The stupidity of some school authorities

The BBC reports on a young lad, Rhys Johnson, who shaved his head to raise funds for a charity cancer. He raised several hundred pounds – and got disciplined by Milford Haven School. Why? Because his shaved head contravenes the school’s dress code. Seriously?

For starters do the authorities as Milford Haven School know this is 2013 and not 1813? I can understand some school regulations on appearance but find it hard to believe they are this Victorian-minded on things like a student’s hair. I’m not aware of any serious academic studies proving a link between follicle length of adolescents and cognitive abilities. I’d imagine they think this sort of petty rule enforcement ‘makes better, more disciplined students’. In fact it pretty much tends to make most schoolkids think their teachers are buffoons and idiots who delight in imposing inane rules just to annoy their powerless young charges and makes it more likely they will grow up with a strong distrust of authority figures (mind you, that is not a bad thing!). And then to enforce the letter of this rule even in a case like this? This shows astonishing inflexibility and utter stupidity from those in charge at that school. A young boy does something to help raise money for charity, to do something good, school punishes him for it. Way to teach a valuable lesson there, you utter, moronic, rule-bound idiots.

Some 250 of his fellow students walked out in protest at this injustice – the school authorities say they are “disappointed” at their actions. Again, really? Disappointed that so many of your student body saw what they perceive to be an injustice and stood up publicly with their fellows to make a stand against it? Excuse me, but aren’t those the sort of values we want to teach our children??? Do something to make the world a bit better, see injustice and stand up in opposition to it. Good for Rhys, good for his fellow students, utter shame on the hidebound, inflexible fools who are supposedly educating them.

Creationist whackos get science teacher fired

Yup, once more the intellectually feeble throwbacks who constantly espouse ‘intelligent design’ (which is basically the utterly discredited Creationism dressed up in laughably bad science clothes) have made a move to decrease the IQ of the world a bit more: they used a flimsy excuse to get a science education officer in Texas fired. Christine Castillo Comer’s crime? She forwarded an email as an FYI which she had received from one science educational professional to some interested groups about a talk by an author in the area, an author who has looked into the fake ‘science’ these Intelligent Design wankers keep trying to sneak into school curriculums while also trying to have evolutionary teaching curtailed (no, they haven’t realised the 19th century is over).

Her boss’s boss dropped her in it claiming simply forwarding this message was tantamount to the education board endorsing it, which is ridiculous since she didn’t express an opinion, simply passed on details of a scientific talk to science professionals. Besides which anyone who works for a government department or large corporation knows full well their emails are usually issued under a ‘the ideas expressed in this email do not necessarily promote the ideals of the blankety blank department’. Interestingly enough this boss is a political appointee – a Bush-loving one. And the head of the board openly endorses Creationist nonsense and talks yet hangs out one of his science professionals for simply passing on details of a talk involving scientific matters to other scientific professionals.

Sadly this sort of attack on actually using our brains to logically interpret massive amounts of careful scientific date amassed over many decades by many people from paleontologists to genetic researchers is not confined to a few religious crackpots in Jesusland (as Richard Morgan terms the Texas area in his recent novel Black Man) since there have been attempts to push this nonsense in schools in the UK too. This really does infuriate me – NPR has a radio interview with Christine on their site and the whole thing stinks of a political-religious set-up for these right wing fundamentalist eejits to shove someone out the way so they can then install a new person who will agree with their retarded ideology. And if you are a Creationist don’t bother explaining to me why your view point is valid, because it just isn’t. You’re entitled to hold your view but please feck off and don’t inflict it on others much less try to infect schoolkids with your idiocy. If you believe this crap you are an anti-intellectual moron brain-washed by fundamentalists who like using their religion as a way to gain more control over people and what they can say or think – and that’s the nub of it, these idiots don’t just believe this fairy tale nonsense themselves, they demand it be taught to the rest of us. Thankfully the few attempts here have been laughed at in much the same way as trying to each that the Earth is flat would be, but these idiots keep trying… (link via Boing Boing)

Exams

Just had a quick look at Matthews blog – he is suffering from that dreadful pestilence on humanity, examinations. I would have to agree with him that exams are a very poor way of ascertaining the quality of a students knowledge. I was fortunate in that most of my work on my honours course was course work, essays, dissertation and the like. The authorities forced us to have at least a couple of subject each semester measured by the old fashioned exam method. Our psychology lecturer spent a semester telling us why that system was a ridiculous way to ascertain knowledge and understanding. The discovered his subject had been picked that year to be the exam-not-essay sacrifice. He nicely removed the subject of psychological implications of stress from the exam as he figured that the last thing we needed in a stressful exam situation was to answer a question on stress.

So I do have some sympathy with Matthew and, after all, moaning about actually having to do studying and coursework is an essential part of any degree work. Gives him an excuse not to be writing his Firefly piece for the Alien. Sorry, Matt; couldnt resist a wee dig while you are down. And it is nice to see Firefly finally coming to the UK SciFi Channel. Pity it is after the show was canned. Matt has sung the praises of this last effort by the god-like Joss Wheddon for a while now and must be getting excited that at least it is going to get some UK exposure, even if it is posthumous. Firefly, Farscape, Wtichblade – why is it all these damned good shows keep getting cancelled while vacuous garbage like Fear Factor and Temptation Island go on?