Mystery Education Theater 3000

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 8)

Neutrality about Evolution

Former science director’s suit against TEA dismissed

Comer was put on 30 days of paid administrative leave shortly after she forwarded an e-mail in October 2007 announcing a presentation that was being given by Barbara Forrest, author of “Creationism’s Trojan Horse,” which says creationist politics are behind a movement to include intelligent design theory in public school curricula. Comer sent the e-mail to several science educators and two science education e-mail lists, with the note “FYI.”

In this story I found via an @educationweek tweet, an employee of the Texas Education Agency has her lawsuit dismissed for reinstatement after violating the TEA’s “neutrality” policy. First of all, intelligent design, creationism, and even saying there are doubts about “evolution,” may or may not be true or Truth, but it’s not biology or science and has no place in a curriculum labeled as biology. Science is not about Truth, but about theories that have survived so far for explaining things.

If all Ms. Comer were saying is something like creationism is not science, then I think she would be fine. There is no question of neutrality in this case — it’s just a fact about a curriculum matter or close enought to a fact. Where she crossed the line was in linking to an event that impugned the motives for the creationism people (however justified). Because this involved actual advocacy, we can say that neutrality was violated in this case.

A Friend for School Gardens

Many people don’t realize that our District Engineering Officer, Bill Savidge, is a gardening enthusiast himself. He actually has a blog that has been dormant since the end of the last growing season, but will presumably bloom again. It’s at

Farmer Bill’s Berkeley Garden via kwout

While Bill is not pushing gardens at schools nor can he guarantee any financial support, he is a sympathetic ear for people who are working on school gardening projects. And, that certainly can’t hurt.

Mentors to Sustain New PTAs

A couple of weeks ago, as part of the Contra Costa County, California (32d District) PTA, I helped Downer Elementary School  in San Pablo, CA in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) start a PTA. They didn’t have the same turnout of support as Meadow Homes (see this entry), but there is certainly enough support to get started. I’m sure Lisa Ramirez as their President, the principal Marco Gonzalez, and the parent coordinator Gloria Orozco will provide a good backbone, but I still worry about the sustainability of new PTAs.

That’s why I was heartened when Chris Slamon, a parent who I don’t always see eye-to-eye with, approached me with the idea of being a mentor to a fledgling PTA. I was very pleased by her offer. There is certainly a PTA hierarchy to provide support to PTA, but having someone whose only job is to help your particular PTA is even more helpful for supplementing this support. Chris has worked a variety of PTA jobs and is still a parent in the district, so she makes up one class.

There are also many people out there who don’t have kids anymore in K-12, have a lot of experience in PTAing, and have a desire to help out some way — but don’t want to take on an official PTA position. I know they’re out there, because they came out in droves when WCCUSD banned the PTA for a few weeks. The problem is tapping into this pool.

A Little Thing about Reading

Well, I thought this was an interesting item about reading itself.


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