Friday, January 19, 2007

In Self-Defense

This is a response to a blog about ME in response to a letter I wrote to the Toledo Blade--posted in November by ? I'm so new at this I can't navigate backward yet to find out who he/she was. Afraid my post will disappear.

Wow -to be so infamous!
First of all, I never attended St. Catherine's so my would-be neighbor is probably mistaken. For her info, I am also sane.

Secondly, I never assume all republican candidates are "creationists" or Intelligent Design theorists --or even Christians or pro-life conservatives. (E.G. there is Betty Montgomery with whom I would agree about little--it made little difference if a democrat beat her this year) so I would not have assumed any Rebublican candidate (candidates? ) for state board of education shared any of my views --except for preferring the Republican party over the Democratic one. If the republicans listed a state board of ed candidate as their own, I missed it. The ballot, of course, stated no parties on the bd. candidates.

On another point, I wasn't blaming the media for the fact that I didn't know the state board candidates' positions --I WAS DISAGREEING WITH A BLADE ARTICLE that said voters had rejected Creation and ID science by rejecting those candidates. Wrong conclusion. Voters, in general, never know ANYTHING about state board of ed candidates and judges --because there is so little clear info available --usually by the candidates' intention. The less we know about them, they all figure, the less polarized we'll be in our voting. Candidates hope to get votes on the basis of name recognition from both sides of the liberal to conservative spectrum by keeping a low profile about their polarizing views.

There are certainly moderate and socially liberal republicans who do not share my support of the national party platform on family values issues --nor my views on the interpretation of scientific evidence re: origin of life. One might say that almost all creationists and social conservatives are republicans (for the family values issues) but you can't say all republicans are creationists --or social conservatives.

As for the internet telling me who was who running for state board --I called a Christian radio station that often discusses origins from a creationist perspective, and they didn't know --I went on line for the former Christian Coalition --and they had nothing about the State Board candidates that I noticed. And nothing came in the mail. I was not blaming media for my ignorance on that topic but for their wrong conclusion about the results.

Moreover, I DO blame media for their suggestions that the Republicans deserved to lose for their corruption--as if the Democrats had ever been known for clean hands --from the top down. Dems DO keep most of their high profile sinners in office.

Finally-- I helped to choose and support the superintendent who presided over gains at A.W. Schools. I also was the initiating voice on the board for the new performing arts complex --it was not in the original plans with the architect --and I said we were very much in need and that the community would agree and that if they wanted to get financial support for their gymnasium, they had better provide the other as well. I was right and we got it.

Moreover, I served 8 years when our schools' state reputation was not at all shabby -- and in my 3rd term election I was announced a winner in 2nd place out of 3 of 5 winners --until they decided the printer pak print-outs were defective and ordered recounts by opening the machines --at which I had no representation for the non-partisan offices of school board. So a digit was changed and instead of winning by 100 votes I lost by 100 votes in a close race, going from 2nd to 4th place. One winner was a Democrat lady who had a lot of political inside support through a politically connected family of Waterville. For all I know they had Bd. of Election ties (the counters) who favored my defeat. Had I gotten a lawyer, we could've made a stink about the lack of openness in recount --but I decided to take my time and energies elsewhere. I also didn't want to pay a lawyer after paying for my campaign materials.

As for me wanting to impose my fundamentalist religious views on the school-- I heard there was an activist liberal community group who went door to door against me, saying just such things. The politics of personal destruction at work, conveying an inaccurate impression.
Actually, there were 3 of the 5 board members who shared views with me --a concern that our children not be exposed to liberal social agenda --which they were, when sometimes R-rated movies were shown to under-age kids --when a pro-gay movie was shown in health class to 9th graders (Early Frost)--when a soft-on-drugs movie (The Breakfast Club) was shown in 8th grade English --when The Invisible Man, a book starting out with father-daughter incest episode as humorous, was on the reading list for 9th grade Honors English.

There WERE and ARE educators who think it is their duty to undermine the beliefs and social views of conservative religious folks by liberalizing their children through education. That has never been my view of what public educators should be doing to the tax payers' children. At least 3 of the women on the board during my 2nd term were in agreement with me on that subject.

As for creation science, I occasionally shared articles with the board to show that maybe the evolutionists were mistaken --on scientific grounds --ahead of my time since the state board was not yet addressing that issue. I never asked the school to NOT teach evolution --but to teach it as theory, without deliberately using it to promote atheistic view of our existance. I never proposed a policy on that topic. I understand that most laymen are ignorant of the nature of creation and ID science --and ignorant of the problems with evolutionary interpretation of evidence --and also assume that evolution is proven theory --when it is not.

I also objected when the social studies teacher said at open house in my presence that he was not concerned that kids know what happened when, but why. We see the effects of such teaching when Jay Leno does a Jay Walk and asks questions about American history. The what and the when provide a framework for discussing the whys. Since then, the national push to teach CONTENT and TEST for proficiency has helped schools such as A.W. become even more excellent.

Our board also got bad publicity for opposing Project Charlie, a drug ed./life skills program, but we talked to the hired evaluator of the program (hired by Project Charlie) and he concluded that students were no better able to make good decisions after the program than before --and that some made poorer decisions --because of the values-neutrality of the program. They spent inordinate time educating junior high kids about the names and categories of different drugs, their effects, the duration of the high, etc. --and we figured such sophistication was not in their best interests. They also had 3rd graders whirl around to get dizzy to demonstrate highs and put their heads down at rest on their desks to demonstrate the meaning of "lows." Their decision making model was abysmal --how to say no without having to resist peer pressure or risk friendships. Whatever happened to teaching the courage to do right?
Well, you got me started.....

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