Well, readers, I think we can agree on one thing, and that is that high school was awful. If you’re the sort of person who really enjoyed their glory days, screw you. My date to the junior prom left with another girl and I was one of like 7 brown kids in Edmond. You can’t make me relive that crap ever. But for the kids these days, high school is about to get a little bit worse because there’s a Republican state representative who doesn’t really want them to learn anymore.
In the grand tradition of stupid things our elected representatives have proposed, students could very well start making A’s on papers they write about Jesus riding a raptor. From MotherJones.com:
Gus Blackwell, the Republican state representative who introduced the bill, insists that his legislation has nothing to do with religion; it simply encourages scientific exploration. “I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks,” says Blackwell, who previously spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. “A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations.”
Stated another way, students could make untestable, faith-based claims in science classes without fear of receiving a poor mark.
HB 1674 is the latest in an ongoing series of “academic freedom” bills aimed at watering down the teaching of science on highly charged topics. Instead of requiring that teachers and textbooks include creationism—see the bill proposed by Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin—HB 1674’scrafters say it merely encourages teachers and students to question, as the bill puts it, the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of topics that “cause controversy,” including “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”
Real talk, readers: I’m a nerd. I’m not working on my second master’s degree because I want to give thousands of dollars to a university every year. For me, school has always been a safe haven. Even though I’m a super nerd and will never look like Beyoncé, I’m good at school. And in high school, the fact that I was always in the top of my classes was validation that I couldn’t get anywhere else. And I think it’s a load of crap that someone could potentially get the same sort of validation for spewing the sort of noise that belongs in a home school lesson taught by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.
But this got me to thinking. Why not rewrite all the textbooks? There are controversies in every subject that need to be corrected. Climate change and evolution aren’t the only things that offend. We probably need a textbook that officially declares what the Founding Fathers were thinking when they wrote the Constitution, or a copy of Catcher in the Rye where Holden decides in the end to be a good little boy and go back to school and love his family and not worry so much about things. Honestly, I don’t see a reason to stop revising when something is found to be incongruent with deeply held beliefs. Otherwise, our kids might grow up to think for themselves, which is dangerous.
But here’s the bottom line, really. How much more can we cripple our schools before all the publicly educated kids in the state of Oklahoma become knuckle dragging mouth breathers who possess the logic and reasoning skills of a cat chasing a laser pointer? I find it interesting that when it comes to funding, we can’t throw our schools or teachers a bone. But when it comes to rewriting textbooks and passing legislation drafted by non-educators, our representatives are all about it.
I guess there is a bright side, though. If this bill passes, the new textbooks will align perfectly with the science curriculum at Oklahoma Baptist University.