Preparing students for 18th century |

Preparing students for 18th century

Matt Zalaznick

After its victory over Charles Darwin and the separation of church and state, the Kansas school board’s next plan is to order schools in the state to run their clocks backward. Oz’s board of education is out to erase decades of social and scientific advancements. It’s time to buckle down and prepare students for the 18th century.The board wants to twist time around because some of its other ideas are sure to cause some distress. For instance, the board was bracing itself to take some heat for ordering teachers to inform their students that the non-believers in the class are eternally damned, especially the witches in the women’s studies club. The board was relying on the national fear of human sexuality – hetero- and homosexual – to make canceling sex education easier. By inverting the calendar, the educators of Kansas can more easily fool themselves that abstinence is the answer to all teen angst. Going counter-clockwise will prevent the board from having to explain the surge in teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Meanwhile, in some rural Kansas school districts, maintenance workers are already removing all the computers from the classrooms to protect students from the unfettered research available on the Internet and to prevent them from sending out SOS e-mails. Alert administrators will also monitor the microfilm machine and the Dewey Decimal System for any potential progressive thoughts. After all, isn’t it presumptuous of a bunch of meddlesome European astronomers and sailors to insist the world isn’t flat?Librarians, who’ve already hidden all the copies of the “Origin of the Species,” are also clearing room in the school Dumpster for all the works of Gregor Mendel (surely genetics is too complex to be explained by secular pea plants), Sigmund Freud (the intelligent designer surely wouldn’t have created such smutty, disordered minds) and Jared Diamond (guns, germs and steel? That doesn’t sound like a divine formula for moral progress). To prevent the state from having to replace all of its history books, the board has hired platoons of censors and bought tankers of White Out (with the money saved by not going Wi-Fi) to banish all references in the school texts to big bang theory, Alfred Kinsey, the civil rights movement and women’s liberation. Kansas isn’t alone in pioneering the shrinking of the American mind. Evolution, despite mountains of evidence supporting the theory, is under attack in other school districts. That shouldn’t be a surprise when the war on science and free-thinking is being waged from the highest levels of government – by the Great Regressor himself. W., the intellectual shrub, has endorsed the undercover fairy tale of intelligent design (for which there is zero evidence). But he’s too full of faith to stomach stem-cell treatment, even though most involved in the research say it will improve countless lives. Even though other nations threaten to leave America, once a bastion of technical ingenuity, in the biomedical dust. Evidence, of course, is something the Bush administration can do without. Facts and theocracy often clash. Global warming? The ice caps may be melting and the weather may be getting wilder, but the Defender of the Working Man has assured his base that global warming is a red herring cooked up by a bunch anti-business liberals who want to rain on the oil industry’s record-breaking profits.Energy crisis? Experts say it’s going to start running out later this century. But W. and his scoffing henchmen won’t launch an accelerated, Manhattan Project-sized effort to build on existing technology – like wind and solar power – to keep America’s lights on in the 22nd century. That’s odd when there’s plenty of money to be made selling solar panels or fuel cells, or selling things powered by solar panels and fuel cells. But this administration seems content to coast on faith, and with the mind of every American child in tow, to leave America behind. Or maybe W. does have the future in mind. When he leaves office, cutting brush will get old and he’ll no longer have the power to send the country to war. Perhaps, he can get a seat on the Kansas Board of Education. City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14620, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

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