Only So Many Hours in a School Day

Every class hour spent indoctrinating students on the politically fashionable topic of the day is an hour less spent on math, science, English — knowledge that would serve them well in an economy that prizes technical skills and the ability to think critically. You’d expect that to be obvious, wouldn’t you? Alas, it isn’t. From Jim Manzi at the National Review’s Planet Gore blog:

A recent article describes a schoolwide presentation on global warming done at the Towanda Senior High School in rural Pennsylvania. For all practical purposes it was political indoctrination. It presented impending disaster created by man-made global warming as a foregone conclusion and, par for the course, ended with “things you can do to help.”

With no apparent irony, the presenters (who by the way “received technical training to become experienced presenters using a computer-based slide show” — I guess this means learning how to hit the forward arrow in PowerPoint) told the students to “act as if they were jurors in deciding their positions on global warming…listen to the evidence, weigh the evidence and make an informed decision.” This, however, was a special kind of trial where only one side gets to present a case.

Now the funny thing is that if you look up the performance of this school in actually, you know, teaching science, it’s pretty striking that 60 percent of 11th-graders fail to perform at even a “proficient” level in math.

Maybe they ought to have a school-wide presentation on algebra II.

In isolation, something like this is probably pretty harmless, but this kind of indoctrination is happening at schools all over the U.S. every day.

According to the NAM’s 2005 survey of small and medium-sized manufacturers, more than 80 percent of manufacturers experiencing an overall shortage of qualified workers, and 46 percent report that skill levels are poor among current employees.