A religious bias against good education?

August 8, 2007

One might be too stunned to shake one’s head; this is a description for a high school calculus course:

CALCULUS
Students will examine the nature of God as they progress in their understanding of mathematics. Students will understand the absolute consistency of mathematical principles and know that God was the inventor of that consistency. Mathematical study will result in a greater appreciation of God and His works in creation. The students will understand the basic ideas of both differential and integral calculus and its importance and historical applications. The students will recognize that God created our minds to be able to see that the universe can be calculated by mental methods.

No, I’m not kidding. It’s from Castle Hills First Baptist School in San Antonio, Texas.

The scientist who sent me the link called it “God’s math.” Architect Mies van der Rohe once said, “God is in the details.” But he didn’t mean that math should be taught as anything other than mathematics. He didn’t mean that any religion should be inserted into math classes — and frankly, that’s a little worrying to me. I speak regularly with theologians who read the same text and come up with radically different descriptions of what it means, sometimes diametrically opposite descriptions.

The social studies curricula are more troubling. What is described is at best second-rate course work. One hopes that the teachers teach the material instead of these descriptions:

SOCIAL STUDIES/HISTORY

WORLD HISTORY I
NINTH GRADE
The students will examine the nature of God as revealed through the study of social studies. Students will develop convictions about God’s word as it relates to world history and will define their responses to it. Through the study of world history, students will develop an understanding of the economic, social, political and cultural developments of our world, as they compare countries and civilizations, Students will learn and acquire an appreciation for God’s relations throughout the timeline of world events. The integration of literature into studies of ancient civilizations will enhance and inspire their learning process. Students will develop attitudes, values, and skills as they discover their place in the world. Students will analyze, synthesize and evaluate social studies skills, including social relationships such as family and church.

WORLD HISTORY II
TENTH GRADE
The students will examine the nature of God as revealed through the study of social studies. Students will develop convictions about God’s word as it relates to world history and will define their responses to it. Through the study of world history, students will develop an understanding of the economic, social, political and cultural developments of our world, as they compare countries and civilizations since the Reformation. Students will learn and acquire an appreciation for God’s relations throughout the timeline of world events. The integration of literature into the studies of modern civilizations will enhance and inspire their learning process. Students will develop attitudes, values, and skills as they discover their place in the world. Students will analyze, synthesize and evaluate social studies skills, including social relationships such as family and church.


AMERICAN HISTORY
ELEVENTH GRADE
Students will evaluate the past and learn from its lessons (I Corinthians 10:11), and become effectual Christians who understand “the times” (I Chronicles 12:32). Students will study the history of our country beginning with the Civil War with a biblically integrated filter as they examine the political, social, and economic perspectives. An emphasis will be placed on the major wars, the industrial revolution, and the settlement of the frontier, requiring students to critically analyze the cause and effect relationships of events in history.

GOVERNMENT/CIVICS
TWELFTH GRADE
Students will evaluate the past and learn from its lessons (I Corinthians 10:11), and become effectual Christians who understand “the times” (I Chronicles 12:32). Students will study the foundational documents of our founding Fathers built upon as they formulated the ideals upon which our country was established. Such documents include: The Magna Carta, The English Bill of Rights of 1689, and the Mayflower Compact. Students are equipped with an understanding of the basic principles contained in these documents, and are able to identify their dependence upon biblical and Reformation principles, leading them to an understanding why the American system is meant for a religious people.

ECONOMICS/FREE ENTERPRISE
TWELFTH GRADE

Students will evaluate the past and learn from its lessons (I Corinthians 10:11), and become effectual Christians who understand “the times” (I Chronicles 12:32). Students will gain an understanding of the workings of economic systems, being able to identify the strengths and weaknesses inherent in capitalism (Deuteronomy 8, 15, 28, Leviticus 25), and the reasons for its superiority to the models of communism and socialism (Ezekiel 46:18).

The last description there, for economics, might lead one to understand this school ignores most of the lessons of Jesus, and especially the stories of the disciples in the immediate aftermath of the crucifixion as described in Acts 2. Not only are the courses described inadequate (we hope the teachers teach the state standards instead, at least), where scripture is specifically mentioned, they appear to be tortured to fit the agenda.

