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Specious science in our schools

By Alan Caruba
web posted July 15, 2002

In September, millions of America's school children will return to their classrooms where their textbooks are teaching an utterly polluted stream of environmental and other science misinformation. Like so many issues involving our debased educational system, this is not evoking much public outcry. It should.

In January 2001, the Associated Press reported that "Twelve of the most popular science textbooks used at middle schools nationwide are riddled with errors, a new study has found." The study compiled 500 pages of errors!

"These are terrible books, and they're probably a strong component of why we do so poorly in science," said John Hubisz, the North Carolina State University physics professor who led the two-year study. He estimated that 85 per cent of the nation's school children used the textbooks examined.

In November 2001, USA Today headlined an article, "Tests show US Students are weaklings in science." It was the usual litany of statistics adding up to the fact that about two-thirds of US students have "a basic understanding of grade-level science, but only one-third or less can be considered proficient." This is a nice way of saying that, as in every other area of academics, the US educational system is failing to teach yet another generation anything of value regarding science.

Rod Paige, the Secretary of Education, noted this abysmal level of science education undermines America's economic strength and security. "Instead of improving our own science education, we have been relying on the education of other countries provide to their citizens." In other words, the United States of America is forced to import our scientists, engineers and doctors.

I recently received a rant about a Ford Motor Company program that supports good science in the classroom. Ford had previously tried to ingratiate itself with the environmental movement. Belatedly realizing it had allied itself with people who hated cars, trucks and anything else that utilized petroleum products, Ford came to its senses. One can only wish other US corporations would as well.

When John F. Borowski, a marine and environmental science teacher, emailed me his screed denouncing the Ford Motor Company for donating $1.5 million to underwrite a program called "Provider Pals", offering information about the way American industries extract natural resources or provide food, his name rang a bell.

On August 21, 1999, Borowksi had an opinion editorial published in The New York Times titled "Schools with a Slant". He decried "corporatism" claiming that public schools "are ripe for exploitation via dubious 'educational materials'" adding that it was not environmental groups that were intent on creating "ecowarriors", but rather it was "the business world that was "eager to turn our children into the ultimate consumers." Apparently, it has yet to have dawned on him that we live in a consumer society and that goods and the money spent on them have given us our extraordinary lifestyle, affording us the longest life expectancy in our nation's history.

Let us understand that people who harbor a hatred for corporations are, quite simply, socialists or even communists. It is corporate America, along with our countless small businesses, that generate the trillions that make our economy the greatest in the history of mankind. Where socialism exists, economies falter and stagnate, and people suffer.

In his latest diatribe, titled "Bastion of Ecological Literacy Under Siege: Our Public Schools", Borowski rants about Bruce Vincent, "an outspoken defender of logging, mining, and grazing on public lands" for creating a program that explains the role that loggers, miners, and ranchers play in providing the most essential resources this nation and its people require.

"It was the likes of Boise Cascade and Weyerhaeuser who butchered millions of acres of watersheds," says Borowski. No, it was the unrelenting refusal of environmental groups to permit the proper management of our national forests that led to the catastrophic loss by fire of millions of acres of timber. Starting with the Spotted Owl hoax and then suing every time a strand of forest was to be culled properly, the eco-maniacs like Borowski did more damage than all the timber companies combined.

Scott Blandish is an environmental science teacher in suburban Spokane, Washington who has written on the politicization of environmental curricula. "Kids are being terrorized in school every day with environmental nightmare stories about global warming, rising seas, desertification, (and) killer smog", Blandish told CNSnews.com in May 2000.

There are good science teachers and then there are the Borowski's whose only reason for teaching is the indoctrination of their students, filling their heads with environmental mush while fulminating against the evil "corporations" of America. As he says, "Corporate America knows as long as students have literacy in environmental issues, there will always be Rachel Carson and Cesar Chavez.

Thanks to Carson, millions have died from malaria, deprived of the protection DDT once provided. Strange heroes for a world that must feed six billion people and protect them from Nature's predators.

Every Sunday, my local daily newspaper publishes letters from school children throughout northern New Jersey and, every week for years, some child is worried about global warming, forests, water, oil, the ozone layer, endangered species.

These children and millions of others who have passed through the schools of our nation have had their perceptions of the real world, of Nature, perverted by the textbooks and curricula of their so-called science classes.

In science classes, in courses about history, civics, and throughout the perverted curriculum of our nation's schools, our children are being indoctrinated, not educated, to hate America, its economic system, and its values.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", that is posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about scare campaigns. (c) Alan Caruba, 2002

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