Celebrating Black History Month, Stupidly

Read this embarrassing article:

http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/black-history-month-inspired-school-lunch-menu-cau/ndGPD/
Black History Month inspired school lunch menu causes outcry

menuNoelle Walker and KTVU.com

CONCORD, Calif. —

A student effort to come up with a special menu for Black History Month backfired at Carondelet High School in Concord.

Interim President, Sister Ann Bernard, said students who were members of the Black Student Union club at neighboring De La Salle High School planned a special lunch to celebrate the month.  The menu included fried chicken, corn bread and watermelon.

“They thought this was a very clever way, in their own way, of celebrating Black History Month. It was as simple, and naive as that,” Sister Bernard explained.

On Thursday Bernard publicly apologized for the event she said was planned without following procedures to get staff approval.

“It was the parents who thought, rightfully so, we were being insensitive to African American culture, which is not who we are or what we profess,” Bernard said, shaking her head.

The first staff or administration heard of the proposed menu was when it was announced over the loudspeaker Monday morning.

“Most people were laughing, but they were laughing nervously because they knew it wasn’t right,” said sophomore, Dom Carpenello.

While Carpenello admitted the menu sounded tasty, she admitted, “The menu really doesn’t have anything to do with black history.”

The chief curator at Oakland’s African American Museum and Library, Rick Moss, agreed.

“I guess there’s an impression that all black people eat this kind of food, which of course is false,” Moss said.

He said the menu came from a place of ignorance about what Black History Month means, but says the reaction to the students’ misstep was also wrong.

“So this is wonderful opportunity to actually inform people, not something to react to,” Moss said.

Carondelet High School is using the incident as a “teachable moment,” Sister Bernard said there will be teacher sensitivity training and a student assembly this month.

“There’s education needed on every single level, not just for students, but also for faculty and staff,” she said.

As for the menu, Bernard said, “I can assure you that fried chicken and the rest of it is not part of it.”

I cannot believe the sheer ignorance being displayed here! This issue is about misrepresenting the culture of an entire race. Fried chicken, corn bread. and watermelon are not and have never been “black” foods, but were among the cheap foods served to the enslaved ancestors of most African-Americans by slaveowners. It would be like showing pictures of Nazi concentration camps as part of celebrating Jewish History Month!

For more details on the incredible stupidity of it all, read this:

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/02/07/fried-chicken-lunch-black-history-month-really/

Women shouldn’t teach at Christian schools, round three!

Not again!!!!

http://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/women-shouldnt-teach-at-christian-schools/

http://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/women-shouldnt-teach-at-christian-schools-round-2/

And now……

http://www.inquisitr.com/550024/pregnant-woman-fired-for-premarital-sex/

A pregnant woman was fired for premarital sex, according to a lawsuit she filed that claims wrongful termination.

The woman, Teri James, was a teacher at San Diego Christian College when she was called into her supervisor’s office in October.

Her supervisor got straight to the point when she asked if James was pregnant, reports TODAY. James, unmarried at the time, confirmed the news.

The admission was a violation of the school’s rules, according to the lawsuit filed by James in San Diego County superior court. She explained in the lawsuit that the termination letter included:

“Teri engaged in activity outside the scope of the Handbook and Community Covenant that does not build up the college’s mission.”

James added that her then-fiance was offered a job by the school, even though they knew he engaged in premarital sex. James added of the meeting where she was fired:

“I had to leave right after the meeting. I had to go into the office with all of my co-workers and say I’m leaving. I never came back so I don’t know what my co-workers thought, but for me, it was humiliating.”

ABC Local notes that Teri James isn’t suing to get her job back. Instead, she is suing for damages because of wrongful termination and invasion of privacy.

The school’s community covenant states that Biblical character is highly valued and desire. It also states that the school frowns on sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex, though it doesn’t say what the consequence would be for a violation. Teri James added of her termination:

“San Diego Christian College did not show any mercy or grace towards me, and acted completely un-Christ-like. They made more of a business decision than showing God’s love.”

James’ attorney, Gloria Allred, added that the college, while a Christian school, still has to “comply with the laws of the state of California.” This means they cannot discriminate against an employee based on gender, marital status, or pregnancy.

