5:27 p.m. EDT, Tue August 25, 2009
By Sally Holland
ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) -- American children aren't necessarily getting smarter or dumber, but that might not be good enough to compete globally, according to numbers cited Tuesday by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
The National Center for Education Statistics found U.S. students placed below average in math and science.
He noted a special analysis put out last week by the National Center for Education Statistics that compares 15-year-old U.S. students with students from other countries in the Organization for Economic Development.
It found the U.S. students placed below average in math and science. In math, U.S. high schoolers were in the bottom quarter of the countries that participated, trailing countries including Finland, China and Estonia.
According to the report, the U.S. math scores were not measurably different in 2006 from the previous scores in 2003. But while other countries have improved, the United States has remained stagnant.
In science, the United States falls behind countries such as Canada, Japan and the Czech Republic.
So who needs to learn about all that boring math and science stuff anyway? I mean, especially when there is so much useful earthly knowledge to be pumped into kid's heads straight from the Holy textbook itself -- the Bible.
That great, pious state of Texas (and they aren't the only ones) recently adopted a bill mandating all Public high schools to offer "elective" courses on the Bible. That action in and of itself doesn't necessarily portend nefarious motives, except when you realize that this legislative mandate applies ONLY to the Christian Bible.
Not that I would approve of this either, but it really is telling to note that there exists no equivalent mandate of elective courses to study the world's other religious texts such as the Talmud, Q'uran, Tao Te Ching, Confucian Analects, the Bhagavad Gita, LaVey's Satanic Bible, Dianetics, The Book of Mormon, Eastern Orthodox Bible, Wicca, or Atheist/Agnostic.
Only the Christian Bible. Gee -- I wonder why that is?
The religionists "claim" that indoctrinating of young, impressionable minds is not taking place in these public classrooms, but unfortunately, and predictably, cases have already been reported of just such a thing occurring. And as to the people performing the "oversight" of such practices they will be the same people who have promoted it and I don't believe for one nanosecond that there is an honest expectation that a fair review of proselytizing claims will take place.
It's not enough that these religionists have their tax-free businesses (churches) on every corner in our communities. It's not enough that they send their foot soldiers around knocking on people's doors trying to pressure and "convert" those who don't believe or believe differently. It's not enough that they parade around publicly beating their chests about how their biblically inspired "moral values" are superior to everyone elses. Noooo -- now they also want to extend the tentacled reach of their superstitious hogwash to brainwash the minds of children other than their own.
Well I say -- keep your damn religious teachings out of publicly financed classrooms! Respect the wisdom of the concept of church/state separation. Allow our nation's children to focus on learning the critical knowledge and skills that they will absolutely need to succeed in life and help America compete in a 21st century global economy. If you want to brainwash your own kids outside of the sphere of public education, that's fine by me -- but that is precisely what your churches and your own homes are for.
The Robert Ingersoll quote at the beginning of this post pretty much sums it all up for me on this subject.