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Coming to Grips with the Federal Power

August 30th, 2005

I’ve written before that I worry about strong central government. I’ve argued the point before ACS folks, in law classes, and on my personal Blog. I do so knowing full well the consequences of a weakend Federal government. Reduced access to reproductive services in deeply conservative areas, less civil rights enforcement, more local corruption. All of these things are certainly bad… but I believe that a weakened Federal government also allows for stronger State governments who can step in and start cleaning up their jurisdictions. Personally, I think Washington State would be much better off if we didn’t have the Feds telling us how to manage our environment and economy.

But I have finally found the issue that has made me rethink my position: education. First, the obligatory cite to a secondary source for reference. Science article in today’s New York Times. Some of you are too lazy to read it all, some don’t have a NYTimes.com registration, so let me hit the high points for ya:

  • American adults in general do not understand what molecules are
  • Fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity
  • Only about 10 percent know what radiation is
  • One adult American in five thinks the Sun revolves around the Earth

Let that sink it for just a moment… 20% of the population believes the Sun revolves AROUND the Earth! And you’re all damned to Hell if you think otherwise. As the article correctly points out, this particular gem of a theory has been out of vogue since the 17th century. And wouldn’t you know it, there is a high correlation between these delightful beliefs and the apparently political salient belief that Intelligent Design should be taught side-by-side with Evolution. Thankfully ID will eventually subsumed by the likes of the Pastafarians, so I’m not too worried about that particular fad.

But I am supremely worried about the adequacy of education in this country if this is the norm. Granted, many of the people surveyed are old; educated by a different system in a different time. Maybe we’ve made enough changes to the education system to correct the issue. Or, possibly, the problem is so systemic and related to the American way of life that it cannot be excised. I don’t really know… but I do know that this particular problem isn’t going to be solved by the states alone.

Time to write my Congressman!

probonogeek Uncategorized

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