James has been onto something important for quite a while here. But first, a caveat: Education in math and science IS very important. I don't think anybody should advocate an emphasis on other things to the detriment of math and science. That said, it truly is foolish to concentrate so young on math and science to the detriment of other, more basic educational goals -- such as the transmission of a common culture and of basic civics, and, even more importantly, the ability to communicate, especially in writing, and to use reason and logic while doing so. In recent years I have been appalled at the inability even of supposedly well-educated students to write worth a spit.
The Spectacle Blog
I'd give you the link, Dave, but the ceremony took place behind the velvet rope of TimesSelect. (Some award.) I trust the NYT can abide a little reminiscing:
Perhaps the most unusual conservative criticism of Bush comes from James G. Poulos at the American Spectator blog, who faults the president's plan to improve math and science education: "Our culture is not doomed but it is unraveling," he writes. "Building a professional army of scientists and mathematicians is precisely the wrong kind of educational emphasis required" to change that.
It was Weber who wept so preemptively over specialists without spirit. That too many of our middle school voluptuaries without heart can't get into good magnet schools is another missed opportunity for a photo op and a bad speech.
James, You put that quite well. But what is this New York Times award?
Dave, this is the picture-perfect portrait of the hopeless and squandering and self-congratulatory official esteem I saw coming in the State of the Union when the New York Times bestowed upon me their Most Unusual Conservative Criticism Award. How many of these kids at our Thomas Jefferson Institutes of Warp Drive Studies can recite any of this redheaded stranger's famous lines, or conduct an educated conversation about what they might mean? For the sake of our culture -- that little thing called Western Civilization, which will unfortunately not be salvaged by adopting Chinese and Indian levels of technocratic proficiency -- the Parkland kids should put their Presidentially-plumped math and science skills to good use -- and build themselves a time machine.
President Bush visits the Parkland Magnet Middle School for Aerospace Technology today to discuss his American Competitiveness Initiative. The absurdity of the federal government promoting "competitiveness" aside, what is this school?
As best as I can glean from its website, like all magnet schools it attracts students with particular interests and skills. Such programs seem particularly well suited to high schoolers. The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is one well known and excellent magnet school in Northern Virginia. But why on earth would we ask 11-year-olds to specialize in aerospace technology? If college students need a balanced curriculum of the arts and sciences (and they do), then middle schoolers should also be generalists.
On the 100th anniversary of the
Georgia acted on immigration today. From the broad outlines of the Reuters article, this bill accomplishes at least two things: 1- Highlights the inability of the federal government to act on what is essentially a federal issue, 2- Advances the discussion in a constructive manner. Possibly a third: limits the extent to which illegals receive a free-ride from our social welfare state. Remember -- they're not just here to do jobs for which there is a demand (in the overall labor market... Americans will do them, but probably not at those wages), they're here for the services they don't get at home. Until they're documented and working within the law, they're not paying taxes. And that situation taxes the rest of us.
Please remember the UN as you recover from the ordeal of tax day. We send the UN billions every year in dues and "voluntary" contributions to its many organizations.
By the way one very high-profile organization, the UN Disarmament Commission, has three new vice charimen: Uruguay, Chile and -- wait for it -- Iran.
USA Today looks at what abortion policy would look like if it were returned to the states. It's an interesting picture, but the authors are a little too attached to a Deeply Divided Nation storyline:
The result, according to this analysis, would be less a patchwork of laws than broad regional divisions that generally reinforce the nation's political split. All but three of the states likely to significantly restrict abortions voted for President Bush in 2004. All but four of the states likely to maintain access to abortion voted for Democrat John Kerry.How would those regional divisions "reinforce the nation's political split?" Wouldn't returning abortion to the states actually undermine red-blue polarization by removing a divisive social issue from national politics?
File this under the If You Care category: the Pulitzer folks have awarded the journalists who most undermined national security of the last year: James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times for the terrorist surveillance story, and Dana Priest of the Washington Post for the secret prisons story.
Well deserved: public service awards to the New Orleans Times-Picayune and Gulfport Sun Herald for their Hurricane Katrina coverage. Heck, the Times-Picayune staff evacuated its offices for weeks and still put out an impressive web product.