CURMUDGUCATION: What About Flat Earthers?

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

What About Flat Earthers?

This week the Denver Post ran an…. intriguing? unexpected? gob-smacking? piece about the Flat Earther community in the US, which is, for some reason, centered in Colorado. And these folks are committed.

You might think that this is some sort of hipster irony thing, like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But take a stroll through just one flat earther youtube channel– Globebusters-– and you’ll realize that nobody means to be funny here. The international space station? A huge fake.The edge of the world? A barrier of ice. Why don’t we feel the alleged speed at which we’re supposed spinning with the earth’s surface? And is NASA, as another flat earth– well, I’d call it a group but it appears to be just one guy– asserts, a secret arm of the Freemasons? And why do conspiracy theorists always have such bad spelling skills?

The Post piece offers a hint at the appeal:

“They want you to think you’re insignificant, a speck on the earth, a cosmic mistake,” Sargent says. “The flat earth says you are special, we are special, there is a creator, this isn’t some accident.”…

He and other Flat Earthers can only speculate why the global conspiracy has had such staying power for more than 500 years, or why “the top” — the uber-elite heads of governments, universities and major corporations that allegedly know “the truth” — would continue to uphold a scheme that offers little in the way of riches or strategic power.

But I’m not here to discuss the merits of Flat Earth Theory which is, after all, well-destroyed bunk.

My question is– what do we do with these folks?

Sure, it’s a free country and you can believe whatever dumb thing you want to believe. You can ignore all the scientific evidence and sense that you like, provided that you don’t start clubbing people over te head or burning down buildings in the name of your beliefs. But for the world of education policy, we’re going to need a better answer than that.

If flat earthers demand that their public school teach the (non-existent) controversy, should public school teachers be compelled to do so, or must they find (or rent) a sympathetic legislator first to make that happen?

What if they decide to set up their own Flat Earth Charter school? Should that be funded with public tax dollars, or even allowed/ Some charter supporters argue that whatever parents want to do should be allowed (“freedom!”), but does the society that funds education have a stake in making sure that education is not filled with falsehoods. Those Flat Earth Charter students would eventually be adults whose ability to contribute to society, function well in the workplace, and vote responsibly in elections may be compromised by the big slab of baloney rattling around in their heads. We can take the attitude that families that saddle their children with non-functional educations have made their own bed, but people who can’t pull their own weight in society become a cost to it. We can say, “Let Pat try to be a Flat Earth Rocket Scientist– if Pat can’t support a family or make a living, that’s Pat’s problem” which is true right up until the point that Pat gets hit by a car and needs health care or collects a hundred other Pats and elects a Flat Earth city official.

I’m not going to argue that we need a system in which some government ministry decides which True Things are officially allowed to be taught. But one under-discussed issue with the charter/voucher of freeing parents to do whatever they want is that a certain percentage of parents believe Really Dumb Things and an increasing portion of our population is not so keen on things like “science” and “evidence.”

So what accountability measures, what checks would we put in place so that a charter/voucher system didn’t just become a patchwork mess of Teach Whatever The Hell You Feel Like? Because that can’t be good for the health of the country or for the children whose education is sacrificed on the alter of the free market. The point of education, after all, is to elevate people to higher levels of understanding and skill, not to allow them to soak in the same old stew of ignorance.

My most cynical, least-charitable side says that some charter/voucher fans figure that bad people choose bad schools and get bad educations and end up poor and struggling as they should, and it doesn’t matter because they’ll be doing it on the other side of the big wall that separates the Betters in society from All Those Other People. But for those reformsters who truly believe that charters and choice are an important key to improving education in this country, my question remains– what do we do about Flat Earth Charter School?

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: What About Flat Earthers?

Surrendering Will Make You Free | BustED Pencils

 Life is very short, and there’s no time For fussing and fighting, my friend I have always thought that it’s a crime, So I will ask you once again Try to see it my way…   -J. Lennon   This is going to be difficult, but here goes. I surrender. 45, and the wealthiest Cabinet ever… Read more »

Source: Surrendering Will Make You Free | BustED Pencils

Is Wall Street About to Take Over Public Education Once and for All?

Save Maine Schools

Across the country, teachers are being asked to collect, record, and slog through mountains of data that “experts” insist is meant to improve their practice.

There are pre-assessments and post-assessments, habits of work rubrics, writing prompts, social and emotional screeners, standards-based grading systems, RTI data, student learning objectives, professional growth goals, student surveys, self evaluations, administrator evaluations, office discipline referrals, results from progress monitoring programs …the data demands go on and on, and all of it must be entered and stored in learning management systems.

