Thursday, February 23, 2012

Education reform, AZ style

While the rest of the country if worrying about education in an academic sense, Arizona lawmakers are going after partisan extremist educators in an effort to remove are partisanship from the classroom.

Thanks to Glenn Beck and his not-quite-really-but-definitely-is-biased news website, we have this little article to better understand the law being passed through the state legislature.

The law states that teachers can be fired for expressing partisan viewpoints in the classroom. However, the language of the bill leaves the definition of "partisan" open to interpretation. The examples quoted in the article are things like "teaching the controversy" of evolution, and discussing the "doubts" about global warming. In other words, the bill is designed to push a radical right-wing interpretation of science and social issues by casting doubt on issues that are pretty well accepted in the science community as fact.

But again, the language of the bill does not stop at just science. It could be used to fire teachers for offering certain "partisan" books or videos to their class, for promoting "partisan" math concepts, or delivering a "partisan" lesson about any given subject. And who is going to decide whether something is considered partisan? The school district, apparently. That means that the school district can make a determination about any teacher and any curriculum they want. They have complete control over the partisan nature of the curriculum in their schools. That means they could label any talk about evolution as being "partisan," any talk about global warming being "partisan", and they could ignore discussions on things like creationism, intelligent design, etc. State and federal standards of education no longer apply because the school boards will be able to limit what is discussed based on partisan affiliation.

This bill is likely to have far-reaching consequences for education in Arizona, should it pass. It will mean immunity from federal mandates on education, it could mean the hyper-politicization of education, and could create the atmosphere of indoctrination it's supporters claim they're trying to stop.

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