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NCLB Outrages

Leave No Child's Behind

It is the inclusion of history and science that separates the shepherds from the sheep. And it is the emergence of thoughtful shepherds that the right wing power elite fears the most.

by Brian Copeland

There is much soul searching and debate going on today about the wisdom of renewing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001, better know by its bumper sticker slogan, No Child Left Behind. There is no shortage of criticism of the plan which puts (what many educators feel) are unfair burdens on schools with limited resources and students who come to school unable or unready to learn. In the end NCLB is all about the test scores. Schools must constantly improve in the area of standardized testing in reading and math. The result is that math and reading are being taught overtime at the expense of other subjects. Chief among the neglected disciplines are science and history. Some are calling abandonment of these studies, 'the law of unintended circumstances'. I don't think so. I think that this is exactly what the crafters of this law had in mind when they authored it. What better way is there to promote an agenda based upon ideology as opposed to sound reason based upon facts?

In the last few weeks, we've seen a creation museum open in Kentucky for the sole purpose of propagating the storybook version of the beginning of the world as it is laid out in the book of Genesis. Among other absurdities, the creationists claim that the world is 6000 years old and that man and dinosaur roamed the Earth simultaneously. Science has conclusively dispelled this myth time and time again. If, however, children are not taught science, their ignorance of the subject makes them easier to indoctrinate. After all, it's in a $27,000,000 museum. It must be true right?

It goes deeper. Giving biology, and in particular reproductive science, short shrift makes it a piece of cake to brainwash the uneducated with fairy tales about the origins of life. I have actually heard adolescent girls in the 21st century perpetuate the old chestnut that they can't get pregnant if they have sex standing up because gravity prevents sperm from 'swimming upstream.'

The lack of devotion to history is just as troubling. Neglecting to teach the subject in any kind of a comprehensive way helps to create an ignorant populace and a citizenry easy to manipulate because they don't know the lessons of the past. Kids who aren't taught about Watergate will grow into adults unable to recognize the blatant abuses of power. Children not versed in the history of the Vietnam War reach maturity failing to question the military actions of their leaders. They don't know what can happen. Those with no historical knowledge of slavery, Japanese Internment, the Holocaust or McCarthyism become adults who can't see the slippery slope that the restriction of the liberties can lead to.

Don't get me wrong. Reading and math are important. However it is the inclusion of history and science that separates the shepherds from the sheep. And it is the emergence of thoughtful shepherds that the right wing power elite fears the most.

— Brian Copeland
Huffington Post


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