So in my catching up on old news, I read tonight a blurb about the Texas school board passing an altered standard on evolution.  It is a big deal, financially and ideologically, because Texas approves the same textbooks statewide.  Publishers therefore tend to write for Texas and then market to other states whatever it was Texas wanted.

Now what puzzles me, is that no one seems to notice how comic this is.  How very far from education our nation has moved.

When I teach, I expect every word I say to be tested.  If one of my students misunderstands me, I expect to be held accountable even for the misunderstanding.  I try, therefore, to make sure that whatever I teach can be documented — can be proven to be correct.  If I offer an opinion, I aim to be perfectly clear that is my personal opinion only.  I’ve been known to refuse to give my opinion, when the jury is still out on a topic and I think students will be led astray by my supporting one side or the other.

I expect my students, their parents, and my supervisors to be judging my teaching based on how accurate it is.  I expect them all to doubt me, to go look for themselves. To try to gather evidence against me.  Not out of any malice towards me (that’s another topic), but because they want the truth.  Because what I say can be tested against outside evidence, and ought to be.   I’ve no right to teach any other way.

So here we have the state of Texas, issuing carefully worded statements about what students will and will not be taught concerning evolution.  And textbooks being approved based on their conformity to those standards.

This is education?  A tremendous current of scientific thought reduced to a few simple statements, to be conveyed to the student by thought-police-approved textbooks, for consumption and regurgitation?

Forgive me, but this is very telling.  A high school biology student is somehow unable to read multiple sources and weigh evidence?  Recall these are teenagers, perfectly capable of questioning every assumption and practice of their progenitors, as their parents will readily confirm.  And yet somehow after eight or nine years of education they are unable to read and think and evaluate? At all?

Pardon me, but where are the critical thinking skills our children are supposed to be learning?  That reading ability?  Are they still entirely undeveloped so close to graduation?

And what kind of teacher — what kind of principal, what kind of superintendent — can dare to teach something based not on evidence, or truth, but on the vote of a committee?

When I teach I expect to be tested.  I’ve no right to teach any other way.