land development is justified on the basis of profit) or God does not exist so prayer is a waste of time.

What the HELL is the difference?

The passing of knowledge, wisdom AND belief is indoctrination.  So, use that term  if you want.

But....there is a problem with extending that concept of indoctrination to perceived notions of what my ACTIONS will be, and I do think that's critical in the issues you have raised.  The Bible might contain the "Great Commission," but how I act on that is what matters.

It does not say "go out and slaughter the non-believers."  The Great Commission might be taken as a 'goal,' but there's a whole heap of verbiage also devoted to how to act toward others.  The Bible commands me to use my mouth to "lift up, not tear down" and yes, words matter.  How then could I justify saying something like "so and so is not as good as me because he does not attend a Christian church?"  Did Jesus EVER say "only love other Christians?"  No, I seem to recall some very specific language about "enemies" and loving "your neighbor" without qualification about who that neighbor is.

No doubt that a lot of Christians do exactly that kind of tearing down.  That does not make it either right or God's intent with the Great Commission.

Further, or maybe this is what I already said, the command is to share "The Good News."  It says make an example of your life.  Is me telling someone about my faith a crime?  Is it wrong for me to share my faith with you or anyone else?  It seems like you are in part putting the burden on me to "shut up about what you believe" just because sometimes (okay, maybe often) 'sharing' is abused.

There was an awful lot about what Jesus taught and how he lived that stands in direct contrast to how Christianity is practiced - historically and today. 

And every word of this pertains to "Separation" and it has been discussed regarding "free practice" in the schools.
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Professor Hathaway:  I noticed you stopped stuttering.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #66 on: January 11, 2012, 06:06:44 PM »

I am just imagining how fun it would be to sit around a table with a large pizza in the middle, a pitcher of cold beverage, and me, Flick, Derf, and Ulthar batting this topic around all day (the rest of you could sit at the next table and listen).  We need to do that at some point.
Till then . . . .


 Cheers

to all of you!
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Flick James
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« Reply #67 on: January 11, 2012, 07:28:29 PM »

I am just imagining how fun it would be to sit around a table with a large pizza in the middle, a pitcher of cold beverage, and me, Flick, Derf, and Ulthar batting this topic around all day (the rest of you could sit at the next table and listen).  We need to do that at some point.
Till then . . . .


 Cheers

to all of you!

Would this include the throwing of pizza toppings and/or beverages at each other? If so, count me in.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #68 on: January 11, 2012, 11:00:06 PM »

I'd rather bombard the folks at the next table, but hey!  I'm easy. BounceGiggle
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"Carpe Ngo Diem!" - Seize the South Vietnamese Dictator!
Mofo Rising
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« Reply #69 on: January 15, 2012, 05:12:34 AM »

Since we're bandying terms like "indoctrination" around...

This has nothing to do with government mandated education, which is a whole different kettle of worms, but my own personal education.

There was this documentary a few years ago called "Jesus Camp." The idea behind the documentary was how atrocious it was that there are people that sent their kids off to a pro-Christian camp every summer. At that camp they spent many hours of every day being exposed to what is called "fundamentalist Christianity," as if that was necessarily a bad thing. The documentary had all sorts of heavy music cues to heavily weight it as creepy. It was feted with rewards.

I don't find the camp creepy at all. Sure, the counselors had a bizarre fascination with politics that rested a bit uneasy, but there is nothing wrong with trying to bring up your kids within you own belief system. It isn't evil, nor is it "indoctrination," it is the natural order of things.

That being said, I went to a Christian summer camp every summer for most of my pre-teen years. It was a normal camp, with a church aspect, we went to chapel every night. I can recall very vividly crying my eyes out when a "fire and brimstone" preacher gave one night's sermon.

Here's the thing, that most affected me when I was eleven or twelve, as it would affect anybody at that age. I moved on from there, and very quickly. The beliefs fostered on me during that period mean nothing to me. Nothing; it has ceased to matter.

Now I'm not saying that those beliefs don't matter, and that there aren't people who have since taken it to heart. Far from it, I'm saying that it matters less than people think.

I'm saying I went from sobbing from fear that my soul might be damned to an eternal sense of doubt about almost everything. "Indoctrination" isn't always what is sounds like. Others may have gone on to a resolute belief, I went on to whatever you would call me. "Indoctrination" doesn't always take.
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