November 26th, 2013 by Brandon Haught
A documentary film class at the University of Central Florida is creating a short film, “Filthy Dreamers,” about the efforts of fundamentalist activists and lawmakers in Florida who tried to ban books on the teaching of evolution at public schools and colleges in the 1920s.
They have a website for a fundraising campaign so the students can afford to buy the materials they need as well as pay for film festival fees so people can see the final film.
From the fundraising website:
In the late 1920′s a controversy sparked about the teaching of evolution to women students at Florida State Women’s College. Nearly 100 years later, public figures and activists are still trying to control curriculum in public schools, colleges and universities. The students enrolled in this Honors class through the University of Central Florida aim to educate and inform our viewers about the long history of censorship in the classrooms, the libraries and around the campus.
As of this writing (11/26/13), they have raised $210 of the target $1,500. And they have 15 more days left in the fundraising effort.
A previous film from an earlier class was called The Committee and it was about efforts by the Florida Legislature to remove gay and lesbian teachers and students from the classroom during the 1950s and 1960s. It won awards and was screened at film festivals around the country.
November 19th, 2013 by Brandon Haught
Creationism is being taught at the University of Florida! No, not really. That’s just Pastor Short. Creationist exhibit on Plaza of the Americas causes controversy
Ten-foot tall posters displaying creationist beliefs stirred up controversy on the Plaza of the Americas on Monday and left many students arguing.
The display was part of a three-day exhibit by traveling pastor Tom Short, said Megan Lisle, an 18-year-old UF anthropology freshman and member of Gator Christian Life, which helped bring Short to UF.
Megan Anderson, a 22-year-old University of North Florida elementary education junior, took a semester off to intern with Short. She said the mission was to spread the creationist point of view, “because you aren’t taught that in school.”
November 4th, 2013 by Brandon Haught
H. Roy Kaplan, an educator for more than 40 years and a U.S. Department of Education “Hero of Education” for his work in Tampa Bay schools, wrote an opinion column for the Tampa Bay Times advocating strong science education. He confuses the Next Generation Science Standards with Common Core (which are actually separate efforts) but his message is positive nonetheless.
One of the great strengths of our society is our freedom to debate such issues. But the time for debating has passed.
Modern science acknowledges the veracity of evolution. It lies at the very foundation of biological science and has illuminated our scientific and social perspectives, enriching our lives through understanding our past and lighting the way to our genomic future. And scientists around the world have issued numerous reports documenting the disadvantageous effects of man-made global warming. Recent estimates predict a rise in oceanic water levels in this century between 3 to 6 feet.
October 29th, 2013 by Brandon Haught
Florida Citizens for Science vice president Jonathan Smith has a letter to the editor in the Lakeland Ledger.
The statewide meetings on Common Core Standards that Gov. Rick Scott attended recently has proven to be the fancy icing on the rotten cake that has become the Florida state education system. [...] Math and English are at the forefront of this debate, yet science education has once again been swept under the carpet as a secondary subject.
Meanwhile, Paul Cottle says in his letter to the editor in the Tampa Bay Times (and also at his Bridge to Tomorrow blog) that we should strive for higher goals in science education here in Florida. His letter is in response to an editorial in that paper entitle Florida’s scores: not bad.
I would like to challenge your assertion that a little above average in math and science is good enough for Florida’s students. [...] In math and science, Florida must aim for the level that Massachusetts presently occupies if it is to have a healthy middle class in the future. Anything less will represent economic surrender and a bleak future for the state’s children.
October 22nd, 2013 by Brandon Haught
Homeschooling. I don’t have a big heartache with it. There are plenty of reasons why parents may want to give their children a different educational experience than what can be found in the public schools. But when I see this (Bradenton Herald article: Home-schooled option gains favor in Florida), I just bang my head against the wall:
“She attends a home-school facility that teaches the A Beka Academy curriculum, where she takes required classes (English, math, science) three days a week.”
A Beka? No. Just no. If you don’t know why I’m discouraged, search their website for biology texts.
This teachable, readable, and memorable book presents the universe as the direct creation of God and refutes the man-made idea of evolution.
September 15th, 2013 by Brandon Haught
My book (Going Ape: Florida’s Battles over Evolution in the Classroom) has inched a bit closer to the publishing finish line. The copy editor had hacked and slashed my writing to bits and shipped it to me to stitch back together. After a couple of weeks full of crying and cursing, including a week-long “vacation” from the office that was spent slaving away from dawn to past dusk, I finally revived my creation. It looks much better now. The wordy fat is trimmed away. Meandering narratives are straightened and strengthened. And all the embarrassing errors are rooted out, hopefully. Today I shipped the manuscript back to the copy editor who will do a final bit of tweaking. Then it will be shipped off for typesetting!
September 8th, 2013 by Jonathan Smith
As most of you already know I have a preponderance for writting and submitting Op Ed’s and letters to Florida’s newspapers. Once in a while I am contacted by an individual editor and actually asked to write something that is relevant to science education in the state. Two weeks ago I received an e-mail from a newspaper (who will remain nameless) to comment on the current turmoil in Florida’s education system since Tony Bennett’s departure and how I thought it would effect science education in the state. I wrote the Op Ed and decided to use a Cosmological Black Hole as a relevent analogy. This is not unusual practice (see Paul Cottle’s piece on Bridge to Tomorrow) My editorial was rejected by the newspaper with the comment that “my scientific terminology was beyond the comprehension of the average reader in Florida” I can assure you folks that an average 6th grader should not have had a problem with it. I can’t reproduce the editorial at the moment, due to the fact I have offered it to another newspaper. If it remains unpublished, then I will and let you decide