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Science Teaching. What's wrong with it?


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#18 Turtle

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 02:02 PM

was it here, or elswhere, that i saw/heard mention of how the publishing industry in Texas, with all the political/religious/Southern-conservative baggage attached, is hampering good science textbooks getting into schools? anyway, there, it is said again. :turtle: can't find that exact bit, but found this that may be of interest: >> Textbook Publishing:The Political and Economic Influences

#19 Pyrotex

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 02:36 PM

was it here, or elswhere, that i saw/heard mention of how the publishing industry in Texas... is hampering good science textbooks ...[/url]

You may have heard it from me, maybe.
The legislature in Austin, TX, "selects" folks to be on the state textbook committee. It's supposed to be fair and balanced, but time after time, the selectees wind up being associated with right-wing organizations, fundementalist churches, creationism groups, etc, etc, etc. It's a bitter fight to get even 2 or 3 secular, science-minded folks on that board. And even then, there have been times when folks like Behe (one of the top creationists around) are invited down to Austin to speak. I.e., use up the microphone time.

Now, this is strange to many folks, because it is a STATE committee with the purpose of choosing science books for the STATE public schools. And suddenly, these out-of-staters are coming in and packing the agenda! :shrug: :turtle: ;)

There are rumors that some big bucks exchange hands to get the "right" people on the state textbook committee. From various blogs I've read, the whole thing is a circus, and is as corrupt as any Chicago Alcohol License agency ever was.
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#20 Turtle

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 04:00 PM

You may have heard it from me, maybe. ...


if you run across your posting(s) i'd like to read it/them. i'm now worrying down the cloudy idea it may have been on Bill Moyers i heard about this??? or maybe that Steven Broncochio(sp) guy on PBS?? :embarassed: damn selective memory of mine!!! :hyper: anyway, i also seem to recall that the sales of these religio/socio/politicioly twisted science texts for schools produced in Texas have a large market share in all states (most, more than not? :shrug: ) and not just Texas.
mmm...well...i uh... i can't think of any thing more but strings of swear words so will give this a close.

Best Regards,
:ohdear:

#21 stereologist

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:17 PM

The influence of large buyers is seen in many industries. The affect on textbooks is particularly well documented. I've heard about this issue at least for 30 years. I'm sure this has been going on longer than that. I've seen it discussed on 60 Minutes, been on the radio, and in the newspapers. Lately I recall that some of the requested changes to textbooks dealt with human sexuality and evolution.

#22 Pyrotex

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 12:48 PM

Yup, Stereo & Turtle,
centibillions of dollars are at stake in the National Texas Public School Textbook Competition, Melee and Circus Bake Sale.
Whatever books get chosen in Texas, wind up selected for most of the other 49 states.
The publishers are big enablers of this bad habit for they would rather print bagoodles of ONE science textbook rather than one textbook for EACH of the 50 states.
The "centralized" decision point in Austin, Texas, makes a perfect breeding ground for fundementalists, creationists, and other bacteria.

#23 stereologist

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 05:27 PM

Lots of things in the good old US of A work that. It amounts to a breakdown in the 1 person 1 vote concept. That's what lobbyists, super delegates, party bosses, big bucks etc do.

Just as interesting to watch are the groups that remove pages, add labels, and so forth to edit the books.
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#24 lemit

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 04:10 PM

The legislature in Austin, TX, "selects" folks to be on the state textbook committee. It's supposed to be fair and balanced, but time after time, the selectees wind up being associated with right-wing organizations, fundementalist churches, creationism groups, etc, etc, etc. It's a bitter fight to get even 2 or 3 secular, science-minded folks on that board. And even then, there have been times when folks like Behe (one of the top creationists around) are invited down to Austin to speak. I.e., use up the microphone time.

Now, this is strange to many folks, because it is a STATE committee with the purpose of choosing science books for the STATE public schools. And suddenly, these out-of-staters are coming in and packing the agenda! ;) :rolleyes: :hihi:

Sounds fair and balanced to me, or at least in the way I've seen that term used on television lately.

Also, I think those out-of-staters may just be retribution: Coloradans invading Texas.

