Open Letter to Creationists

If you’re a creationist we’re talking to you. Whether you’re a young earth creationist, an old-earth creationist, or one of those sneaky intelligent design types — this is for every one of you.

Well, not quite. There are two groups to whom we’re not speaking. One is the sincere creationists who don’t try to impose their views on anyone outside of their own denominations. We have no quarrel with you. Then there are the genuine imbeciles who mindlessly follow their leaders in their efforts to impose creationism on everyone else. It’s a waste of time talking to you so we won’t — except for a few words at the end of this letter.

All the rest of you, listen up. Pay attention, because your Curmudgeon understands you far better than you understand yourselves.

First, it’s time you recognized that you’re not fooling anyone. Everyone knows that no matter how “scientific” you try to appear, and no matter how much you insist that you want “good” science taught “properly” in the public schools, what you’re promoting is religion. Your supporters certainly know it. They’re not following you because of their concern for science. They don’t know any science and they don’t want to know it. Religion is what they care about, and it’s the only reason they pay attention to you.

Those who oppose you will never be persuaded that you’re got science on your side — because you don’t and it’s obvious that you don’t. Everybody knows what’s going on — everybody! — so stop wasting your time masquerading as scientists. It’s not only stupid, it’s dishonest and contemptible. In your quiet, private moments you know this.

Second, since your principal concern is religion — specifically, slipping religion back into the public schools — you should honestly say so and work to straightforwardly promote your goal. It’s not going to happen if you waste your time nit-picking fossils, babbling about the “controversy” and the alleged “weaknesses” of evolution, complaining how “big science” is unfairly discriminating against you, or claiming that you’ve got evidence for your magic designer. That’s all a nonsensical waste of time. You know it and we know it.

Third, recognize that persuading a few moronic state legislatures to pass “academic freedom” bills isn’t going to get the job done, and you know that too. You need a constitutional amendment to get your stuff into the public schools. Nothing else will do, so get busy and promote it. Yes, it’s an almost insurmountable challenge, but it isn’t impossible. We’re not going to tell you how your amendment should be worded, because we’re not interested in helping you. You’ll figure it out.

Until you succeed at amending the Constitution, you won’t succeed at anything — except making a marginal living by begging for contributions and selling your shabby books and DVDs. Yes, you’ll persuade a few morons that you have scientific evidence for Noah’s flood or that DNA is some kind of mystical magic, but that sort of thing will never get you where you want to go, so quit fooling around and start promoting your amendment. You may or may not succeed, but at least you’ll be out of the closet and facing the world honestly. Wouldn’t you really prefer that to the shady way you conduct yourselves now?

We understand that some of you have another goal — you want to outlaw science altogether and make the whole world over into your image. That’s not going to happen. You’d literally have to kill a lot of people — and lock up many more. Despite your twisted fantasies you don’t have the guts for that. Continue dreaming about it if you like, but give it up as a goal. The best you can do is to pass your amendment and reconquer the public schools. There’s a lot of you, and if you all team up together you may actually have a chance.

So put aside your petty squabbles about the age of the earth and your silly refusal to name the intelligent designer. Admit — to yourselves and to the rest of the world — that you’re all a bunch of unthinking, fanatical creationists. Join together to promote an amendment to allow religion — your religion, of course — to be openly promoted in the public schools. That’s what you want, so stop pretending otherwise.

We certainly hope you fail, but the public schools are so bad anyway that your success won’t change things very much — indeed, it just might hasten the end of public schools altogether, which would be no loss. Private schools — yours and those which you can’t control — will do a better job than we’re doing now. They can’t do worse, and the cost will be a lot less. So bring it on!

In closing, we’d like to say something to the idiots who have faith in their leaders’ lies about science. You people … well, there’s no diplomatic way to say this so we’ll say it straight out: You really don’t matter. You never did and you never will. What we’ve said here is addressed to the charlatans who have been making a living off of you. When they change tactics and promote their amendment, you’ll follow them. You don’t have anywhere else to go, so just go along and don’t worry about it. You’re their cannon-fodder and that’s all you’ll ever be. But you’re happy. That’s what matters, right?