Do you think the college was right to fire Teri James for having premarital sex?

Even Jesus was quoted as saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Clearly, those Christian schools and their “Biblical” values are a load of crap!

Women shouldn’t teach at Christian schools, round 2

First, look at this:

http://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/women-shouldnt-teach-at-christian-schools/

Are all Christian schools this bigoted? Appearantly!

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/former-coach-fired-christian-school-wedlock-pregnancy-145601399.html#

Former coach of the year fired from Christian school for out-of-wedlock pregnancy

In an incredibly bizarre situation that appears headed for a legal challenge, a Dallas-area volleyball coach and science teacher was fired by the Christian school at which she worked for becoming pregnant before being married.

As first reported by Dallas Fort Worth network WFAA, Rockwall (Texas) Heritage Christian Academy volleyball coach and science teacher Cathy Samford was fired during the fall semester after she became pregnant out of wedlock. Samford had led the volleyball program for three years and had been named the school’s coach of the year once during that span.

Still, that couldn’t help save her job when she first admitted her pregnancy during the fall semester, with the school terminating her based on a  violation of her contract’s morals clause because it was determined her pregnancy meant she could not serve as “a Christian role model.”

“I looked it up and thought, ‘They can’t do this,'” the 29-year-old Samford told WFAA. “We all have different views and interpretations. It’s not necessarily the Christian thing to do to throw somebody aside because of those.”

While Samford and her lawyer, Colin Walsh, are working toward filing a discrimination suit against the school, their case may be complicated by the fact that Heritage Christian Academy is a private school, and recent Supreme Court decisions have defended the right of Christian schools to exert more influence on their hirings and firings because they consider teachers to be “ministers in the classroom.”

“The Supreme Court, as a matter of fact in the last month, has ruled 9-to-0 that a Christian school does have that right, because this is a ministry, so we have the right to have standards of conduct,” Heritage Christian Academy headmaster Dr. Ron Taylor, who acknowledged that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had contacted the school, told WFAA. “How’s it going to look to a little fourth-grade girl that sees she’s pregnant and she’s not married?”

 

While the two parties attempted mediation, those efforts failed quickly because the school refused to consider a settlement for the case.

That has left Samford uninsured and in financial distress as she heads towards giving birth, a situation she never considered possible when she was a proud member of Heritage Christian Academy’s faculty.

Would it have been better if this teacher and coach had chosen abortion to hide that she was ever pregnant? According to traditional Christian morals, isn’t having an abortion even worse than having the baby out of wedlock? And have any men been fired for getting a woman pregnant out of wedlock? I’ve never heard of that happening!

This is why I will never teach at or send any children I have to such a school….most of them seem to be run by sexist hypocrites! This is not about enforcing morals, this is about a school trying to save money by denying an insurance claim, something you would expect only from corrupt private businesses! And even if having a baby out of wedlock is considered immoral, the BABY should not be punished for her parents’ mistakes!

Grades in school should be eliminated

It has occurred to me that giving letter grades to students in school is a form of rating some better than others that has nothing to do with whether they are successful or not. If the lowest passing grade is a D-, then a student who gets that grade will still pass, just as much as one who gets an A+. So why bother with such grades at all?

I would propose instead that all students be allowed only TWO levels of achievement: P (pass) or F (fail) and that in order to pass, they must score at least 90% on all tests in a certain subject. That’s right; the grade you end up with will be the LOWEST score you make on a test in a six week period. So if you score an 89 on one test, you still fail for that whole period. At the end of a school year, if you fail in a single six week period, you fail the entire course.

Another reform I would make would be to stop graduating students from high school after they complete 12th grade. Instead, I think the various levels in school should be:

Elementary school:  Level I through Level V (I’m using Roman numerals for the various levels),

Middle school:  Level VI though X,

High school: Level XI though Level XV.

with “college” or “university” levels eliminated because they will be integrated with the high school levels.

For example, in math, basic arithmetic could be Levels I and II, algebra could be Level III or IV, and calculus could be Level X or XI. Similar designations would be made for other subjects.