--lemit

#25 TheBigDog

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 04:44 PM

You may have heard it from me, maybe.
The legislature in Austin, TX, "selects" folks to be on the state textbook committee. It's supposed to be fair and balanced, but time after time, the selectees wind up being associated with right-wing organizations, fundementalist churches, creationism groups, etc, etc, etc. It's a bitter fight to get even 2 or 3 secular, science-minded folks on that board. And even then, there have been times when folks like Behe (one of the top creationists around) are invited down to Austin to speak. I.e., use up the microphone time.

Now, this is strange to many folks, because it is a STATE committee with the purpose of choosing science books for the STATE public schools. And suddenly, these out-of-staters are coming in and packing the agenda! ;) :rolleyes: :hihi:

There are rumors that some big bucks exchange hands to get the "right" people on the state textbook committee. From various blogs I've read, the whole thing is a circus, and is as corrupt as any Chicago Alcohol License agency ever was.

I am shocked. Utterly shocked. A government picked committee that gets loaded with politically motivated members driving specific agendas? A pubic hearing packed with political activists? What next, allowing people of diverse cultural background to strive to make their government align with their own values?

I jest of course. I find the outrage amusing. This is how the process is designed to work. Excluding those with opposing beliefs is not the answer to finding common ground. Obviously there is concern when the dissemination of legitimate science is hijacked by spiritual mumbo-jumbo. How would you improve the process as it stands?

Bill

#26 lemit

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 03:40 AM

I am shocked. Utterly shocked. A government picked committee that gets loaded with politically motivated members driving specific agendas? A pubic hearing packed with political activists? What next, allowing people of diverse cultural background to strive to make their government align with their own values?

I jest of course. I find the outrage amusing. This is how the process is designed to work. Excluding those with opposing beliefs is not the answer to finding common ground. Obviously there is concern when the dissemination of legitimate science is hijacked by spiritual mumbo-jumbo. How would you improve the process as it stands?

Bill


Educators, with lifetime appointments?

That's a real question, or at least a fragment of a real question. At any rate, it isn't a proposal so much as an opening for a debate.

--lemit
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#27 Getting A Life

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 01:27 PM

I am sitting yr 12/13 simultaneously. The textbooks we use have a few deliberate (corporate driven) errors, obvious to me as a well read adult, not obvious at all to classmates around 20 yrs. All of them point to corporate interests.

eg: All saturated fats are bad (sell me more of that GE soy and corn oil)
Ecosystem can only support 5 levels of consumer (I can find that many levels under the soil, but ferts would look bad if we acknowledged all that life down there is part of the picture)
Haber process is mankind's greatest boon (in which the rich get hoards to sit on and the starving still starve, while whole countries undergo desertification as their soil biology is dead)
Statin drugs are good for lowering cholesterol (they are but the side effects are many, why not the cheaper alternative of niacin, fat restriction and soluble fibre!!?)
etc... etc...

Not only are the religious right a danger to science, corporate interests are as bad or worse. Often you have a combination of the two in the States and other western countries get some of your textbooks. Corporate involvement in diet and medicines are causing an upswell of anti-science sentiment, and it is growing. But they pay the bills.

I think hard science is getting harder to get funding for and one has to be really smart, but talking through a (worm) hole has become very lucrative and much easier to do.

#28 HydrogenBond

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 10:20 AM

One of the drives in science is to create more scientists for the needs of the high tech future. Like any marketing strategy, this will involve using subjectivity. In the past, most of science teaching revolved around the classics of science building the most solid foundation. But that can get a little dry and will not attract the most students. To help with recruitment, science from the best seller list is also being added, since fads create more excitement. Many of these best sellers, will not reach the level of classic science (for the ages), but it does attract more students.

One of the problems with this is, it can impact the ability of students to reason beyond the targeted subjectivity contained in the best seller. For example, a huge asteroid once hit the earth destroying much of life. But the earth being resilient, started again. Now one of the best sellers are plastic bottles, which can do what an asteroid never could, destroy the earth. If we taught only logic, one would see this is not logically sound, with the word destroyed, subjective. To suggest otherwise, will create an emotional reaction due to the subjectivity added to science. But science recruitment is up, even if the ability to reason beyond the subjective box is being softened. But once in industry, we only need to work within a specialty box, where the ability of reason needs to be targeted, with the employees not wandering too far.