Creationists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your minds!

/s/ The Curmudgeon

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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42 responses to “Open Letter to Creationists

  1. So who is fooling the ~1/2 of the public that is not hopelessly in denial of evolution but who say things like “I hear the the jury’s still out about evolution” or that “I guess something like evolution is true but it’s fair to teach both sides”?

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m very glad that you took the time to note the hopeless disagreements between YECs, OECs and IDers, and how they, especially the latter, know that the evidence does not support them. But why are you asking them to put aside their squabbles about the age of the earth, when they are increasingly doing just that voluntarily? If the evidence means anything – and that’s a central claim of all science – then those squabbles are the furthest thing from “petty.” What we need to do at every opportunity is to publicly encourage them to debate the age of the earth and life, and the extent of common descent. And specifically to show how they run away from that. With every pathetic evasion they will alert more or of that ~1/2 of the public that, not only don’t they have the science, they mostly know it. If you let them keep “debate” on “weaknesses” of “Darwinism” you’re giving them (especially the Discoveroids) just what they want.

  2. Well. ****ing. Said.

  3. NeonNoodle

    Whoa. I wish I was a creationist so I could convert.

  4. Tomato Addict

    (R)amen.

  5. Voice of Reason

    One little issue – do you actually have any evidence at all that eliminating public schools will be better and cheaper? The avialable evidence suggests otherwise.

  6. Very nice. I would argue that public schools could be vastly improved but not done away with completely. I work for the government and see a lot of waste myself. I can’t imagine what it is like for public schools.

  7. Our curmudgeon is certainly curmudgeoning in style today. In the US this is looked upon as a Constitutional issue; I of course look on it rather differently. We have no legal objection to these jokers but if one tried to gain entry to most of our state or private schools he would soon be shown the door; not because of his religion but because of his bad science.

    I think you all make a mistake in saying that it is OK in a private school or in a church; if it is bad science, it is bad everywhere. The same goes for teaching it at home. Just because the taxpayer is not paying does not make it right.

  8. Alan(UK) says: “I think you all make a mistake in saying that it is OK in a private school or in a church; if it is bad science, it is bad everywhere.”

    You’re correct, in the sense that creationism is flat-out goofy. But the point is that it’s not illegal to teach such things at home or in church, nor should it be. That’s really what I’m focused on.

  9. Lately I have been considering issues regarding parenting, probably sparked by hearing or reading somewhere the contention that children do not “belong” to their parents. Needless to say, parents have the obligation to care for their kids, but I find forcing ideology – or to use my most despised phrase, “family values” – at the expense of a child’s autonomy troubling (BTW there now exists a specialization in psychotherapy dealing with religious trauma). We are well aware that children can indeed be taken from egregiously bad parents, but my concern carries this notion further. Apropos to this blog, what about parents who harm their children’s chances for future success? I know that we can make some natural selection comments here, but do parents have the right to hinder their children by making them into their own images; a basic symptom of narcissism and much more malignant than the trite Hollywood version that is usually trotted out to illustrate narcissism in society?

    I haven’t researched home schooling, but my hunch is that for the most part, the impetus to home school is to control the information that children receive, not to provide superior intellectual stimulation and learning. How could most parents even do that, especially for the upper grades?

    All but masochistic women object to being considered chattel, but I”m seeing that is how children often are treated. Does anyone else feel that there is more controlling (or attempts at) going on all around us than ever before?

  10. @Donna
    Home schooling is what you make of it, or rather what you can make of it. My son was home schooled without any religious influance and did very well. He even scored high on his SATs. It does require more disipline than public schools, but you can make the schedule whatever you need and devote more time to subjects they find difficult. However, both his grandparents are/were public school teachers and principals and there education helped a lot. It was also the case that where he lived at the time the public schools had some gang problems and the only private schools he could have attended were catholic.

