school

Irony lost on ISIS, as they ban math, social studies for children

http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/17/world/meast/syria-crisis/index.html

In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS, children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.

Instead, they’ll be subjected to the teachings of the radical Islamist group. And any teacher who dares to break the rules “will be punished.”
ISIS revealed its new educational demands in fliers posted on billboards and on street poles.

The Sunni militant group has captured a slew of Syrian and Iraqi cities in recent months as it tries to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, spanning Sunni parts of both countries.

In the letter, ISIS said alternative courses will be added.

It also said teachers must erase the phrase Syrian Arab Republic — the official name of Syria — and replace it with Islamic State, which is what ISIS calls itself.

Educators cannot teach nationalistic and ethnic ideology and must instead teach “the belonging to Islam … and to denounce infidelity and infidels.”

Books cannot include any reference to evolution. And teachers must say that the laws of physics and chemistry “are due to Allah’s rules and laws.”

The letter ends with a firm warning:
“This is an obligatory announcement, and all violators will be punished.”

200 Syrians killed in one day

The brutal advances of ISIS in Syria come as the country grapples with a three-year civil war with no clear victor in sight.

At least 200 people were killed on Tuesday alone, the opposition group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It said about 60 were killed by regime airstrikes.

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, meanwhile, said terrorist attacks in Damascus, Hama and Homs left at least three civilians dead.

In all, the United Nations estimates more than 190,000 people have died in the violence between President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and rebels seeking an end to four decades of al-Assad family rule.

Government changes Free School model funding agreement to ban creationist schools

Government changes Free School model funding agreement to ban creationist schools

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed a new revision of the model funding agreement for Free Schools by the Government in order to preclude ‘the teaching, as an evidence-based view or theory, of any view or theory that is contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations.’ This highly significant change has been made in order to ban creationism from being taught in Free Schools, and prevent creationist groups from opening schools. The change follows the BHA coordinating the ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’ campaign, which called for this precise change.

In September, the BHA came together with thirty leading scientists and science educators including Sir David Attenborough, Professor Richard Dawkins and Professor Michael Reiss, and five national organisations to launch ‘Teach evolution, not creationism!’, which called on the government to introduce statutory guidance against the teaching of creationism and garnered significant press coverage. The BHA also launched a government e-petition making the same call, which has now garnered over 20,000 signatures.

In subsequent written correspondence with civil servants, the BHA stated that ‘Our concern is for the government to make absolutely clear that there is no chance it will ever accept [creationist Free School] bids, or allow any state-funded school to teach creationism as science, anywhere in the curriculum, and this is only possible through a change in the law… we would support any adjustment to the model funding agreement to add a statement [to this effect]… Could we request that the next time the [Free School] model funding agreement is reviewed, our desire for this point’s inclusion is considered?’

BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented, ‘We congratulate the government for taking this significant step to prevent creationist Free Schools. There is still further work to be done to ensure that all schools, not just Free Schools, are prevented from teaching creationism, to include evolution in the primary National Curriculum, and to ensure evolution’s teaching in all schools. We look forward to working with the government and all those who care about rational and evidence based education to achieve these additional changes.’

Thou shall not teach humanism in Australia

Thou shall not teach humanism in Australia

EDUCATION Minister Bronwyn Pike has ducked a potential backlash from the powerful Christian lobby by rejecting a proposal to allow humanism to be taught in primary schools during time allocated for religious education.

The Humanist Society of Victoria, which wants to teach an ethics-based curriculum, is planning a legal challenge, saying that the current system indirectly discriminates against non-religious children, causing ”hurt, humiliation and pain and suffering” to them when they opt out of religious education classes.

Children in two-thirds of Victorian state primary schools are taught Christian scripture by volunteers, even though the Education Act says state schools must be secular and ”not promote any particular religious practice, denomination or sect”.

Advertisement: Story continues below

Parents must sign forms if they want their children to be excluded from ”special religious instruction” classes, 96 per cent of which teach Christianity, with the remaining 4 per cent covered by the Jewish, Buddhist and Baha’i faiths.

Children who do not attend these sessions are not allowed to be taught anything their classmates might miss out on during this time, so they are often put in another room where they read or play on computers.

The Education Act has a special exemption from its secular roots to allow religious education.

But Ms Pike skewered an attempt last year by the Humanist Society of Victoria to have its ”humanist applied ethics” curriculum approved for teaching during the religion period. The course, designed to be taught from prep to year 6, covered subjects such as the art of living, the environment, philosophy, science and world citizenship.