Recently, a few brave teachers have begun to publicly state the obvious: that we don’t need all of this data to do our jobs well.

Unfortunately, no one seems to be listening, asthere is a far more powerful entity thatdoes need all this data:

Wall Street.

As Pay for Success schemes – also known as Social Impact Bonds – sweep the country, data collection…

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What Can Happen If You Sell A Gun Legally And It Gets Into The ‘Wrong Hands.’

Mike The Gun Guy™

I have a friend named Dave LaGuercia who happens at the moment to be in a Boston hospital for a second round of surgery – let’s hope all goes well. I have known Dave since 2004 or 2005 when he opened a small gun shop in Connecticut just over the Massachusetts line. Dave had previously been in the car business as a broker, he had done quite well, but being a gun nut once he had some dough in his pocket he did what we all do, he bought some gun inventory and opened a shop.

mcx            One thing led to another and within three or four years Dave had moved to a much larger location and now had a gun shop that was maybe the second-largest store in the whole state. And since Connecticut is a fairly small state and Dave’s store was situated right off an exit of…

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Vague, Regressive Taxes – like a Soda Tax, Aren’t Going to Save our Public Schools.

Vague, Regressive Taxes – like a Soda Tax, Aren’t Going to Save our Public Schools.
by seattleducation2010
I’m becoming increasingly wary of slick political campaigns which promise to help our resource starved public schools, and once enacted, end up doing more harm than good. How can you spot one of these campaigns – besides the big money spent on advertising? The lack of details. These initiatives are always short on specifics and […]

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Seattle Education


I’m becoming increasingly wary of slick political campaigns which promise to help our resource starved public schools, and once enacted, end up doing more harm than good.

How can you spot one of these campaigns – besides the big money spent on advertising? The lack of details. These initiatives are always short on specifics and high on gushing testimonials on just how much they care about kids.

Evidently, the power of caring alone proves their plan is worthy of support. Messy details are explained away in the same way: We care so trust us with the money.

Inevitably, once the initiative passes, what sounded like a good idea ends up adding another layer of bureaucracy.

Even more frustrating, once created, this bureaucracy quickly becomes more focused on serving the interests of the political class and their financial backers, than helping actual students.

The Families and Education Levy

I learned this…

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Reading to write

Live to Write - Write to Live

Reading is something I’ve always done. When I was a kid, my mom would take away TV as a punishment and once I got over the initial sting of being in trouble, I’d go find a book and that was that. As an adult, I’ve often said, I could live without a TV, but you’ll pry my kindle out of my cold dead hands.

I wish I could remember the first time I heard “To be a good writer, you must be a good reader.” I even Googled the phrase to see if I could find someone other than one of my teachers to attribute it to. I can find many an essay or blog post touting that as truth, but I can’t find a source.

Romance is my genre of choice, but I find my writing is enriched by everything I read, so I work to expand my horizons…

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North Korea in US Propaganda: How the Media Distorts Your View of the DPRK »

On Tuesday, the White House confirmed that, for the first time, North Korea — whose actual name, by the way, is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — successfully tested an inter-continental ballistic missile capable

Source: North Korea in US Propaganda: How the Media Distorts Your View of the DPRK »

AmplifyGR: How to “create opportunities” when you hold all the power

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

During the AmplifyGR town hall meeting that was held on June 29, many of the speakers kept on stating that they wanted to create opportunities for the people in the Southtown area. 

The CEO of Amway, Doug DeVos said he wanted to create opportunities for people in the area. Mike VanGessel, the CEO of Rockford Construction Company said he wanted to create opportunities and every speaker representing AmplifyGR also wanted to create opportunities for people living in the Boston Square area.

I have been thinking about this theme for the past few weeks and what it truly means when the DeVos Family says they want to create opportunities for people. In thinking about this theme, there are three responses that seem worth discussing when thinking about what it truly means when a member of the DeVos Family says they want to create opportunities for people.

First, it is…

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ALEC and Koch Brothers Launch State-Level Attacks on Solar Energy

Diane Ravitch's blog

We are familiar with ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) model legislation to promote charter schools and vouchers, as well as to eliminate teachers’ unions.

The New York Times reported today that ALEC and the Koch brothers are working on behalf of the electric industry to block and reverse support for the rooftop solar power movement. When the public was concerned about over-reliance on fossil fuels, many states offered incentives for homeowners to install rooftop solar panels. Some allow homeowners to sell excess power back to utilities. The power industry wants to get rid of these incentives. And they are succeeding. In the Trump era, there is no form of progress that can’t be rolled back.

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