  11. Maybe I should have had my son write my comment. At least the spelling and grammer would be correct.

  12. Voice of Reason asks: “One little issue – do you actually have any evidence at all that eliminating public schools will be better and cheaper? The avialable evidence suggests otherwise.”

    There’s no shortage of information. For example, The Real Cost Of Public Schools. And that’s in the Washington Post. Just ask yourself: How could a tax-financed, unionized, bureaucratized operation possibly be cheaper than a private school?

  13. Bullhorns trump biology, Dear Curmudgeon. And persiflage is their way of distancing the facts. I read today that a Bachmann supporter uses a stegasaurus painting in a Cambodian temple to prove that man walked with prehistoric beasts. When challenged, this mental giant saunters behind a wall of money and laughs it up with her, knowing that they can and shall continue to make inroads.

    I do not mean to be so presumptuous on this thread, but I’ve read the Panda’s Thumb comment section for at least a year, and the same nonsense seems entrenched in the ones who argue creationism as if screaming into a jet engine. They’re not so easy defeated. Your open letter might play into their persecution complex.

  14. johnpieret

    We’re not going to tell you how your amendment should be worded, because we’re not interested in helping you.

    Unfortunately, it simple enough even for them:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  15. Yeah, johnpieret, that’ll do it. But the first 5 words shouldn’t be deleted.

  16. Public school is a wonderful ideal for the express reason that it offers the privilege of education to all kids, including the many whose parents who would literally be burdened by the task and couldn’t decide intelligently on educational issues if they had to. I don’t think it’s broken here in the US, but definately needs to be shined up. As we are painfully aware, one of the problems is the use of the public school as a platform for charlatans to push a self-serving idealogical agenda – yeah, they’re just another kind of pusher (and, this could very well occur in private schools, too via loud, demanding parents and boards of directors instead of public officials).

    Using schools, such as by infiltrating school boards, these manipulators kill two birds with one stone. If they get their way, they will eventually indocrinate kids through the school system but, during the process of infiltration, they are able through various ways to indoctrinate the parents and other adults Thus they have seen to it that their message affects present and future. One way to stop it is to hold them personally accountable for poor standards ratings, poor academic performance, wasting funds, etc. Too bad that in Dover the $1,000,000 in fees wasn’t divided among the perpetrators instead of the district. Losing SB elections amounts to nothing in relation to the damage they do – that doesn’t punish irresponsible behavior. In fact, I’m sure damage and disruption is part of their overall plan precisely since there is no piper to pay.

  17. Donna said: “Losing SB elections amounts to nothing in relation to the damage they do – that doesn’t punish irresponsible behavior.”

    I recall one idiotic school board that wanted to teach creationism and were advised against it by their lawyer. They were crazed enough to go ahead anyway, but their insurance company told them that if they didn’t follow their lawyer’s advice they wouldn’t pay the costs of the eventual litigation. The board dropped their plans.

  18. @Paul S
    “Maybe I should have had my son write my comment. At least the spelling and grammer would be correct.”

    I take it, then, that someone other than yourself schooled your son.

    I qualified my post by stating that I have not researched the subject; my opinion is based on an extrapolation of what I have observed in my own experience. You have explained your reasons for why your son was homeschooled and, since they fall outside the parameters of my criticism of home schooling, they do not apply to you.

  19. The Curmudgeon says: Just ask yourself: How could a tax-financed, unionized, bureaucratized operation possibly be cheaper than a private school?

    I admit it is not a fair comparison but consider the provision of health care: our tax-financed, unionized, bureaucratized operation is cheaper than your system which seems to be burdened with bureaucracy problems of its own.

    Would a private school system be a cheaper option? Would it not still have to be tax financed – minimum wage will not go far towards the children’s education unless you want to educate them for minimum wage jobs. Why should the unions go away? I suspect that such a system would become dominated by large companies that would provide text books, set examinations, and above all would buy the politicians who channel the money into the company coffers.

