Monday, April 10, 2006

the meeting was 4 HOURS long, but thank goodness for the air conditioning that passed by from time to time.

But for the moment, it looks like Intelligent Design has a narrower back door to get through.... because as I watched the board debate the issue, after the mountains of people voicing their opinions, I noticed that the original advocating board members proposed striking out the last line of the debate and replacing it with the last line already established in the current state standards. And that was rather suspicious to me. Why make such a redundant move when you could have just struck the whole thing out, and abide by the standards anyway?

That was just one part of it though. The beginning was rather boring. After all, the board members had other things on the agenda, like budget, and school programs and such, and that was interesting, but the reason that this small room for 63 was packed beyond what the fire code would allow, was science policy #401, and the debate was clear even before the meeting started. For instance, some jackass at the beginning started yelling, "This is a public forum, we should ALL have seats in order to have our say..." (followed by cries of "herehere!") over and over and over again in a loud (sorry to say, rather retarded) voice until someone else told the board just to ignore him at which point he retorted "who the HELL are you?" and that's about as tense as the night got.

Everyone then proceeded to their seats and the meeting started. After all the essentials were out of the way, it was 401's turn, and first the public was allowed to speak. I'd say there were upwards of 200 people at that meeting, because it had been announced on the News earlier in the morning.

Among the first to speak was the head of the local high school Science Department, and he essentially laid out all that he could in the 3 minutes he was given, and asked those who supported him to stand up. More than half the room did so, and that was a good feeling. But I reminded myself that there were still another 50+ people signed up to speak. Myself among them. Point after point was made, and our side kept reinforcing the definition of science, and how it should be taught in our science classrooms. Essentially, "this policy is a back door for intelligent Design, Intelligent Design is not science because science is this, this, this, and this."

and then it was my turn. I don't have a degree in biology or nuclear physics like some of these other guys had, so I just got up there and tried to explain what my issue as a student was with this policy. I pointed out again that time and time again, this policy has been revealed to be nothing more than a new way to use ID to indoctrinate creationism among the students. And that by connecting the board's existence with the government, I was able to point out that this board was under the law to not pass this policy on the grounds of the 1st amendment, which the board was subject to. You know, the typical rebellious student argument.

wasn't that great an appearance as I am horrible with public speaking. I ought to have brought note cards up or something. Ahh well, there were others that underlined the case I had put forward. So that was a good feeling.

Their points were the same tired arguments that had been refuted backwards and forward up down left right and through the anus. "this is critical thinking" the leader of IDnet New Mexico, Rebecca Keller who is the leading ID proponent in New Mexico saying that they did not represent ID per sey, but that they'd like to see this policy remain. Pathetic. But then there were people who also tried to admonish the teachers for not blindly enforcing this policy "as educators" and that it was "frustrating for them as parents" that the teacher could not "teach" properly. And boy, did the science teachers get furious. During the recess that took place between the arguments, and the actual debate among the board members, the advocates of both sides were at each other's necks. Especially the science teachers. Me? I hung out with the physicists, and did a lot of Eavesdropping.

It's interesting to note that most of the room got quiet after a few minutes. I suspect this is when all the IDiots (sorry, I had to incorporate that somewhere) ran out of arguments, and stumbled back to try and start again x)

anyway, after the recess, the board took the debate into their own hands. The first proposition was that of striking out the existing line, and replacing it with the line stated in the NM state science standards. That reasonable people would disagree with the origins of species, the cause of the big bang, etc. Which is a good standard to abide by... however if it's already there, why on earth would you include it again word for word in the standards? That's why I remain suspicious... again, it's not a full victory, I think that we're just getting somewhere finally. The second proposition was to keep it the way it was because there was nothing in the policy currently that suggested ID (despite half of the proponents of this policy being members of NMIDnet) but what really shut this moron's face is when one of the other board members got engaged in a dialogue with him that went something like this,

Board member 1 (against rescinding) : I think our staff is more than capable enough to discuss all issues among the students if the studnets should bring them up.
Bard member 2 (for rescinding) : You think our teachers are qualified to teach the origins of religions deriving from Islam, or that they are qualified to discuss the book of mormon in the classroom if they should bring them up? And what about the dozens of Indian Pueblos in the area? Are we going to ask our teachers to step out of their boundaries to teach that which ought to not be taught in a science classroom?
Board member 1: I think our staff is capable of that, yes. It encourages our students to think critically.
Board member 2: how do you think that this is possible, when their fields extend only to those that they study in?
Board member 1: well... it's something we need to figure out.

at this point, the whole room erupts in laughter. You mean you did not figure this out before? Genius mister board member! A slap in the face to you, and a revelation that you have no god damned clue about what you're talking about. It was about ID the entire time, and you know it. "The only indoctrination that's happening here" I said, "is the indoctrination of religion that's happening in this board meeting. This is a public school system. Religion has no place in it."

Hopefully, the rest of the board members will realize how redundant their actions today were, and they'll bring the policy back to the way it originally was before August 23rd.

Rio Rancho Public School Science Policy wrote:
... When appropriate and consistent with the New Mexico Science Content Standards, Benchmarks, and Performance Standards, discussions about issues that are of interest to both science and individual religious and philosophical beliefs will acknowledge that reasonable people may disagree about the meaning and interpretation of data.

that was adopted this past August, and is the controversial phrase.

now the above line reads:

New Mexico State Science Standards wrote:
Understand that reasonable people may disagree about some issues that are of interest to both science and religion (e.g., the origin of life on Earth, the cause of the Big Bang, the future of Earth).

adopted August 28th of 2003. The above standards have been acclaimed nation wide as some of the best state standards to ever come out of schools. Why change it? Why make amends when no amendment is needed? Why? Because there was a hidden agenda, that's why. There are some people who would rather have students be subject to ID ideology because "Evolution is a theory and not a fact" or (and this was the biggest ignorance of the meeting) the board member touting that there is NO fossil record supporting transitional species. I don't know where he's been the past few days, but a recent article in Nature would probably disagree. Anyway, that is my rant about tonight. I had to post it somewhere, and here seemed like a good place.

If you've read thus far, thank you very much :p


They caught me on camera by the way, so my opinions reached beyond the ears too of those who were actually at the meeting. And that's pretty satisfying. ^^

1 comment:

Kim Johnson said...

I think you did an excellent job - including getting a good shot on TV ;-). The standard will not be revisited again until after the election. Hopefully, the board mix will change by then.