Reporter, Katie McDonough, writing this week for Salon on-line, let us know that a high school science teacher, Tim McDaniel is currently being investigated by Idaho’s professional standards commission. Why? Easy, it is because McDaniel allegedly used the word “vagina” while teaching a 10th grade biology lesson on reproduction and anatomy.
That’s right. Science is to be de-bowelled under the new ‘standards’ conquistadors who look to assure that right-wing reactionary religious zealots stand arm in arm in assuring no critical thinking or understanding of the human body is to be taught to children in the United States.
According to a report from Idaho’s Magic Valley News, four parents evidently complained to school officials after learning that McDaniel explained the biology of an orgasm and used the word “vagina” during a lesson on human reproduction in his sophomore science class (http://www.salon.com/2013/03/27/high_school_teacher_under_investigati).
But that’s not all. A disciplinary letter from the Idaho State Department of Education also accused McDaniels of showing a video clip in class depicting an infection of genital herpes and teaching about different forms of birth control. Ignorance of the body, failure to learn about reproduction rights and birth control will assure that reactionary religious zealots make sure that students will become ‘breeders’, for of course the argument is that if there is birth control then there will be the occurrence of unbridled sexual relations. This is the ignorance that is stifling learning in schools, but it really is nothing new.
Where’s Obama and his educational kitchen cabinet, made up of Bill Gates, the Lumina Foundation and capo Arne Duncan when it comes to assuring that students not have a clue of how reproduction occurs or how their own bodies work? They are busy militarizing schools, closing schools, guaranteeing that school to work becomes the mantra of education and burying teachers unions, that’s where they are.
Yet if this was not enough, McDaniel also found himself in the cross hairs for asking his students to write a critical response paper on climate change after showing them “An Inconvenient Truth” (ibid). ‘Inconvenient’ it certainly was, for McDaniel and his students, that is.
Thankfully McDaniel’s students are defending him, arguing in a petition that parents from their conservative community in Dietrich are trying to push a political agenda by getting their biology teacher fired. The students wrote:
“[T]here are a couple people in the community that are trying to get Mr. McDaniel fired for teaching the reproductive system, climate change, and several other science subjects. All these subjects were taught from the book and in good taste. He cares for each of his students and goes the extra mile to help them all. Now is the time for us to help by supporting him!”
McDaniel says he is perplexed by the accusations, telling Magic Valley News:
“I teach straight out of the textbook, I don’t include anything that the textbook doesn’t mention. But I give every student the option not attend this class when I teach on the reproductive system if they don’t feel comfortable with the material. This sort of thing makes you worry about what you teach. That’s not right” (ibid).
McDaniel should not be perplexed or surprised. The ginned up right wing cabal of Fox News watchers, Christian Coalition followers and Rush Limbaugh “ditto heads” know exactly what they are doing. This is all part-and-parcel of the new Digital Dark Ages where ignorance is not just bliss, it is necessary to control both body and mind. We can only hope that McDaniel’s takes an even more militant stance and begins to organize, with his students and communities in Idaho to come out forcefully against the repeal of the Enlightenment and the force-fed obedient school agenda being handed to students and teachers alike.
As to the professional standards commission and the Idaho State Department of Education that have placed science, students, teachers and thinking in their rifle sights, they should adamantly reject these four parent’s hatred for critical thinking and education and come out publicly in the defense of thinking and learning. If they do not, then they will be little more than enablers in the dismantling of thinking in favor of ignorance.
But don’t hold your breath. The reactionaries are well organized and can count on the “organs” of the government and right wing media to beat McDaniels over the head while they push a militant pro-ignorance campaign on Idahoans and their youth.
Welcome to the Age of Irrationality where thinking is subversive and ignorance is held tight to the vest.
Special thanks for this news goes to Katie McDonough, who is an assistant editor for Salon, focusing on lifestyle.