Ms Pike declared that humanism’s ”world-view philosophy [sic] cannot be defined as a religion”, and that the Humanist Society was ”not registered as a religious organisation” and therefore could not ”provide instruction in government schools”. There is, however, no official registration of religions in Australia.

The man responsible for accrediting non-Christian religious teachers, RMIT professor Desmond Cahill, head of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, said, ”We’d consider humanism as a religion since it has an ethical standpoint.”

Ms Pike refused to answer The Sunday Age’s questions about whether she had been targeted by the Christian lobby.

The Greens candidate in Ms Pike’s threatened seat of Melbourne, Brian Walters, told The Sunday Age governments should not use their power to ”privilege or promote any one religion or non-religion in our schools” and said children should not be segregated on the basis of faith.

The Humanist Society of Victoria has obtained legal advice that children who are excluded from scripture classes are being indirectly discriminated against.

Religious education arguably breaches equal opportunity law, the advice says, and causes ”hurt, humiliation and pain and suffering” to children who opt out as they are ”isolated from the rest of the class … with little to do”.

It suggests aggrieved parents take action in the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and possibly VCAT.

Humanist Society of Victoria president Stephen Stuart said the society was collecting testimony from parents in an attempt to mount a ”convincing class action with hundreds of names”.

Melbourne mother Dina Cragie, who is Jewish, lobbied for Judaism to be offered at her children’s Hawthorn East school, but they were plucked from maths classes to attend. ”I’m not happy with it; it’s a secular school, and the fact that so much time is spent on religious education is baffling to me – and to have to choose between maths and religion offends me,” Ms Cragie said.

”Ultimately you should teach all religions or none.”

Australia to Start Teaching Idiocy and Dumbfuckery

Intelligent design to be taught in Queensland schools under national curriculum

CREATIONISM and intelligent design will be taught in Queensland state schools for the first time as part of the new national curriculum.

Creationists dismiss the science of evolution, instead believing that living things are best explained by an intelligent being or God, rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.

The issue of creationism being taught in schools has caused huge controversy in the US, where some fundamentalist religious schools teach it as a science subject instead of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

In Queensland schools, creationism will be offered for discussion in the subject of ancient history, under the topic of “controversies”.

Teachers are still formulating a response to the draft national curriculum, scheduled to be introduced next year.

Queensland History Teachers’ Association head Kay Bishop said the curriculum asked students to develop their historical skills in an “investigation of a controversial issue” such as “human origins (eg, Darwin’s theory of evolution and its critics”).

“It’s opening up opportunities for debate and discussion, not to push a particular view,” Ms Bishop said. Classroom debate about issues encouraged critical thinking – an important tool, she said.

Associated Christian Schools executive officer Lynne Doneley welcomed the draft curriculum, saying it cemented the position of a faith-based approach to teaching.

“We talk to students from a faith science basis, but we’re not biased in the delivery of curriculum,” Mrs Doneley said. “We say, ‘This is where we’re coming from’ but allow students to make up their own minds.”

But Griffith University humanities lecturer Paul Williams said it was important to be cautious about such content.

“It’s important that education authorities are vigilant that this is not a blank cheque to push theological barrows,” Mr Williams said.

“I would be loath to see it taught as theory.

“It’s up there with the world being occupied by aliens since Roswell.”

Ms Bishop said there were bigger problems with the national curriculum.

History teachers are planning to object to repetitive subject matter, such as World War I being a major part of the Year 10 course and repeated in Year 11.

Top home-school texts dismiss Darwin

Top home-school texts dismiss Darwin

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Home-school mom Susan Mule wishes she hadn’t taken a friend’s advice and tried a textbook from a popular Christian publisher for her 10-year-old’s biology lessons.Mule’s precocious daughter Elizabeth excels at science and has been studying tarantulas since she was 5. But she watched Elizabeth’s excitement turn to confusion when they reached the evolution section of the book from Apologia Educational Ministries, which disputed Charles Darwin’s theory.

“I thought she was going to have a coronary,” Mule said of her daughter, who is now 16 and taking college courses in Houston. “She’s like, ‘This is not true!'”

Christian-based materials dominate a growing home-school education market that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And for most home-school parents, a Bible-based version of the Earth’s creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children “religious or moral instruction.””The majority of home-schoolers self-identify as evangelical Christians,” said Ian Slatter, a spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association. “Most home-schoolers will definitely have a sort of creationist component to their home-school program.”

Those who don’t, however, often feel isolated and frustrated from trying to find a textbook that fits their beliefs.

Two of the best-selling biology textbooks stack the deck against evolution, said some science educators who reviewed sections of the books at the request of The Associated Press.

“I feel fairly strongly about this. These books are promulgating lies to kids,” said Jerry Coyne, an ecology and evolution professor at the University of Chicago.

