Monday, May 17, 2010

To hell with calculus!

The Texas Education Board is largely in the control of Christian evangelists, as you probably learned earlier this year. It's pretty depressing, but even worse than I originally surmised. This from a report on the changes they are implementing:
The board is to vote on a sweeping purge of alleged liberal bias in Texas school textbooks in favour of what [one member] says really matters: a belief in America as a nation chosen by God as a beacon to the world, and free enterprise as the cornerstone of liberty and democracy. (...)

Several changes include sidelining Thomas Jefferson, who favoured separation of church and state, while introducing a new focus on the "significant contributions" of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the civil war.

The new curriculum asserts that "the right to keep and bear arms" is an important element of a democratic society. Study of Sir Isaac Newton is dropped in favour of examining scientific advances through military technology. (...)

The education board has dropped references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous "Atlantic triangular trade" ...
Yeah, no need to discuss Newton. All he did was further our understanding of gravity, optics, classical mechanics, along with the use of calculus, the binomial theorem, and infinite series.

The report about the Texas board focuses on:
Cynthia Dunbar ... [a] conservative Texas lawyer ... [who] two years ago ... published a book, One Nation Under God, in which she argued that the United States was ultimately governed by the scriptures.
As usual with books of this type, the Amazon Customer Reviews distribution is bimodal. In a phenomenon I've not seen before on Amazon with such a distribution, all the one-star reviews are considered "most helpful"; the four-star reviews are not.


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