Saturday, March 12, 2005

A Nation of Clones

If you want the news, all you know about is Michael Jackson and the killer in Atlanta.  Foreign policy, health, environmentalism, and education seem to have dropped off the national radar.  Does anyone know, for example, that a UN committee just recommended a resolution to ban human cloning?

True to form, we here in the USA don't seem to care about the UN. 
Illinois cuts testing on 1 of 3 R's
ISAT drops writing, plus social studies

By Diane Rado
[Chicago] Tribune staff reporter
Published March 11, 2005

For the first time in more than a decade, Illinois students no longer have to take substantive writing exams or tests measuring their knowledge of fundamental principles of U.S. government and history--the result of some of the most severe state testing cutbacks in the nation.

The cuts are playing out this week, as hundreds of thousands of grade school children take the Illinois Standards Achievement Test used to judge school progress.

The state's 3rd, 5th and 8th graders are taking only reading and math tests, and 4th and 7th graders are taking only science tests. Next month, high school juniors will take pared-down exams in reading, writing and math, the only tests required under the No Child Left Behind federal education reforms. [...]
Illinois had to cut something, I guess.  They estimate that getting rid of history, government, and some writing tests will save six million dollars.  Instead, they will concentrate on testing that requires mostly rote memorization.  I guess the skills required for critical thinking are not a priority for this government.  Nor, apparently, is knowledge of government or history.  I actually did not realize that before now.  NCLB does not require testing about government. 

After all, if the People know something about government and history, they might be able to criticize the government.  Can't have that, can we?  Let's force them to spend all their resources learning stuff that does not contribute to informed political discourse. 
[...] national social studies organizations are alarmed at what they see as a retreat from such critical subjects as U.S. history, geography and economics, which they blame in part on the narrow testing focus of No Child Left Behind. [...]
It seems that we are set to defy the UN once again.  They vote for no cloning, and here we are, constructing an educational system that does nothing but produce propaganda-ready clones.