Sunday, July 23, 2017

NYC Educator: A Lesson for Neil deGrasse Tyson

NYC Educator: A Lesson for Neil deGrasse Tyson:

A Lesson for Neil deGrasse Tyson

I've had great respect for Neil deGrasse Tyson ever since the first time I saw him on Bill Maher's show. I mean, here's a guy, smarter than me, smarter than you, an astrophysicist, an acknowledged expert in his field, speaking the unvarnished truth. Climate change is science, and science is real. Disagreeing with it is like disagreeing with gravity. Then one day, he posts this:

The rise of flat-Earthers in society provides some of the best evidence for the failure of our educational system.

Now there are certainly better interpretations of this statement. After all, there's no context here whatsoever. Is he targeting teachers? Is he targeting the system? Is he questioning Common Core, which claims to create critical thinkers but actually gets kids so accustomed to tedium they might spend several decades working at Walmart without killing themselves?

Frankly, those aren't the first thoughts that came into my mind.

The rise of non-education experts pontificating on education pretty closely parallels the rise of flat-earthers. 

How long have we been reading nonsense from Bill Gates? Does it precede the nonsense from Donald Trump? It's hard to say, but for me it's like stereo. Gates nonsense in the right ear and Trump in the left. A frustrating cacophony of garbage, spread through the entire United States. And not by teachers, but rather by a strangely incurious press. In a country where Fox passes as news and millions view it voluntarily, we have issues. But were they taught that in schools? Aren't teachers regularly vilified for being too "liberal?"

Massive unaddressed poverty cannot be addressed by the educational system, despite the best efforts of flat-earthers like @FakeBetsyDeVos 

Teachers in the United States are expected to singlehandedly overcome impossible home issues. Gates pretty much gave up on poverty, saying he couldn't fix that, but rather he could fix education. Of course he couldn't do that either. And what he's left us with is a junk science system under which we are judged by standardized test scores, a system deemed invalid by Tyson-level experts like Diane Ravitch and the American Statistical Association. Of course, Tyson himself doesn't seem to know that.

Flat-earthers ignore science just as educational reformies ignore research. But fine, blame the schools. Just like Trump and Trump Jr. 

Hey, everyone else does. Go ahead. Put out that statement, offer no context, and let everyone see it. You're an expert so you must be right. Never NYC Educator: A Lesson for Neil deGrasse Tyson:

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