Science Education & Policy

I have seen creeping into recent discussions of the TV show ‘Cosmos’ the idea that we scientists, because of our greater knowledge and understanding of how the natural world works, will somehow be intrinsically better when it comes to dealing with matters of ethics, politics or religion.  I beg to differ.

In Science Left Behind I wrote a segment about a national discrimination issue that was eroding not only science, but the very notion of fairness in our culture.

No, it wasn't the lack of Republicans in faculty jobs at universities. It was instead that, for decades, schools had been using skin color to routinely impede the chances for the best students to get admitted. They were using racial profiling to skew who got to attend.

This wasn't 1950s Alabama, it was - and is - mainstream academia from the 1970s on.
Apparently the EPA has not yet discovered how to do a video conference.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that Administrator Gina McCarthy will promote President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and leave a cleaner environment for future generations by doing an Earth Week Tour, flying around to talk about how we should cut emissions.

She likes to fly. When she is not flying around to save all of us from emissions, she is commuting to Washington, D.C. weekly from her home in Boston.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries has decided to adopt a national recreational fishing policy, a move greeted enthusiastically by sportfishing and boating enthusiasts, who have been urging efforts by the National Marine Fisheries Service to advance and protect saltwater recreational fishing.

Small, independent businesspeople want more centralized, remote decision-making? Absolutely, when the alternative is up different states all being lobbied by activists. 
Environmentalists generally regard people as the enemy, but that is a mythology only held by urban fundraisers working for environmental corporations. In actuality, sportsmen are some of the biggest protectors of the environment. They are even more protective of the environmental than the US Environmental Protection Agency, they are just more practical and not motivated by the latest political fads.


Photo credit: Brendan Burns.
Link: Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska.
Between 2000 and 2010, native-born Californians had fewer children and a giant chunk of the middle class fled the state, but California's population still grew by 3,390,000.
A decade ago, science academic was worked into a holy war by the belief that President Bush hated science. What were the reasons? They are hard to remember now. He federally funded human embryonic stem cell research for the first time - but he limited it to existing lines.  That was a big one, for people who were never voting for a Republican anyway. 

It was a more gullible time. Political activists had no trouble at all spreading the belief that it was a "ban", something that would be impossible today, because we learned how to read and use Google since then. 

10 years later, White House acceptance of science has not only not improved, it is worse than ever, and no one outside the kookiest fringes is blaming Republicans for it. 
Here,  the concepts and theories behind FIER (pronounced as "fire") are explored  to better understand why FIER is an essential step towards quality education. The article starts with an introduction of FIER's abstract components, proceeds on  accountability in teaching and learning processes,  and ends on setting student-centered learning outcomes, the learning style-based outcomes (LSBO).
I was cautiously optimistic when Dr. Ernie Moniz was tapped as Energy Secretary, for two reasons. First, he wasn't picked because he was obsessed with CO2 and $9 a gallon gas, the way Steven Chu was, and second, he had political experience. 
Kansas Republican Mike Pompeo, a Congressman from Wichita, is behind a bill to create a national standard for mandatory for review of GMO foods by the FDA, called the"Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act."

What? Have Republicans gone over to the anti-science dark side too? No, Pompeo sides with science and recognizes GMOs are safe. He says this is more to cut off state ballot initiatives popping up across the country, which are invariably hijacked by homeopaths, alternative medicine gurus and the $29 billion organic industry to claim a facade of 'food awareness' but really are just warning labels for competitive products.