Sunday, September 26, 2010

U.S. Education Secretary Vows to Make American Children 'Good Environmental Citizens'

20% of American students graduate High Schools functionally illiterate and Dunc thinks that there is time for this propaganda? I guess it will make the kids scientifically illiterate too, so Dunc is at least consistent.

A good comment on the Fascist/Communist echoes in Dunc's plan here. Hitler was a Greenie too, of course

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan vowed on Tuesday that his department would work to make American children into "good environmental citizens" through federally subsidized school programs beginning as early as kindergarten that teach children about climate change and prepare them "to contribute to the workforce through green jobs."

“Right now, in the second decade of the 21st century, preparing our children to be good environmental citizens is some of the most important work any of us can do. It’s work that will serve future generations--and quite literally sustain our world,” Duncan said at the Education Department’s "Sustainability Education Summit: Citizenship and Pathways for a Green Economy."

“This week’s sustainability summit represents the first time that the Department is taking a taking a leadership role in the work of educating the next generation of green citizens and preparing them to contribute to the workforce through green jobs,” said Duncan. “President Obama has made clean, renewable energy a priority because, as he says, it’s the best way to 'truly transform our economy, to protect our security, and save our planet.'

“Educators have a central role in this. A well educated citizen knows that we must not act in this generation in ways that endanger the next,” said Duncan. “They teach students about how the climate is changing. They explain the science behind climate change and how we can change our daily practices to help save the planet. They have a role in preparing students for jobs in the green economy.”

“Historically," Duncan said, "the Department of Education hasn’t been doing enough to drive the sustainability movement, and today, I promise that we will be a committed partner in the national effort to build a more environmentally literate and responsible society." "I want my department to help advance the sustainability movement through education," he said.

Duncan explained that the funding for this environmental education will come through a new initiative of the Department of Education called the "Blueprint for Reform."

"The president has proposed $265 million for this program in his fiscal 2011 budget," said Duncan. "These grants will support subjects such as the arts, foreign languages, history, and civics--all of which receive funding under current Education Department programs. Because we recognize the importance education plays in the sustainability movement, these grants also will support environmental education."

Duncan said that his department's "Blueprint for Reform" envisions environmental education being incorporated into so-called "STEM" classes ("science, technology, engineering and mathematics") for students as young as kindergarten.

"These projects have the prospect to build the science of sustainability into the curriculum, starting in kindergarten and extending until the students graduate high school," said Duncan.


Texas education board OKs resolution against 'pro-Islamic bias' in textbooks

The State Board of Education on Friday narrowly approved a resolution that instructs textbook publishers to counter a "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias" that proponents say is pervasive in world history books. The resolution, which passed on a 7-6 vote, calls for a "balanced treatment of religious groups in textbooks" and cites examples of perceived bias in textbooks used before 2003.

Balance, however, appears to be in the eye of the beholder. Board member Ken Mercer , R-San Antonio, said the objective of the resolution "should be that we want the world religions treated with accuracy and balance."

But board member Bob Craig , R-Lubbock, argued that the resolution, with its references to "gross pro-Islamic/anti-Christian distortions," failed to achieve that objective. An alternative resolution offered by Craig carried the same message about equal treatment of different faiths, he said, "without attacking one religion over another." "It is very clear to the publishers where we're headed and what we want," Craig said.

Mercer and six other members, however, sank that alternative measure and several other attempts to delay or scuttle the adoption of the resolution.

Questions about the accuracy of the evidence used to justify the resolution were initially rebuffed. But an hour after approval, board members learned that a reference in the resolution to "Middle Easterners buy(ing) into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly" was not accurate. They voted to remove the reference and then reapproved the revised measure on a 7-5 vote.

The practical effect of the resolution is unclear. Social studies textbooks will probably not be adopted and bought until 2016 because of the state's budget crunch. Also, the resolution is not binding and reflects the opinions of the board members — opinions that could change with time and elections. "This is a cosmetic exercise," said board member Mavis Knight , D-Dallas.

But other board members say the resolution sends an important message to textbook publishers. Board member Terri Leo , R-Spring, said Christianity has been denigrated in past textbooks, citing the evidence in the resolution, and said the problems continue in the current books.

But those problems cannot be addressed in the resolution because of a board rule that limits when a resolution can be considered regarding textbooks in use. "We've seen it done in the past, as with the books cited in the resolution," Leo said. "What we're trying to do is prohibit and send a clear message to the publishers that it should not happen in the future."

Imam Islam Mossaad of the North Austin Muslim Community Center said the board resolution has generated a lot of heat and debate over recent weeks, but it is not representative of how Muslims here are treated by their Christian and Jewish neighbors. "This is so far away from ... the vibe that I get," Mossaad said. "We have differences, but we're still neighbors."


Each teaching post 'chased by 17 applicants'

Desperation for jobs in Scotland

There were more than 75,000 applications for just 4,520 teacher jobs in Scotland. Every teaching vacancy in Scotland is being chased by an average of 17 applicants, according to official figures. The competition for the posts varied from 49 for each job in Stirling to three per vacancy in Shetland.

The Liberal Democrats, who obtained the details through freedom of information requests, said the figures showed teachers' talents were "being wasted". Education Secretary Michael Russell said the numbers were "a concern".

In total, 75,579 applications were made for 4,520 vacancies in 2009-10 - an average of about 17 for each position. The average number of applications per job included 14 in Aberdeenshire, 21 in Dundee, 27 in Edinburgh and six in Glasgow.

Lib Dem education spokeswoman Margaret Smith said the figures "will be deeply concerning for teachers". She added: "The SNP said they would maintain the record number of teachers they inherited from the previous executive but teacher numbers are down by 3,000.

"Scotland's young people are also missing out on the opportunity to learn from newly-trained, enthusiastic teachers who have a wealth of talent and skill, being wasted as they struggle to find jobs."

Education Secretary Michael Russell said: "The difficulties faced by teachers looking for a post is a concern. "Scotland is already unique in guaranteeing a year's employment after graduation from initial teacher education, but we want to do more and we are examining ways we can provide further help.

"While recent figures show that teacher unemployment is lower in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, we are still working hard to address the issue and have cut student intake, which will reduce competition for jobs."


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