Wednesday, May 5, 2010

National Lab Day

I know you have been looking forward to it for months & months:  National Lab Day.  No, not labrador retrievers, science places.

When is National Lab Day exactly?  Well...apparently that is a secret.  & I am sorry to say secretiveness is a big part of what keeps citizens away from science guys.  They have a reputation for liking to make things harder to understand just for the sake of it & I am here to tell you some of them do do that.  Most of the time though, it is because it is just that hard, the first time.   & so it was with National Lab Day, once I tooled around the  sight a few times I found a link that implied it was May 5th, but then I found a sentence that stated it was May 12th. 

Thus we have a window into why science education is falling behind in the country. No I do not put the blame on the guys who thought up National Lab Day, I put the blame on the guys who are responsible for the marketing & administration of science.  & no I do not think marketing &/or administration are evil or bad; I DO think they should be subordinate to the actual mission of science, but they never are.  Frankly, I think marketing might be the reason science has any life left; English took the academic high road & has not been heard from since.

I recently sat through almost the whole speech by a state legislator bemoaning the fact that USschools in general & Fladidah schools in particular are unable to keep the science teachers they have, never mind acquire the teachers they need for the future.  I had so many problems with this speech it is hard to know where to begin.  I should perhaps start at the outer rings & work my way in:

Even if Fladidah had science teachers camping out overnight for the chance of a job, they could not hire them-the schools have no money. In addition to having no money, they DO have a myriad of hoops that a potential/current/future teacher needs jump through every day (more on specific hoops in a moment) that make the job very, very unappealing. 

Once the science teacher does get hired, there are the third party requirements (& no I do not think the legislature should dictate the standards because they pay the bills, they don't pay the bills.  I don't just mean that in a leaving a check on the table kind of way -which happens- I also mean it in a it is not the legislators' money kind of way.  They are the trustees, not the beneficiaries).  This is all before the teachers even make contact with their students.

Let me give you an idea of what these requirements involve:  physicists are being asked to include creationism in their teaching of the physical world & laws; biologists are being asked to compare & contrast evolution with creationism; ditto botanists; & so on.  Is it really such a surprise that hoards of individuals that hold the tenets of their fields close to their hearts are choosing not to teach in Fladidah public schools?  I would like to see classes in evangelical schools interrupted & the instructor asked to give equal time to animism; to compare & contrast funereal rites of ancient Egyptians with our own (after all we have no proof they were wrong, do we?), etc. 

Actually what I would really like is an explanation of how homosexuality is decried by the bible & therefore evil, despite references being subtle & few, but money lending has apparently been rehabilitated.  Every bible I ever came across was clear-as-crystal on money lending being a bad thing; money lenders were driven from the temple remember?  There is no passage describing driving all the single adult men with exquisite fashion sense from the temple.  I am not saying I am going to give up credit cards, I just do not understand how they are not an abomination but gay marriage is; I am quite sure credit card debt ruins more families than same sex marriage ever could.  But I digress....

Where was I?  National Lab Day, that's right.  Well today might be National Lab day or it might be next week. In this house, every day is Lab Day, so it is hard to get all that worked up.  Also I am not sure the cookie-cutter day adored & reviled by secretaries, wept over by mom's, acknowledged by dad's....& who ever else gets singled out for a "day" is really the way to attract people to science.  but unlike almost everything else being done, it can't hurt.  At a minimum, it might help science teachers feel less alone.

1 comment:

  1. I'm amazed that the school system can get anyone to teach anything.