  20. @SC
    Ha Ha; just as I suspected, idealogy has a price ceiling.

    Actually, money is the litmus test for true fanatic vs trve fanatic. I think I read about that school board in an older post. I’ve been reading back through some essays to get up to snuff; doing my homework, so to speak.

    Regarding today’s post: Yes, we’ve def been thinking along same lines. I always think “motive”. However, I don’t think destroying science is the ultimate motive of the leaders* and I’m wondering what they anticipate for themselves after they’ve anhiliated the US economy by that destruction. A silly, cliche “Rising up out of the ashes…” fantasy?

    *Leaders – I wonder if there is an agreed formal hierarchy or just alot of secret self-aggrandizement?

  21. Jack Hogan

    In general their objective is not to convince and influence adults, though Behe’s molecular level criticism of evolution has influenced some otherwise intelligent educated people. Their primary objective is to influence children who do not yet know anything, which is why almost all of their efforts are aimed directly at public schools.

    However, as you point out, everyone knows it is really all about religion no matter what they say. When their “critical analysis” and “academic freedom” nonsense eventually gets shot down in the courts they may have no other options left but a Constitutional amendment, which will not get anywhere. The majority of believers in the country like separation of church and state and do not want a religious faction or sect using the government to promote and proselytize religious views they may not agree with, especially when it is directed at their children in public schools.

  22. Spector567

    Curmudgeon. Do you consider your public school system un-fixable? I say this because, from what I have read about the American School system it is very different than the one I have.
    As much as I agree with some of your complaints about the system I don’t think it’s a good solution for America. Already as a country you are overall politically polarized. Add in a cradle to grave mentality and things will only get worse.
    There is also the hidden values of publicly funded schooling that would be missed. (lower crime rates, increased opportunity in the lower class)

  23. “You’re correct, in the sense that creationism is flat-out goofy. But the point is that it’s not illegal to teach such things at home or in church, nor should it be. That’s really what I’m focused on.”

    Why shouldn’t it be illegal? When ‘taught’ to children it’s child abuse. They can’t just walk away. They are a captive audience, and in many cases the ‘teaching’ is accompanied by physical abuse/punishments. Abuse is abuse, whether it’s in private or in public.

  24. Spector567 asks: “Do you consider your public school system un-fixable?”

    In theory, no. In practice, yes.

  25. Donna said: “Does anyone else feel that there is more controlling (or attempts at) going on all around us than ever before?”

    Yes, and not only in forcing “family values” on children. Religious zealots have been forcing or trying to force their so-called “values” into everyone else’s life for as long as there have been religious beliefs. There are numerous laws that make it illegal for consenting adults to do things that many consenting adults want to do and are perfectly harmless to everyone else. Those laws were (and are) conjured up and enacted by uptight religious authoritarians who want to dictate and control the behavior, thoughts, and desires of all other people.

    For instance, why should godbots have anything to say about legally dictating and controlling a person’s private sex life, or who a person can marry, or whether an adult can look at adult porn in private, or whether women can breastfeed in public, or whether an adult can pay another adult for sex, or whether a person can say four letter words in private or in public, and all the other things the god zombies want to outlaw or have outlawed? Religious wackos want to outlaw or have already outlawed things that occur between consenting adults, or are done by fully fledged adults who should be able to make their own decisions about those things.

    The god pushers want to dictate and control what is ‘taught’ in public schools. The minds they ruin in private religious schools, in churches, and in religious home schooling obviously aren’t enough to satisfy their desire for world domination. The thumpers want to force (by law or other means) their religious dogma into the ‘private’ minds and lives of all children, whether the children or their parents like it or not. To me, that is abusive and invasive. No one, and especially children, should be forced to sit in a classroom (or anywhere else) and listen to fairy tale religious crap and be told that they must study and learn it, will be tested on it, and will be graded on it just like with all the other subjects, and especially when that religious crap carries with it the threat of eternal damnation and other punishments if you don’t believe in it and promote it.

