Saturday, May 13, 2006

Teaching What's <i>Really</i> Important

Anyone wonder why more parents are opting to home-school their kids? Here's one reason:

Saying more role models could help reduce the social estrangement and high suicide rates of gay and lesbian students, the state Senate voted Thursday to require that the historical contributions of homosexuals in the United States be taught in California schools.

Apparently the first of its kind nationwide, the measure passed with no Republican support. It must also be approved by the Assembly and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has taken no position on it. California's Legislature last year became the first to authorize gay marriage, but Schwarzenegger vetoed the measure.

If passed, the textbook bill could have national implications. California is a huge portion of the textbook market, where it often sets trends, and many publishers put out a specific edition for the state that others can also use.

Why it is necessary to emphasize the contributions of homosexuals and not, say, famous adulterers the article doesn't say. Will history books of the future feel it necessary to note that the men enshrined on Mount Rushmore all preferred women? Our children may not know how to find Kansas on a map, but they'll know the really important stuff like which famous politicians practiced sodomy and which famous scientists liked to cross-dress.

It's a sure sign that we are no longer serious about quality education for our young when we deem it to be of such crucial importance that students know everyone's sexual preference, and that they display the socially correct attitudes about such matters, that our legislators mandate that these things be taught in our public schools.

Ironically, it's illegal in Pennsylvania to require that a note be placed in textbooks informing students that there is some difference of opinion about the truth of materialist explanations of living things, but it may soon be the law in California that textbooks encourage students to accept homosexuality as morally unproblematic.

I guess it goes without saying that the California state senate is controlled by Democrats.

Fuel Efficiency

A car that gets 8,000 mpg has been invented by a Brit:

A British inventor unveils the world's most fuel-efficient vehicle, a three-wheel "TeamGreen" car capable of doing 8,000 miles to the gallon. The 45-year-old inventor, Andy Green, from the University of Bath, built his budget eco-motor for just �2,000, and will be the sole British contender for the title of the world's most fuel-economic car in a global competition being held later this month.

It has taken Mr. Green more than two years to design and build the car, which will be the fourth eco-vehicle he has built. He holds the British record for fuel-efficiency, with 6,603 miles to the gallon in a previous car. According to the report, the new vehicle is powered by a single cylinder four-stroke engine with a capacity of just 35cc and runs with a special management system incorporating fuel injection.

But where do you put the kids and the groceries?

Did Dover Squander $1 Million?

As a consequence of the trial over intelligent design concluded last December, the taxpayers of the Dover Area school District find themselves stuck with a $1 million bill for lawyers' fees. A couple of writers, Joe Manzari and Seth Cooper, writing in The American Enterprise last month, raise an interesting question about this.

Recall the circumstances: A group of parents took the sitting school board to court over the policy of reading a paragraph to science students informing them that there is dissent among scientists about the truth of Darwinian evolution and that there exist other opinions on the matter among people qualified in the sciences. Meanwhile, before the case was complete and a decision handed down, that school board was defeated at the polls by another set of candidates who opposed the old board's policy.

At the first meeting of the new board in early December, before Judge Jones handed down his ruling, it was suggested that the new board rescind the ID policy and thus possibly render the case before Judge Jones moot. Whether it would have actually been declared moot by the judge no one knows, but there was nothing to lose by trying, especially since the new board had every intention of discarding the policy anyway, and $1 million dollars to save. If the case was declared moot because the policy was no longer in effect there evidently would have been no attorney's fees awarded, and the school district would have saved a lot of money.

Nevertheless, the board declined to take that action until after the judge had rendered his decision and the district incurred a $1 million bill. Manzari and Cooper ask:

Why would the new board keep in place the evolution policy it once so ardently opposed? The School District's suit brought national attention and ridicule to the community, and the testimony of the former board members exacerbated the situation. A likely forthcoming decision by Judge Jones would overrule both the board and the theory of intelligent design. By rescinding the old board's evolution policy prior to a court ruling, the new board might have curtailed legal costs and fees incurred by a victorious ACLU and AUSCS. But the new board accepted a likely stinging defeat in court, with painful legal bills attached.

It is now three months following the Dover Area School District's courtroom defeat and the ACLU, AUSCS, and the new board members have some tough questions to answer.

With all the reporting that the national and local media did on this controversy one might think that someone in the media besides Manzari and Cooper would have asked the Dover Board why they didn't rescind the policy before the judge ordered them to, but as far as I'm aware no one has. This is especially puzzling given that the present board ran on the promise to husband Dover's financial resources more responsibly than did their predecessors.