Then comes the choker:

SCIENCE

BIOLOGY

Students will study the physical life of God’s creation. They will continue to develop skills in the use of the scientific method. The students will learn methods and techniques of scientific study, general attributes of the cell and its processes, characteristics of the wide spectrum of living organisms, the classification, similarities and differences of the five kingdoms, evolutionary models and the creation model, the mechanics of inheritance, disease and disorders, and the workings of the human body. Students will gain experience in manipulating the conditions of a laboratory investigation and in evaluating the applications of biological principles in everyday life.

There is no “creation model” that is scientific, nor is there one that conflicts with evolution and is also Biblical. What, in God’s name, are they teaching?

CHFB School was established over 25 years ago, and claims to have more than 300 students enrolled, K-12. Surely there is a track record to look at.

Anybody know what the actual curricula look like at this school? Are there any measures to suggest the school teaches real subjects instead of what is described?

What was the Texas legislature thinking when they authorized Bible classes? Isn’t this bad enough as it is?

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Update: See parent and student comments and ratings of the school, here.

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Update, August 11:  Blogs4Brownback endorses the curriculum — if you do not fully realize the significance of that particular endorsement, study this post, and this one.  Parody?  I asked Brownback’s campaign about the site — they have not disowned it.  As Dave Barry often wrote, I could not make this stuff up.


Freakonomics moved

August 8, 2007

Stephen J. Dubner talks about the move of the blog to the New York Times site.  The old Freakonomics site still works, is revised, and links to the new blog home.


Toldja

August 8, 2007

Remember the earlier post on this?

Flight patters, from Aaron Koblin Design|Media Arts

Robert Krulwich at ABC thought it was neat, too — see this video, and you can see the artist who created the maps. Does this mean there will be more?


Serious indictment of media fetishes . . .

August 8, 2007

 . . . that will drive the “mainstream media (MSM)” critics to distraction.  Are we sure it’s a good idea to let Rupert Murdoch own the Wall Street Journal?

Orcinus tells conservative commentators to grow up:

Remember the fuss over Jet Pilot Action Figure Bush’s “package”? Damn fool didn’t loosen his straps before getting out of the jet. Nobody else on the deck had his crotch trussed up like a Christmas goose; and to them, he looked like a rookie idiot. But Chris Matthews practically had an orgasm on-air while watching him prance and strut.) The fact that so many mainstream and conservative media guys are suckered by this posturing shows that they don’t really have a clue about what a Real Man looks like — though, somewhere deep down inside, they’re pretty sure they don’t qualify. That’s why they’re so easily wowed by men who can put on the costume and make it look good.

But they’re even more easily cowed by men who can actually fill the boots. John Kerry. John McCain. Colin Powell. Bill Clinton. (You don’t have to agree with their politics; but nobody can say these men haven’t comfortably worn the full measure of male power and responsibility for some critical stretch of their lives.) Like little boys, the media guys are so awed by the outward forms of masculinity that they eagerly make a fetish out of them; but they also actively fear and resent men who display the authentic internal goods that make an honest-to-God man. These guys’ very presence incites such a strong sense of personal inadequacy that the Boys On The Bus can only resort to attacking them in ways that are openly calculated to feminize them — that is, to bring them down to their own level. He look French. He’s whipped by his powerful wife. He’s preoccupied with his hair. Translation: This guy has more balls and more maturity than we do — and we need to take him down before everybody figures out how inadequate that makes us feel.

And this:

 . . . the first rule of real macho was that those who possess it never need to prove it to anyone. If you have to prove it or put it out on display, you don’t have it in the first place. And if you are intimidated by seeing it in others, you aren’t even in the ballpark. The truth of that should come home to all of us every time we hear an MSM or conservative talking head going on in breathless awe about some public figure’s “manhood,” or asking leering, creepy questions about other people’s sex lives.

In a time when we need thought leaders who can help us sort out the issues and navigate the national crisis, we’ve got a media staffed by sniggering, leering first-graders who exhibit every regressive intellectual, moral, emotional, and sexual characteristic of right-wing authoritarian followers. It’s time to clean house — and to demand new media voices who aren’t in business to make fun of the grownups, or shamed by people who show the attributes of true maturity and power. It’s time to send the scared little boys home, and put some authentic adults in charge.


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