  26. Best post ever, Curmudgey. Reminds me of when I was a creationist. I just didn’t want to open my eyes and see.

  27. retiredsciguy

    Curmy, your comments concerning the public schools are perpetuating the same propaganda that was used by the Indiana politicians to push through their voucher system that gives tax money to parochial schools.

    Yes, some public schools are bad. But then, public schools don’t get to choose their clientele. If 80% of the school-age “children” in a school district are thugs, you will have a hard time educating anyone in those schools. However, inner-city schools are not the only schools in the public education system.

    Have you observed in any of your local schools? I don’t recall your ever mentioning having school-age children, but if you do, have you been directly involved in developing a parent-teacher relationship? Whether you have children or not, have you been attending school board meetings and voicing your opinion? Or better yet, running for a position on the school board?

    Moreover, what are the alternatives? Do we do away with requiring universal education? If not, only the rich will be able to send their children to private schools. Who will pay the tuition for the children whose families can’t afford it?

    Do we grant vouchers to all students, to use at any private school they wish to attend? That would just make all the private schools de facto public schools. And of course constitutionally, those “private” schools could not teach religion (this is the challenge before the Indiana Supreme Court now). The state would probably also require the schools to accept all who apply.

    The private & parochial schools in the US seem to be more successful than the public schools, but they are not educating the same students, so it’s comparing apples to oranges.

    Private schools:
    1) Choose their clientele.
    2) Have students who have parents who have a deep concern for their education.
    3) Can permanently expel disruptive students.
    4) Can attract top-notch teachers, because they will have so few disciplinary problems.
    5) Have entire classrooms filled with nothing but motivated students.

    With all these advantages, it’s no wonder that private schools seem to do so much better than public schools. Too bad all students can’t afford to attend them.

    We need public schools. Doing away with them does away with universal education. Just chanting “They’re so bad, they can’t be fixed” over and over does nothing to solve the problem. We are an intelligent public. Let’s put are minds together to improve the schools — all schools, not just the public schools.

  28. retiredsciguy says:

    Moreover, what are the alternatives? Do we do away with requiring universal education? If not, only the rich will be able to send their children to private schools.

    The US didn’t have compulsory, tax-financed public schools until starting around the 1840s, but somehow this country seemed to function. Anyway, I recognize that universal literacy is beneficial — although it doesn’t do much good for the dropouts, druggies, and such.

    If it were up to me, I’d attempt a few reforms. There would still be dropouts and druggies, but the system would be better for the rest: (1) fix the union system so incompetent teachers can be fired, and fired quickly. (2) Make it easier to expel problem kids. (3) Take a meat-ax to the administrative side of the system and maybe eliminate half of the employees — to start with. I’m thinking of the regional coordinator of this and the assistant administrator of that, etc.

  29. My wife is a teacher, at the elementary level (a job I would not do for twice her salary). Her observation is that schools vary quite a bit based on the student population, the age of the school, the way the principle manages the teaching staff, the involvement of the parents / PTA, etc. Some public schools are quite good, others not so much.

    Our focus should be on improving the system. I agree that the administration can grow over time like any bureaucracy, so consolidation of small districts into larger ones could eliminate redundant positions and perhaps realize cost savings. Competitively outsourcing maintenance and other non-core services might help. Agreements could be reached with unions to deal with sub-par teachers, and more effective ways of measuring teacher performance could be developed. Certainly we could find more creative ways of handling disruptive students, such as in-school suspensions. The list goes on.

    I believe public schools provide an important social benefit as well. In addition to providing a uniform education for the citizenry, public schools are the place where most of us first met and befriended people of other races and economic levels and so on. We become “socialized” to dealing with different kinds of people having different ideas. Public schools provide opportunities for sports, arts, music, and other activities that engage kids and have a community impact. Since they draw from a geographic area, typically, schools become a means for people in the community to get to know each other, either as students or as parents with kids in the schools.