A student who fails a level would be forced in the next year to retake the course(s) he failed, without exception. Thus if he was at Level II, he would remain at that level until he passes all his Level II courses. Thus, there might be children well past puberty that would still be in elementary school. Students who have finished elementary school but not yet reached middle school may leave school, though their job prospects would be limited. The same is true for students that have finished middle school but not yet reached high school.

ROTE LEARNING MUST BE BANNED! Instead, children of all ages should be expected to express creativity and critical thinking by writing the answers to their tests in essay form, not merely marking “true” or “false” to a question or answering a multiple choice question in which it is possible to get the right answer by accident or by cheating! By causing children to take controversial positions and defend them before their peers, they may soon learn that many things they assumed were absolutely true from their parents and others are not necessarily so.

The New Atheists step up their campaign against the NCSE and the BCSE

This is the direct sequel to:

http://dalehusband.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/atheists-shrieking-about-the-aaas/

Once again, P Z Myers and Jerry Coyne have decided to push for the elimination of all mentioning of religion in scientific organizations, including the NCSE (National Center for Science Education, the American organization defending evolution) and the BCSE (British Centre for Science Education, the version of the NCSE in the United Kingdom).

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/a-bright-spot-at-the-chronicle-and-an-open-letter/

Open letter to the NCSE and BCSE
Dear comrades:

Although we may diverge in our philosophies and actions toward religion, we share a common goal: the promulgation of good science education in Britain and America—indeed, throughout the world.  Many of us, like myself and Richard Dawkins, spend a lot of time teaching evolution to the general public.  There’s little doubt, in fact, that Dawkins is the preeminent teacher of evolution in the world. He has not only turned many people on to modern evolutionary biology, but has converted many evolution-deniers (most of them religious) to evolution-accepters.

Nevertheless, your employees, present and former, have chosen to spend much of their time battling not creationists, but evolutionists who happen to be atheists.  This apparently comes from your idea that if evolutionists also espouse atheism, it will hurt the cause of science education and turn people away from evolution.  I think this is misguided for several reasons, including a complete lack of evidence that your idea is true, but also your apparent failure to recognize that creationism is a symptom of religion (and not just fundamentalist religion), and will be with us until faith disappears. That is one reason—and, given the pernicious effect of religion, a minor one—for the fact that we choose to fight on both fronts.

The official policy of your organizations—certainly of the NCSE—is apparently to cozy up to religion.  You have “faith projects,” you constantly tell us to shut up about religion, and you even espouse a kind of theology which claims that faith and science are compatible.  Clearly you are going to continue with these activities, for you’ve done nothing to change them in the face of criticism.  And your employees, past and present, will continue to heap invective on New Atheists and tar people like Richard Dawkins with undeserved opprobrium.

We will continue to answer the misguided attacks by people like Josh Rosenau, Roger Stanyard, and Nick Matzke so long as they keep mounting those attacks.  I don’t expect them to abate, but I’d like your organizations to recognize this: you have lost many allies, including some prominent ones, in your attacks on atheism.  And I doubt that those attacks have converted many Christians or Muslims to the cause of evolution.  This is a shame, because we all recognize that the NCSE has done some great things in the past and, I hope, will—like the new BCSE—continue do great things in the future.

There is a double irony in this situation.  First, your repeated and strong accusations that, by criticizing religion, atheists are alienating our pro-evolution allies (liberal Christians), has precisely the same alienating effect on your allies: scientists who are atheists.  Second, your assertion that only you have the requisite communication skills to promote evolution is belied by the observation that you have, by your own ham-handed communications, alienated many people who are on the side of good science and evolution.  You have lost your natural allies.  And this is not just speculation, for those allies were us, and we’re telling you so.

Sincerely,
Jerry Coyne

Let’s look at some excerpts from this open letter:

There’s little doubt, in fact, that Dawkins is the preeminent teacher of evolution in the world. He has not only turned many people on to modern evolutionary biology, but has converted many evolution-deniers (most of them religious) to evolution-accepters.

Note that Coyne does not specify that Dawkins has converted all these former evolution-deniers into atheists.

