This blog posting represents the views of the author, David Fosberry. Those opinions may change over time. They do not constitute an expert legal or financial opinion.

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Creationist To Review Evolution Curriculum!

Posted on 18th September 2018

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This story on Inquisitr just shows how messed up the world has become.

Diane Douglas, soon to depart her position as Arizona State Superintendent, has hired a creationist, Joseph Kezele, who believes that dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark, to help schools decide how best to teach evolution in science classes across the state. Joseph Kezele said "Plenty of space on the ark for dinosaurs – no problem."

Whatever happened to facts, science and basic common sense? I am so glad that I don't have children (more likely grandchildren at this stage) going to school in Arizona.

I suppose that this is what happens when you let religion and ideology interfere with education.

University Places Are Wasted On These People!

Posted on 25th August 2014

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The people described in these stories, from the BBC and from The Atlantic, really don't deserve to have places at university.

What they describe is a growing trend in education in the USA. The BBC story covers the case of students at Duke University who refused to read an assigned book because they feel they "would have to compromise [their] personal Christian moral beliefs to read it" (the book deals fairly explicitly with homosexual relationships). The story in The Atlantic, which is rather more comprehensive, talks about law students at Harvard asking professors not to teach rape law, and also describes the lengths that professors now need to go to to avoid offending their students (and to avoid the resulting complaints).

I have serious problems with both the above examples:

  • In the case of the students at Duke, I am worried that students hold opinions which are so shaky that they can be threatened by reading about people who hold, and live by, contradictory views. People whose opinions are so easily swayed are probably not even qualified to vote. The idea that people should not have their beliefs challenged is based on the same flawed rationale as the drive by some parents to exclude the teaching of evolution in schools.
  • The case of the Harvard law students is even more worrisome. It seems that we are educating a new generation of lawyers who don't meet even the most basic requirements of professionalism. If I hire a lawyer to defend me, or to file a civil suit against someone, I expect that they will be properly versed in all legal issues which might be relevant to the case, and be prepared to argue about these in court. The world is full of strange people, holding odd beliefs, some legal and some not, and we have an expectation that professionals are properly informed about these (to the extent that it is relevant to their jobs) and will be able to to their jobs in situations where these weirdnesses impinge on them.

Bear in mind that we are not talking about dodgy third rate universities here. According to this review, Harvard ranks second in the USA, and Duke is at number 8; these are the places where future leaders of government and business are educated. To some extent I blame the universities for failing to enforce standards of education: censorship has no place in education.

Time to stop coddling these students. Maybe they should be thrown out, and their places given to someone who would properly appreciate the privilege of a good education.

Foreign Languages Shortfall for Business

Posted on 24th June 2014

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I have to wonder whether any of the people at the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) referred to in this BBC News story ever actually went to school. They certainly didn't go to my school.

I remember making my subject choices at school. I was not particularly good at languages at school, but even then (many years ago) I understood that languages might make a huge difference to my work options. The problem was that I was not given the option: to do a foreign langauge in the 6th form, I would have had to drop one of my science classes. That really defeats the object, To use a foreign language to make me more employable in a science or engineering job, I need both the language and the science education.

When politicians say that "more children [are] learning languages", what they really mean is that more are learning languages instead of science, rather than in addition. This is typical a politician's answer: the appearance of relevant facts, but not actually relevant, and the appearance of doing something to improve education, when in fact making it worse.

The whole topic of languages in addition to science or engineering subjects is not even addressed in the BBC article, so maybe I should blame the BBC, and the author (Judith Burns).

Primary pupils to learn about world of work

Posted on 2nd May 2014

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Did I misunderstand, or is the eductaional system really that stupid?

This story describes a "new" initiative to have people go to schools and explain about their jobs. The supposedly new part is that the pupils will get an explanation of "how lessons relate to their future careers".

Excuse me, but isn't that the very reason for having people come and explain about their jobs? Such visits have been going on for a long time, in many countries, under several guises (parents coming in to talk about their jobs, organisations volunteering and professionals being invited by the schools). Seriously, in all this time, no-one thought that maybe the whole point was to explain how studying, and the choice of study subjects, related to careers and career choices?