Friday, September 7, 2012

Intelligent Design and the Decline of American Education

Intelligent Design is not a theory:
"One requirement of science is that it makes specific predictions, which can be tested in a laboratory." states geologist Robert Hazen "Another requirement is that it does not rely on supernatural or miraculous processes."
The primary case that intelligent design promotes is that life and the universe have systems that are so complex that they can only be explained by a creator. The very essence of that theory is completely un-testable. The only test that stands up is if we can not explain complex systems scientifically then they must have been designed by some form of intelligence.
If it was designed by "a creator" a single being or entity; whether that be God, an Alien or the Giant Spaghetti Monster then we are left without testing. The implied protocol for testing is to give up and stop researching because the answers to the question are to difficult to explain.
It is this conclusion that brings me to the "bigger problem" that Intelligent Design is just a symptom of.
Why continuing to push this non-theory on public education is irresponsible:
While this attitude and the answers themselves are unacceptable they do bring attention to the bigger problems in public education.
The problems we are faced with in our schools is the declining quality of education that our children receive today. The entire history of our Country has been built on the foundation that the children had a better life than their parents.
This was reflected in:
The child would have a better education than the parents.
The child would have better health care than the parents.
The child would have a better, safer job than the parents.
The child would have a nicer house than the parents.
These things are no longer true of this generation coming out of our High Schools today.
The whole concept of "No Child Left Behind" is false and misleading at best. The children are now receiving training to pass a test that measures progress. The bar for that progress was only getting lowered so that the appearance was that children are improving when, in fact, they were not.
Only recently have demands for more stringent testing been met in Texas. The TAKS test has been made more difficult in recent years and as a result we can see where the quality of education was really heading.
According to an article in the Dallas Morning news dated December 15th, 2005:
The Texas Education Agency identified 821 campuses across the state Thursday where students will have the right to leave if their parents are dissatisfied. That's nearly double the number of campuses last year - 420....
The state's annual school performance ratings in August showed the number of "academically unacceptable" schools nearly quadrupled this year based on poor TAKS scores. A handful of factors were cited for the lower test scores and lower school ratings, including that students had to get more answers correct and, for the first time, special education students' test scores were included in overall passing rates.
Large numbers of students had trouble with the science and math sections of the exam even though only a minority of students - 25 percent in science and 35 percent in math - were required to pass those sections for their school to be considered academically acceptable.
If what we are seeing is true, then the idea of further decreasing the quality of education, especially in the sciences, is not only irresponsible it is immoral.
According to an article published in the January 2006 issue of Discover Magazine:
The performance of U.S. students in middle and high schools on international math and science exams is below the average of 38 other countries. Even advanced American math and physics students score near dead last among students in 20 tested countries, the panel reported. Since 1990 the number of bachelor's degrees in engineering has declined 8 percent; in mathematics, 20 percent. While 32 percent of U.S. students graduate with degrees in science and engineering, the figure in China is 59 percent. Fewer grads means less research.Science Watch, a review of the Web research tool Essential Science Indicators, found a decline in U.S. representation among the world's published scientific papers, dropping from 38.5 percent in 1990 to 33.3 percent in 2004. Meanwhile, the Asian-Pacific share increased and "will likely outstrip that of the United States in six or seven years." Such declines may be reflected in the business of science; the National Academies reported the U.S. share of global high-tech exports fell during the last two decades from 30 to 17 percent, and its share of manufactured goods dropped from +33 billion in 1990 to -24 billion in 2004.
I believe America is a first rate country with more rights and privileges than just about any country in the world. There is no excuse for us to be ranked 39th in the world for education. As an American the idea that there are 38 other countries with a better quality of education just infuriates me.
What have our government officials been doing that they have fallen down on the job to such a degree?
We can not just blame one political party for this. For our educational system to have become so badly damaged has taken years if not decades of neglect to get to this point. Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat this issue needs to be a top priority in America starting yesterday.
In order to fix the problems we need to focus on the real issues. We need to stop talking about Intelligent Design and focus on what needs to be done to get the best quality of education in the world for our children.
How can we do it?
We need to change our priorities. If our children are truly what is important then we need to put our money where our brains are going to be tomorrow.
Instead of taxing the citizenry to build bigger and better sports arenas, how about using that money to build bigger and better schools?
How about increasing teachers salaries so that the income of a teacher is appealing to the most talented people?
How about tax or financial incentives for retired or semi-retired professionals to come and teach our children?
How about increasing the financial rewards for students that do well in school and actually paying for them to attend college?
How about looking at the 38 countries that have us beat in the quality of education to see what they are doing right?
There have to be a few thousand other things we can do to help our children get the best education possible. In my opinion all we have for education these days is excuses.

No comments:

Post a Comment