Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The State of Science in the State of Jawja.

     Two articles came out in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution today. One was about the Creationism stickers on Cobb County science books entitled,"Evolution Appeal Cites Flawed Logic". The other was about how thousands of high school seniors can't pass the science section of the state graduation test, entitled, "Wanted: Science exam tutoring".
     Now, neither of these stories is really new news. The details are new, but it should come of no surprise to anyone living in Georgia or following Georgia news in the national media. Georgia has long been weak on education - 49th in the SAT's. When UPS was moving its headquarters from Connecticut in 1991, it almost passed by Atlanta because of the poor education, but they finally decided that cheap housing and a low cost of living would help them pay for private school for their children. Georgia has also long been a hotbed of ignorance, intolerance, and religious fundamentalism. The KKK was founded here. Countless Blacks were lynched here since the civil war (which the people here have never fully gotten over, but that's another story), plus the only Jew lynched in the United States met his end in Cobb County.
     Georgia has its good points, too, but for the most part, those have come from transplants from up north and not so much from the natives. The point is, am I the only one who finds it ironic to see both articles in the paper at the same time? Am I the only one who sees a connection between this fundamentalism and our inability to educate our children?


kaitlin said...

The problem isn't fundamentalism. The problem is a lack of qualified teachers, people who are willing to pick up the seeds from the bottom of the barrel and make something of them. Young teachers don't have the experience to deal with a variety of learning disabilities, or differences, nor are they fully prepared to deal with behavioral problems. I'm not saying people are bad teachers, or that they shouldn't do it, but I'm saying that the system demands much of them much too soon, and isn't equipped to adequately reward them, encourage them, etc. And because the system can't do that, many people who would make outstanding teachers just don't want to deal with it (or are like me, and are perfectionists and don't want to go into a classroom the least bit unprepared or below what I think the kids deserve).

The problem is rapid population growth in much of metro Atlanta, for which counties and local governments are unable to compensate in terms of even space for schools. A new elementary school opened earlier this month (I can't remember the county, sorry), and already they're saying it's overcrowded and there's enough of an influx of students to warrant at least two more elementary schools.

The problem is that some parents rely on a flawed governmental education system to teach their children, and don't involve themselves in that process. I'll grant that there are some parents who are very involved in their child's education. But a child is a parent's responsibility (at least in the age we're living in), and they should be making sure their child is getting everything they need/deserve.

You can blame the problems of education on fundamentalism, but that does nothing to address pragmatic concerns about education in Georgia, and in America.

Scott said...

Oh absolutely, but I don't think they're all unrelated. Which came first, the ignorant or the uneducated? Parents who are undereducated themselves turn to the quick, easy answers that fundamentalism provides, and in turn don't support the education system that their kids attend.
It seems that national culture has turned anti-intellectual, and that has consequences that reverberate through generations.