‘History of Life’
The textbook publishers defend their books as well-rounded lessons on evolution and its shortcomings. One of the books doesn’t attempt to mask disdain for Darwin and evolutionary science.

“Those who do not believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God will find many points in this book puzzling,” says the introduction to “Biology: Third Edition” from Bob Jones University Press. “This book was not written for them.”

The textbook delivers a religious ultimatum to young readers and parents, warning in its “History of Life” chapter that a “Christian worldview … is the only correct view of reality; anyone who rejects it will not only fail to reach heaven but also fail to see the world as it truly is.”

When the AP asked about that passage, university spokesman Brian Scoles said the sentence made it into the book because of an editing error and will be removed from future editions.

The size of the business of home-school texts isn’t clear because the textbook industry is fragmented and privately held publishers don’t give out sales numbers. Slatter said home-school material sales reach about $1 billion annually in the U.S.

Publishers are well aware of the market, said Jay Wile, a former chemistry professor in Indianapolis who helped launch the Apologia curriculum in the early 1990s.

“If I’m planning to write a curriculum, and I want to write it in a way that will appeal to home-schoolers, I’m going to at least find out what my demographic is,” Wile said.

continues…

Thanks to JT Hundley for the link.

Religion ban in Quebec’s public daycares welcomed

Religion ban in Quebec’s public daycares welcomed

Publicly funded daycare operators in Quebec are welcoming the province’s announcement it will ban religious instruction in government-subsidized daycares.

Quebec Family Minister Tony Tomassi made the announcement Wednesday, one day after saying he would not prevent daycare centres from teaching religious beliefs.

“The mission of [early-childhood education centres] is really to help families integrate into Quebec culture,” said Annie Turcot, spokesperson for a coalition of publicly funded daycares on the island of Montreal.

On Tuesday, Tomassi had said that Quebec’s public daycares reflect family values and religious instruction was normal in the province.

But on Wednesday, he said the practice will be prohibited.

He said an internal audit has revealed about 20 daycares, which receive public funding, include religious instruction in their educational programs.

“So we have to verify it,” said Tomassi. Once that’s done, he said he will meet with the daycare administrators, and work with them to eliminate religion from their program.

Tomassi refused to commit to withdrawing the permits of centres that do not comply.

A few years ago, Tomassi’s department, which was then run by current Education Minister Michelle Courchesne, granted a permit to an Islamic association so it could open an 80-spot daycare centre in Laval, north of Montreal.

The organization’s objective is to “spread Islamic education among Muslims and non-Muslims.”

Another example is that of the Beth Rivkah centre in Montreal, which is run by Rabbi Yosef Minkowitz. Its website states that all “daily activities are driven by the spirit of Torah and the Jewish tradition.”

Go further: PQ

The opposition Parti-Québécois is demanding the government go even further and declare all daycares secular.

“A lot of people in Quebec [think] this should change,” said party critic Nicolas Girard.

Girard accused the Liberals of being so out of step with public opinion that they have resorted to insulting him as a tactic. During question period, he said one minister called him a racist.

The Quebec government has gone too far, said officials with the Quebec Jewish Congress.

“I don’t see these secularists taking down the cross on Mount Royal, I don’t see them asking for the cross to be removed from the National Assembly, and I don’t see them going to work on December 25th,” said the group’s president Adam Atlas.

Atlas said he is hoping to meet with ministry officials to discuss the ban.

The daycare brouhaha has unfolded amid the controversy surrounding a Muslim woman in Quebec who was kicked out of a government-sponsored French class because she refused to remove her niqab — a traditional face covering.

Atheist School Kicks Out Preschooler Because Her Parents Are Christians

Wait no..  the other thing..

Catholic School Kicks Out Preschooler with Lesbian Parents

Boulder, Colo. (AP) – A Catholic school in Colorado is kicking out a preschooler because the child’s parents are lesbians.

The child will not be allowed to re-enroll next year at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School. The Denver Archdiocese posted a statement Friday that the parents are “living in open discord with Catholic teaching.”

The statement says students in Catholic schools are expected to have parents who abide by policies of the school and church. The Archdiocese said students with gay parents in Catholic schools would become “confused.”

The school’s decision was first reported Friday by KUSA-TV in Denver.

Academics fight rise of creationism at universities

Amazing that someone would want to become a Geneticist, while being a creationist..  how does that even work?

Academics fight rise of creationism at universities

A growing number of science students on British campuses and in sixth form colleges are challenging the theory of evolution and arguing that Darwin was wrong. Some are being failed in university exams because they quote sayings from the Bible or Qur’an as scientific fact and at one sixth form college in London most biology students are now thought to be creationists.