  30. Tomato Addict

    We got by until the 1840’s, but surely public funded schooling was initiated to fill a need (like an educated workforce for an increasingly industrial economy). Since 1840 the need for education, and the amount of material that needs to be taught, has only increased.
    Looks like Ed beat me to some other comments, so I’ll leave it at that.

  31. docbill1351

    Late to the party as usual.

    As for public school staff, schools are much more complicated than they were in the 60’s. Our middle school has an IT department. Department! To keep the network running and updated along with all the equipment. Three middle schools are in a pilot program to replace ALL BOOKS with iPads that contain the same and superior information content. The “same” would be “Tale of Two Cities” and “superior” would be an interactive weather module that lets you monitor weather conditions in your location and examine past trends. Also, there are interactive physics modules that let you perform “experiments” on your iPad, then repeat them in the lab with pulleys and weights.

    (And we have nincompoops on the State Board of Education who still want 4th graders to memorize multiplication tables. Why? Because that’s the way it was done in the Good Old Days.)

    Second, I don’t recall where I read this, maybe in a history of science class, but there was a point in time when a literate person with access to a large library could “know” all the knowledge there was to know. Sometime in the 1600’s I think. Everything known in one spot. Those days are long gone. Even in my day doing my PhD work at which time I was the World’s Leading Expert on my little strip of knowledge, that strip was only a nanometer wide or much less in relation to what was known at the time in general.

    The insidious thing about creationists is they want to stop all this and dwell on their sacred texts. I guess they think that “other” people will keep the world going. But, imagine in todays world how quickly a population could fall behind if they paused to gaze at their collective navels. Think Tibet. Nice place. Never been there. Wouldn’t mind. But I’d rather explore the universe than sit on a wooden bench and chant “Om” for the rest of my life.

  32. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams

    Oh, Curmy. Please consider this an open invitation to visit the public school district where I teach, where 40% of our students are on the free/reduced lunch program and our state school board has a history of evowarring yet our kids still manage to succeed.

    Ed said most of what I wanted to convey – except that when you slam public schools, by extension you’re denigrating what I’ve dedicated my professional life to doing: getting the best science possible to *every* kid.

    Greatly saddened to learn you’re part of the demolish-the-public-schools crowd.

  33. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams says: “Greatly saddened to learn you’re part of the demolish-the-public-schools crowd.”

    I’m not a demolitionist. If they’re working, then okay. If they’re not — and many aren’t — then fix ‘em.

  34. @Ed
    I don’t think incorporating smaller districts into larger ones is a good solution. It may help the bottom line in some aspects, but like many large businesses, once the smaller company has been enveloped, it no longer has any of the qualities that made it desirable in the first place. Large school districts have large bureaucracies. I would rather see much smaller districts that can focus on the specific needs of the students rather than worrying about uniformity across a large district.

  35. Spector567

    Curmudgen. I think we can all agree with much of what you are saying. However, there is one major thing that I’m surprised is absent from your list. The school board elections and the level of power they have. Your school system is incredibly open to ideological abuse on so many levels. Take the recent Texas school board elections for instance. The curriculum is being chosen and assigned by political and religious ideologues who often have no background in education and there age and financial situation has removed them far from the average school attendee or parent. They are effectively politicians with a much lower level of accountability and a bigger axe to grind. They would be more interested in getting re-elected than actual results. Eg. Building sports stadiums vs. improving grades. I was frankly shocked to see that candidates for a school board were split into political parties.

  36. retiredsciguy

    Looks like you’ve stirred up much passion, Curmy. For the record, I agree with everyone commenting after my comment, even the seemingly contradictory points made by Ed and Paul S regarding consolidation. Like most things, consolidation can have plusses and minuses, but that’s a side point.

    Yes, there are problems with some public schools. But you are using too broad a brush when you tar the “public school system”. There is no “public school system”, therefore, any fixes have to be one school district at a time, or even one school at a time.