Nevertheless, your employees, present and former, have chosen to spend much of their time battling not creationists, but evolutionists who happen to be atheists.

How so? By not openly supporting atheism?

you have lost many allies, including some prominent ones, in your attacks on atheism.

HA HA HA HA HA HA! So not affirming atheism is the same as attacking it? REALLY?! Show me ONE official statement by the NCSE or the BCSE that attacks or denies atheism. Just one!

your repeated and strong accusations that, by criticizing religion, atheists are alienating our pro-evolution allies (liberal Christians), has precisely the same alienating effect on your allies: scientists who are atheists.

Coyne, you are alienated only because you are so convinced that only atheism is true. But that has nothing to do with teaching science. The fact remains that many children from Christian backgrounds will be learning evolution in schools and if they see a conflict between evolution and the Bible, they will remain Creationists rather than give up their faith and accept evolution. The efforts at accommodation by the NCSE and the BCSE are intended to show that you can choose to be religious and deal with science as it is also. It is YOU that is being intolerant, Coyne! It is YOU that choose to be alienated. You can still advocate atheism on your blog while promoting evolution too. No one in the NCSE or the BCSE is saying you cannot.  So what is the problem?

Then P Z says on his blog:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/04/the_bcse_blows_up.php

How often do we have to repeat ourselves? There is no goal of turning the NCSE or the BCSE into an atheist organization; we think having an organization that is honestly neutral on the religious issue is extremely useful in advancing the cause of good science education for all. We want the NCSE/BCSE to support neither atheism nor religion.

You know what? The atheists in this argument have a crystal-clear understanding of the difference between atheism and secularism, and are saying that the science education organizations should be secular. It’s these sloppy accommodationists who have allowed liberal christianity to become their default position who have violated the distinction.

First, no one is asking Myers and other atheists to repeat themselves, so that is just rhetorical crap. Second, the NCSE has made clear its own religious neutrality.

http://ncse.com/about/faq

What is NCSE’s religious position?

None. The National Center for Science Education is not affiliated with any religious organization or belief. We and our members enthusiastically support the right of every individual to hold, practice, and advocate their beliefs, religious or non-religious. Our members range from devout practitioners of several religions to atheists, with many shades of belief in between. What unites them is a conviction that science and the scientific method, and not any particular religious belief, should determine science curriculum. (Emphasis mine)

Sorry, but until atheists become the vast majority of American and British people, the screaming about accommodation by atheists is pointless. I just don’t accept it. If the atheists wish to have all science organizations never mention religions or treat any religious people with respect again,  they can push for that. And once they get their way, the political support for scientific organizations will most likely dry up.  And the only ones who gain from that would be Creationists. The atheist fanatics are giving them exactly the talking points they need to fight longer and harder the public relations war over science education!

Please support both the NCSE and the BCSE. Here are their websites:

http://ncse.com/

http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/

No Fun with Dick and Jane

See Johnny read. Johnny reads about Dick and Jane. Read, read, read Johnny. Boring, boring book. Johnny hates to read. Johnny can’t read the newspaper yet.

Seriously, the people who created and published the classic Dick and Jane Readers of the 20th Century should have been banned from working in any school or publishing company! I wonder how many young minds were ruined by those idiots!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_and_Jane

I am a champion of phonics, and hope we never repeat the mistakes made in dumbing down our education via a long discredited method of teaching reading. Rudolf Flesch is one of my heros.

Attacking homophobia and bullying in the Fort Worth City Council

Having lived in the Fort Worth area all my life, I was never prouder of that than I was when I saw this video on YouTube. For the people of Texas, there is hope for greater enlightenment as long as people like Joel Burns and myself are around!

Such courage may cause him to be voted out of office, but it may also lead to a revolution. Let us keep up the pressure to stop the hate, the violence and the ignorance.

I’ll add this much older voice to Mr Burns’ as well:

Because bigotry is evil no matter where it comes from, and even if religion or social standards support it.