Earlier this month Muslim medical students in London distributed leaflets that dismissed Darwin’s theories as false. Evangelical Christian students are also increasingly vocal in challenging the notion of evolution.

In the United States there is growing pressure to teach creationism or “intelligent design” in science classes, despite legal rulings against it. Now similar trends in this country have prompted the Royal Society, Britain’s leading scientific academy, to confront the issue head on with a talk entitled Why Creationism is Wrong. The award-winning geneticist and author Steve Jones will deliver the lecture and challenge creationists, Christian and Islamic, to argue their case rationally at the society’s event in April.

“There is an insidious and growing problem,” said Professor Jones, of University College London. “It’s a step back from rationality. They (the creationists) don’t have a problem with science, they have a problem with argument. And irrationality is a very infectious disease as we see from the United States.”

Professor David Read, vice-president and biological sciences secretary of the Royal Society, said that they felt it was essential to address the issue now: “We have asked Steve Jones to deliver his lecture on creationism and evolution because there continues to be controversy over how evolution and other aspects of science are taught in some UK schools, colleges and universities. Our education system should provide access to the knowledge and understanding gained through the scientific method of experiment and observation, such as the theory of evolution through natural selection, and should withstand attempts to withhold or misrepresent this knowledge in order to promote particular beliefs, religious or otherwise.”

Leaflets questioning Darwinism were circulated among students at the Guys Hospital site of King’s College London this month as part of the Islam Awareness Week, organised by the college’s Islamic Society. One member of staff at Guys said that he found it deeply worrying that Darwin was being dismissed by people who would soon be practising as doctors.

The leaflets are produced by the Al-Nasr Trust, a Slough-based charity set up in 1992 with the aim of improving the understanding of Islam. The passage quoted from the Qur’an states: “And God has created every animal from water. Of them there are some that creep on their bellies, some that walk on two legs and some that walk on four. God creates what he wills for verily God has power over all things.”

A 21-year-old medical student and member of the Islamic Society, who did not want to be named, said that the Qur’an was clear that man had been created and had not evolved as Darwin suggests. “There is no scientific evidence for it [Darwin’s Origin of Species]. It’s only a theory. Man is the wonder of God’s creation.”

He did not feel that a belief in evolution was necessary to study medicine although he added that, if writing about it was necessary for passing an exam, he would do so. “We want to become doctors and dentists, we want to pass our exams.” He added that God had not created mankind literally in six days. “It’s not six earth days,” he said, it could refer to several thousands of years but it had been an act of creation and not evolution.

At another London campus some students have been failed because they have presented creationism as fact. They have been told by their examiners that, while they are entitled to explain both sides of the debate, they cannot present the Bible or Qur’an as scientifically factual if they want to pass exams.

David Rosevear of the Portsmouth-based Creation Science Movement, which supports the idea of creationism, said that there was an increasing interest in the subject among students. “I’ve got no problem with an all-powerful God producing everything in six days,” he said. He said it was an early example of the six-day week. Students taking exams on the subject should not be dogmatic one way or the other. “I tell them – answer the question, it’s no good saying it [creationism] is a fact any more than saying evolution is a fact.”

A former lecturer in organic chemistry at Portsmouth polytechnic (now university) and ICI research scientist, Dr Rosevear said he had been invited to expound his theories at many colleges and had addressed the Cafe Scientifique, a student science society, at St Andrews university, Fife. “The students clearly came expecting to have a laugh but they found there was much more to it. Our attitude is – teach evolution but mention creationism and let students decide for themselves.”

Most of the next generation of medical and science students could well be creationists, according to a biology teacher at a leading London sixth-form college. “The vast majority of my students now believe in creationism,” she said, “and these are thinking young people who are able and articulate and not at the dim end at all. They have extensive booklets on creationism which they put in my pigeon-hole … it’s a bit like the southern states of America.” Many of them came from Muslim, Pentecostal or Baptist family backgrounds, she said, and were intending to become pharmacists, doctors, geneticists and neuro-scientists.

Backstory

The doctrine of creationism holds that the origins of humanity and the Earth are recent and divine as related in the book of Genesis. Strict creationists believe Adam and Eve are the mother and father of humanity and God created the Earth in six days. Support for creationism in the UK has traditionally lacked real vigour but in the US a recent poll found 45% of Americans believed God created life some time in the past 10,000 years. Recently American creationists suffered a setback when Ohio’s board of education threw out a model biology lesson plan which gave credence to creationism. Not all creationists believe in a strict six-day creation. Current scientific research suggests the universe is 13bn years old and humans are descended from ape-like creatures.