Archive for education

Fracking Research at UT Austin Withdrawn Following Independent Review

Finally, a major university recognized a major bias in its science. An independent review by science administrators found that the head of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas received money from a firm involved in hydraulic fracturing for shale gas prior to releasing a report on its potential environmental impacts. After the review was recently made public, the paper was finally withdrawn, and the head of the Energy Institute accepted full responsibility and resigned.

Today, public education is under familiar economic pressures to conform to narrow standards and offer subjective knowledge. Interest groups are clamoring to insert their agenda’s into both the classroom and scientific studies. Steps such as those taken by the University of Texas at Austin might serve as a guideline for how ethical issues in our public institutions can be addressed justly without compromising the public’s trust.

From Andrew Revkin’s Dot Earth

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American Exceptionalism and the Fading American Dream

To admit that problems exist is not a denial of American exceptionalism; instead, it is a proclamation that our “can do” spirit is alive an well, that we can tackle and solve any issue. Howard Steven Friedman’s new book, The Measure of a Nation, pits ideas about American exceptionalism against hard data on where we actually stand among the international community.

The promise of the American Dream has been fading for quite some time, but as a nation, we are wonderfully, stubbornly optimistic and have kept the faith. What do you think—is the American Dream still within reach?

Author Howard Steven Friedman compared the US with 13 competing countries on health, education, infant mortality, life expectancy and other critical social and economic indicators. He found only one in which America excels: producing billionaires.

From Truthout

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Anti-Government Domestic Terrorists Are A Real Threat to Our Republic

As inflammatory rhetoric and ideological warfare threaten the very pillars of democracy, true patriots must join the battle armed with facts, not deadly weapons and destructive plots. Anti-government “Patriot” groups that engage in domestic terrorism are a real threat to our Republic.

Read this story from Huffington Post Crime about an anarchist militia group under indictment in Georgia, then take a look at the DHS report on Muslim extremism and home grown terrorists discussed in the Economist. Notice any similarities?

LUDOWICI, Ga. — Four Army soldiers based in southeast Georgia killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect an anarchist militia group they formed that stockpiled assault weapons and plotted a range of anti-government attacks, prosecutors told a judge Monday. Russ Bynum, Associated Press

From The Huffington Post

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Conservative scholars disown attempts to rewrite our nation’s religious history.

Our founders knew religion provided invaluable moral and ethical instruction, but they established a secular, not religious, government. Their writings or public remarks that allegedly “prove” America was founded as a Christian nation are, instead, comments on the valuable role religion plays in a civilized society.

David Barton and WallBusters have been promoting anti-secular pseudo-scholarship for over two decades in an attempt to rewrite our nation’s religious history. Now, even conservative Christian scholars have had enough. The following article details the fallout over Barton’s most recent book, The Jefferson Lies. What are your thoughts on American historical revisionism taking place today?

From The Daily Beast

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Louisiana’s new voucher school program forces revisionist history on students.

Louisiana’s new voucher school program not only enables corporations to turn our public education system into a for-profit gold mine, it also endorses private schools forcing creationist doctrine and revisionist history on students.

We need to teach our students that the ability to reason – to analyze, research, question, articulate, debate, and extrapolate – is the essence of an educated mind. Read a few of the historical and scientific “facts” taught in these Louisiana voucher schools and share your thoughts on whether they should receive millions in public funding.

"Under Gov. Bobby Jindal's voucher program, considered the most sweeping in the country, Louisiana is poised to spend tens of millions of dollars to help poor and middle-class students from the state's notoriously terrible public schools receive a private education. While the governor's plan sounds great in the glittery parlance of the state's PR machine, the program is rife with accountability problems that actually haven't been solved by the new standards the Louisiana Department of Education adopted two weeks ago." Deanna Pan, Mother Jones

From Mother Jones

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Why corporate loyalty has gone global, suppressing political support for game-changing public investment in our nation and citizens

There’s a reason why government spending on renewable energy, infrastructure, and critical R&D is needed for domestic economic growth now more than ever. The private sector, driven by short-term profits and easily marketable products, will rarely invest in/develop transformative products until the government creates initial demand (US government bought most microchips, sustaining infant industry, until a market was created) or establishes the platform for such innovation (building a new energy grid to transport renewables, buying enough natural gas/electric vehicles to justify a private investment in refueling stations, etc.).

In his latest post for The New York Times’ Campaign Stops blog, Thomas B. Edsall ’blames’ technology for stagnant job growth (increased productivity, robotics, etc.), but that’s just one contributing factor. In Patriot Acts, I discuss why corporate loyalty has gone global, suppressing political support for game-changing public investment in our nation and our citizens.  The actions needed to spur large-scale, long-term job creation in 21st century America will only occur in partnership with the government (read: the People).

From The New York Times Campaign Stops

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Note to LZ Granderson—real journalists serve the people, not government or elites.

As if journalistic standards haven’t declined enough over the past decade—LZ Granderson’s last CNN opinion column is a cringeworthy indicator of the current state of journalism. Of course we have a duty to scrutinize those who make the rules and why, how they are applied or abused, and whether they enhance or diminish our lives and national values.

Objectivity, accuracy, integrity, and public accountability are powerful tenets of our fourth estate that must be restored within the hearts and minds of Americans. What are your thoughts on how American journalists are handling these responsibilities?

From Salon

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2012 Texas GOP platform seeks repeal of Voting Rights Act, critical thinking skills.

Not only does The Texas Republican Party want to repeal the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but its 2012 platform also bans multicultural programs and critical thinking skills from  the primary school curriculum.

Perhaps PA State Senator Daylin Leach’s comment from earlier this week bears repeating for the Texas GOP: “If you have to stop people voting [or thinking] to win elections, your ideas suck.”

From The Huffington Post

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Ousting of a highly-esteemed university president is ‘strategic dynamism’?

The circumstances leading to UVA President Teresa Sullivan’s forced resignation were absolutely absurd. Just as our education curriculum must not be designed to appease political or religious groups, we cannot allow it to be subverted by corporate profiteers.

In our struggle to reform education, it seems we have completely lost our way. How could the Board really think that students, alums, and faculty would accept “strategic dynamism” as a legitimate reason for ousting a highly-esteemed university president? Thankfully, Ms. Sullivan was reinstated as UVA President after nearly two weeks of protest.

From The Huffington Post

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