    Some suggestions — hire a good district superintendent, not some political hack or buddy of the school board president. A good superintendent will see to the hiring of good principals, who in turn will see that good teachers are hired in the first place, and will make sure that they are doing their jobs.
    If you hire good teachers, you don’t have to worry so much about getting rid of bad teachers. Still, even with unions, it is possible to remove bad teachers. It just takes a good principal to do it.

    Having been a jr. high/middle school teacher for 27 years, I worked under one bad principal, one so-so, two ok, and one truly outstanding principal. Luckily, he was there the longest. I can say from experience that the principal is the key.

    There is no central control of all public education; therefore, no quick fix. It will take the will of the public in each district to fix their own problems. The national PTA is a unifying body that is working toward that end.

  37. Tomato Addict

    RSG“Looks like you’ve stirred up much passion … ”

    Clearly this is a pot that needs stirring. I nominate this one for the “Best” list.

  38. Voice of Reason

    @docbill1351 – what you suggest (replacing learning and books with the newest technology) has been tried again and again, and always fails. The problem is that we don’t learn that way. The human brain does not just have a thinking process, onto which we attach facts. Things like learning multiplication tables have been shown to actually develop the synaptic connections in the brain (exercise, if you will). Students who don’t do so have a much harder time in higher-level mathematics courses, from Algebra onwards.

    @curmudgeon – it is telling that the article which you referenced discussed the DC system, known as one of the most expensive public school systems in the country. The average is less than 40% of the figure given. See http://www2.census.gov/govs/school/07f33pub.pdf

    On the issue of performance, tests such as the ACT and SAT show public schools consistently beating private ones, as a whole. For the past few years, homeschool scores have been even higher, BUT

    The homeschool scores are less than the public school average in Minnesota.
    While about 50% of public school students take the ACT, only about 5% of home-schooled students do. I would suggest that they are not the average of the latter group.
    The homeschool scores only exceed the public school ones in the verbal score, not the analytical.

    I have my own problems with the US system, including excessive worries about social development, grade inflation, and putting all of the pressure and blame on teachers. If anything, these are more pronounced in private schools, who can’t afford to flunk students.

    As a parting shot, what percentage of the scientists that you tout and admire went through public education, either here or elsewhere? Too many of the richer students want their only path to be business, law, or medicine.

  39. Mark Joseph

    @Steve:

    “Best post ever, Curmudgey.”

    Agreed.

    “Reminds me of when I was a creationist. I just didn’t want to open my eyes and see.”

    I was worse; I didn’t even know that I could (or was allowed to) open my eyes and see.

  40. docbill1351

    VoR – perhaps you missed the part where all the printed books were replaced with a device that looks like a book that actually contains all the printed books, plus the replacements for traditional printed text books that can talk, run simulations, etc. See you in 1950, VoR, the rest of us are moving on.

    As for multiplication, it has been demonstrated that kids learn the concepts faster starting out with a calculator. Also, our high school required advanced TI graphing calculators for geometry, algebra 1 & 2 and calculus. Maybe your school used TRS-80’s, VoR.

    Finally, 100% of scientists I tout and admire went through public education, namely, me.

  41. Voice of Reason

    @docbill1351 – Sorry, 1950 is too early for me. However, I couldn’t afford the calculators of the time, so went through undergraduate and 2 years of graduate school using a sliderule, and programming on machines like PDP-11’s.

    Now, in terms of using technology to teach mathematics, we have run experiments on our campus for decades, including using symbolic algebra software. The short answer is that it doesn’t work. The number sense of students is becoming worse, which then translates in extreme difficulty in algebra and trignometry, and failure in calculus.

    Finally, the idea of electronic books would seem to be a no-brainer. However, two of the most successful systems in the world (Germany and South Korea) have moved back from these to paper books, based on student performance.

    As I said earlier, it looks good, but doesn’t correspond to the way that we actually work.

  42. retiredsciguy

    “As I said earlier, it looks good, but doesn’t correspond to the way that we actually work.”

    I’d suspect the kids find the games on the iPads to be way more fun than the texts.