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Science in our schools and Anti-intellectualism


Forum: Atheist and Agnostic Parenting

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  #1  
August 25th, 2006, 10:03 AM
Mega Super Mommy
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I have been doing some musing on how our schools teach science in comparison to the world stage. America's numbers pale in comparison to countries that the USA should be in close competition with. One of the areas we are fallling behind in is science.

Is there a kind of antiintellectualism in the USA that is contributing to this? Beyond the science is for nerds stereotypes, is there a feeling in the USA that all theories deserve equal respect? All opinions deerve equal respect? Do these ideas make teaching something based on fact and theories, like science, difficult in such a climate?
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  #2  
August 26th, 2006, 10:03 AM
Number_3's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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This is one of the reasons behind my move to homeschool my DS. Science & math are his best subjects and the public school he was going to didn't meet the NCLB standard last year. So now they will be 'teaching for the test' for a while, and adding their xian slant to their teachings at that! (we had some incidents last year involving biblical stories being read by the librarian and the homeroom teacher)

Now I have the freedom to choose his science program, customize it, and take as much time as we like with different things.
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  #3  
August 27th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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I don't have any kids in school yet (unless you count Montessori preschool) so I don't know what sort of curriculums the local public schools follow for science and math . I should look into it soon though. I do know I would be pissed if someone read my child bible stories! I do not want to have any religious conflict between my child's teachers and myself - I don't want to be in the position where I have to tell my child that their teacher is wrong.

edited for typo
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  #4  
August 27th, 2006, 07:06 PM
mrobinson
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Quote:
I have been doing some musing on how our schools teach science in comparison to the world stage. America's numbers pale in comparison to countries that the USA should be in close competition with. One of the areas we are fallling behind in is science.

Is there a kind of antiintellectualism in the USA that is contributing to this? Beyond the science is for nerds stereotypes, is there a feeling in the USA that all theories deserve equal respect? All opinions deerve equal respect? Do these ideas make teaching something based on fact and theories, like science, difficult in such a climate?[/b]
OMGoodnes.. I'm so glad you are here. You completely nailed this.. My father, DH and I think we have touched on this but not in the entirety like this...

Before I thought there was a role North American women were supposed to be.. Now that I'm married, DH points out all the time on tv, and media where the guy is dumbed down.. We called emasculated but when you apply it to both sexes, the way you just did, anti-intellectualism nails it. We are told to be dumb, submissive wives or macho men. The "brains" are geeks. (Mind you in HS it didn't seem that way for me but it was a small town.)

Back to what you were saying.. I completely agree not all ideas, and theories are treated with respect.. Do you remember when the anti-terrorism bill was introduced the Californian who voted against it (because she wanted more information) was given death threats? How about when the Dixie Chicks said they were embarassed of their president being from Texas? They got death threats too.. If the US truely believed in freedom of expression, why do they constantly suppress other POV's? If the religious ideal is the only thing promoted with society, of course the US will be stifled in progression.
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  #5  
August 28th, 2006, 12:07 PM
mrobinson
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You know, ever since you stated this, I see it every-friggin-where...
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  #6  
August 28th, 2006, 02:59 PM
mrobinson
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So how do you suppose sexualization of the American culture plays into this?
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  #7  
August 28th, 2006, 03:10 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,496
Quote:
Before I thought there was a role North American women were supposed to be.. Now that I'm married, DH points out all the time on tv, and media where the guy is dumbed down.. We called emasculated but when you apply it to both sexes, the way you just did, anti-intellectualism nails it. We are told to be dumb, submissive wives or macho men. The "brains" are geeks. (Mind you in HS it didn't seem that way for me but it was a small town.)[/b]
I definitely see what you mean here. I think that the "anti-intellectualism" in the USA extends beyond just the "anti-professionalism" that I spoke about in the OP (the idea that everyone is their own expert- no theories or opinions are better than others).

I think your question about sexualization fits in well here. Are we to be intellectual beings or sexual beings? Our society seems to separate them and tell us we cannot be both- geeks, nerds, heck, even career moms all get stereotyped.

I also think about college enrollment. Women are beginning to outnumber men in colleges, yet science, math, engineerings, and like majors are still ridiculously dominated by men. It's like, in a way, we have proven our equality, yet we shy away from enterring these majors. why?
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  #8  
August 28th, 2006, 03:42 PM
mrobinson
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I definitely see what you mean here. I think that the "anti-intellectualism" in the USA extends beyond just the "anti-professionalism" that I spoke about in the OP (the idea that everyone is their own expert- no theories or opinions are better than others).

I think your question about sexualization fits in well here. Are we to be intellectual beings or sexual beings? Our society seems to separate them and tell us we cannot be both- geeks, nerds, heck, even career moms all get stereotyped.[/b]
It's shocking to me that people can't see how this is.. I'm glad you do.

Quote:
I also think about college enrollment. Women are beginning to outnumber men in colleges, yet science, math, engineerings, and like majors are still ridiculously dominated by men. It's like, in a way, we have proven our equality, yet we shy away from enterring these majors. why?[/b]
It's not encouraged enough.. Did you know in my family nursing, teaching and being a secretary were the only professions encouraged to me? The fact that math and science were my strengths didn't matter. I do use math daily now, but not because of their help.
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