A damning statement about public schools

Occationally I find a statement by someone so stunning in its brilliance, yet so obvious, that I feel the need to spread it around. Such as this:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/08/i_am_the_wrong_person_to_answe.php#comment-2702235

Posted by: skeptifem Author Profile Page | August 3, 2010 10:28 PM   #9

Public school isn’t meant to genuinely educate. It never will. They dole out skills that increase the value of the lowest rung of workers. That is the purpose of it. Having customers and workers who can read and do basic math is something that power structures need, so we have it.

The current cirriculum in schools does not prepare students for huge portions of living, perpetuating privilege and disadvantage. People come out of school knowing nothing about how to go further than HS, medicine, the law, economics, and history. Children are taught obedience and discouraged from thinking critically. The liklihood of a state institution portraying the state honestly (which is to say, in a negative light) is unlikely. So it isn’t as though everyone who grew up in public school isn’t pumped full of ridiculous lies in the same way the homeschoolers are, it is just a different set of lies.
Real knowledge and the ability to think critically is kept to classes of people who are conditioned for obedience. The number and variety of meaningless hoops a person typically has to jump through in order to make it far in education weeds out radical people. Even on the K-12 level, people are branded “behavior problems” (of course there are genuine ones as well), or put into “slow” or “advanced” groups based on what people should know by a certain age, as if minds don’t vary wildly in that respect. It divides em, often along race/class/sex lines. It teaches learning is a chore (that takes place between 7 and 3), and you learn what other people say, and that you unwind by doing a bunch of non thinking by buying products or staring at screens all day. It kills the motivation to learn. Children don’t see the past or future of the world they are in, shut in with only people their own age except for authority figures.

SO yeah, I unschool. I don’t see the supremacy of public school at all. Crappy homeschools literally move school into homes- that is what creationist homeschoolers do in spades. School would have to be radically rethought for me to approve, and they have been before. Voluntary skill swaps, anarchist free schools from the early 1900s, that I would approve of in a school. As is public school is a crock of shit.

I must note that I was brought up in public schools, even in college. I guess I was lucky I learned to think as critically as I do. But I am not against public schools. But P Z Myers, who wrote the blog entry skeptifem was commenting on, said at the beginning:

I am not a fan of homeschooling; in fact, if I had my way, I’d make it illegal.

I am glad that P Z is not a dictator over us, then. Not all homeschoolers are religious fundamentalists. That’s an urban myth we need to stamp out.

There are indeed secular homeschoolers. Here are some of their websites:

http://www.secularhomeschool.com/

http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/

http://www.secularhomeschoolers.net/

http://www.atheistview.com/secular_homeschool.htm

There are also Unitarian Universalists who homeschool:

http://www.uuhomeschool.org/

Public schools may provide a valuble service, but no one should rely on them exclusively to educate their children. Parents and other adults also have a responsibility to be teachers, now and forever. Let it be so.

The stupidity of “Life After People”

The History Channel is showing a series titled “Life After People”. It is the sequel to a two hour special that was broadcast on the same channel last year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_After_People

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_After_People:_The_Series

The assumption in all versions of this show is that humans disappear SUDDENLY, by some completely unknown and unexplained process, leaving all man-made structures to slowly decay and become overrun by wildlife and plants. Some Protestants claim a simular event will occur, called the Rapture, but it will only involve them, not humanity as a whole. Quite simply, this idea is completely unscientific and irrational.

Here’s another version of the same concept:

http://images.thetimes.co.uk/TGD/picture/0,,351113,00.jpg

Let’s face it: While it may be fun to speculate what might happen to man-made structures after we are gone, it is pointless to do so while avoiding the real issue of what might cause humans to go extinct. Why are we so afraid to actually discuss this? It is a process that will take at least 100 years, involve massive death and suffering, and may be preventable. The History Channel is being profoundly irresponsible and cowardly NOT to discuss this in detail.

Besides, its not even history, is it?

Honorary degrees should be ILLEGAL!

And here is why:

This happened on May 25, 2007. The man being booed and condemned by the graduating seniors of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst was Andrew Card, the former White House Chief of Staff under Bush Jr. He took no classes to earn that degree, it was just given to him. He was a major player and promoter of the Iraq War that Bush Jr started.

