Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kentucky! Motto: Oh Crap, We Are That Stupid

We're coming to you today from the Be Careful What You Ask For Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. BCWYAF is a division of the Ignorance Is Bliss Corporation in partnership with What You Don't Know Won't Embarrass You, NA.

It seems the legislators in Kentucky decided one fine day that it would be a good idea to show those elitist pinhead intellectuals that had been pointing and laughing at Kentucky since the governor got snookered by that bible salesman  that the state had a world class educational system.

So how'd that work out for you?

Kentucky's Senate Republicans pushed successfully in 2009 to tie the state's testing program to national education standards, but three years later, they're questioning the results. "Turns out our kids are clueless as a frog in a milk pail," said Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg.

Several GOP lawmakers questioned new proposed student standards and tests that delve deeply into biological evolution. "We're educating our children for 21st century careers here," said one republican aide who asked not to be identified because she didn't want her family to know she worked in the legislature. "Show me the Quickie Mart employee or the MacDonalds night manager who delves 'deeply into biological evolution' and I'll show you somebody that moved here from Ohio."

"I think we are very committed to being able to take Kentucky students and put them on a report card beside students across the nation," Givens said. "We're simply saying to the ACT people we don't want what is a theory to be taught as a fact in such a way it may damage students' ability to do critical thinking because the last thing we want them to be doing is examining scientific evidence when the bible just tells them what to believe."

Givens said he asked the ACT representatives about possibly returning to a test personalized for Kentucky, but he was told that option was very expensive and time-consuming because of all the research necessary in trying to figure out what a person living in the late 1700's would have known.

ACT vice president Ginger Hopkins, who appeared at Monday's meeting, did not immediately return calls seeking comment Tuesday but a spokesperson for his office explained that Kentucky shouldn't feel too badly. "At least they're not Louisiana," he said.

Another committee member, Rep. Ben Waide, R-Madisonville, said he had a problem with evolution being an important part of biology standards. "The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science — Darwin made it up," Waide said. "My objection is they should ensure whatever scientific material is being put forth as a standard should at least stand up to scientific method. Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny."

Eds note: We present the above quote for you in its entirely and wholly unchanged, because try as we might we couldn't make it any more stupid. For those of you wondering where Representative Ben got his degree in biology, it was from the University of Louisville, where they call a PhD  in biology a  BA in Health Science. Tomato, tomahto.

Givens said he was satisfied with the response by ACT officials and state Education Commissioner Terry Holliday that evolution was being taught as a theory. "I think the key is we could debate the science of this as long as we don't pay attention to the science, but we hope our kids understand the theories behind evolution," he said. "We think our kids need to be critical thinkers to be able to reason between the two, then pick the bible because we tell them to."

The proposed science standards would require students to complete such tasks as: Differentiate among chemical evolution, organic evolution and the evolutionary steps along the way to aerobic heterotrophs and photosynthetic autotrophs. "See, that's devil talk right there," Waide said. "Ain't none of them words in the bible."

Vincent Cassone, chairman of the University of Kentucky biology department, served on the committee that developed the standards also suggested that a test of basic scientific literacy be developed for legislators, but the idea was vetoed by the governor who feared setting a precedent of competence. "We make laws affecting education," he said in a statement, "No where is it stated that we have to be educated."

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