Such a man getting an honorary degree sends the wrong message: that you can lie to the American people to start a war for shoddy purposes, send thousands of Americans to their deaths in that war, and still be rewarded for that insanity.

An explanation for the awarding of that honorary degree was given here:

http://thesciencepundit.blogspot.com/2007/05/hooray-for-umass-grads.html

Will said…
No, no — the board of trustees awards the honorary degrees. The trustees are political appointees, mostly selected by the recently departed Mitt Romney. They’re about as far removed as possible from sentiment in the “ivory towers” of UMass.

Indeed, that is reason enough to ban the practice of honorary degrees altogether! Politics should have NO bearing on such a thing! Only academic achievement!

Science needs a new superhero

Carl Sagan died in 1996, yet he still lives in the hearts of those who knew him, whether personally or as the public celebrity he became.

Now the time has come for science to move on and find a new superhero, someone who can command both the public respect that Sagan did and challenge society for the better. Although Sagan was an agnostic who championed skepticism, he did not come across as openly hostile towards all religion, as Richard Dawkins does. Such hostility, even if justified, can turn gentle souls away from science. So who can possibly succeed Carl Sagan? Who can be the champion of reason, rationality, and tolerance for all?

I will. And so can you. And you, you, you, you and you, if only you just care to be as dedicated to science and to the welfare to humanity as Sagan was. I have championed the philosophy of Honorable Skepticism as my tribute to Sagan. But the best way to honor him is not merely to keep playing his COSMOS series and talking about what he did, but to make our own contributions to science, to EXCEED Sagan’s work, to become superheros of science ourselves. We are not expected merely to blindly follow what Sagan taught, for he was by no means infallible. Because he was human as we, we can carry his vision forward, and we will do it by eliminating the concept of “sacred cows” and seeking change to improve our societies, regardless of what short-term and localized interests get stepped on. They deserve it! And we cannot afford to appease those interests anymore. Having a global and long-term perspective is what will save us, not any religion or political ideology.

Do NOT beat your kids!

The saying “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is a tragic misunderstanding of a passage of the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 13:24). The rod referred to that used by shepherds in ancient times to guide sheep to go in a certain direction, but NOT to ever BEAT them! Beating children with anything should be considered abuse, because adults are stronger than children. Therefore, the only thing kids can learn from being beaten is that bullying is acceptable and thus they can get ahead by bulling weaker and smaller people!

Why science education must be naturalistic

One of Creationists’ most serious objections to how science is taught to students in most public schools is that all supernatural explanations (miracles) are rejected out of hand, and this somehow limits the vision of scientists. But the truth is actually the opposite. To explain why, consider this scenario:

Supernatural explanation:

Child: Daddy, what causes lighting and thunder?

Father: God sends lightning bolts and thunder blasts to frighten people into submitting to His will.

Scientific explanation:

Child: Daddy, what causes lighting and thunder?

Father: Lightning is caused by unequal electric charges between two clouds or between a cloud and the ground causing a massive discharge of electricity. Thunder results from lightning heating the air and causing it to expand suddenly, producing powerful sound waves.

OK, Creationists, would you want BOTH these explanations taught in science classrooms regarding how weather occurs? Well that’s about as silly as requiring any form of Creationism taught alongside evolution! There is no evidence whatsoever that God directly causes lighting or thunder, and indeed such an idea might lead to the assumption that anyone struck by lighting was being punished by God. This is “magical thinking” which, if it had not been questioned centuries ago, would have prevented research into finding ways for people to avoid lighting by understanding how it behaves. Thus, any supernatural explanation, one that totally ignores or negates the known laws of physics and chemistry, would be no explanation at all, but merely an argument without evidence. And that is exactly why Creationism can never be scientific, but evolution is. Evolution is consistent with all known scientific laws, it is based on physical evidence, and it leads to more research. Acceptance of Creationism, or even the assumptions that allow for Creationism to be considered credible, would bring scientific advancement on almost any subject to a grinding halt, because you could then simply dismiss any unusual or complex phenomenon by saying “God did it, I believe that, so it’s settled”.

Therefore, there is no place for the supernatural in science education.