Sunday, January 22, 2017

Are POTUS claims fair game for CER exercises in public schools?

Part of inaugural parade route via NPR: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The Next Generation Science Standards focus on doing science--making observations, drawing inferences, making claims based on evidence and reasoning.

It's unfamiliar to students who are used to being schooled, and it's unfamiliar to teachers who are used to schooling.

As much as I have grumped about the particulars of NGSS implementation, I am a huge fan of its underlying foundation--teaching students how to discern the natural world through careful examination of evidence and the models we create to make sense of that evidence.

And here we are, with an administration blatantly disregarding obvious facts, even trivial ones, if they challenge Trump's worldview of himself.

  • Trump did not draw the largest crowd ever at his coronation inauguration.
  • The number of Metro riders was not greater on his day (Friday) than Obama's 2013 inauguration--it was about 27% lower if my arithmetic is right. (And my arithmetic is more right than most of Trump's cabinet picks.)
  • Nowhere near a million people attended Trump's inauguration.
  • It is very unlikely that "probably everyone" of the several hundred CIA employees gathered to hear his speech had voted for him.

So here's a question to my fellow teachers--will you use these blatant examples of out-and-out lies as authentic test cases for claim/evidence/reasoning exercises?

I was initially going to ignore the noise, but given the power of the source of the misinformation and the availability of public records that allow us to check the evidence, I'm now leaning towards using the administrations own words for such an exercise.

A primary function of public schools is to maintain an informed citizenry, no?


Jenny said...

I think my students, almost of all them 1st or 2nd generation immigrants, all of them students of color, and many of them living in poverty, would not be shocked at to identify this man's statements as lies. Some of my family members in Texas, on the other hand...

Anonymous said...

Know you will bd doing it at your own peril. As obvious as it seems that this is a golden opportunity to apply evidence testing and examination of logic (validity and soundness of reasoning) to dissect this veritable cornucopia of fallacious statements and self-serving perspectives, you should prepare yourself for a shitstorm. It will enrage some students, parents, teachers and administrators; a few parents will even complain to the principal and the Board of Ed that you are politicizing science and proselytizing your political views. I'm not saying "don't"; just expect a shit storm, your car may get keyed and maybe even your tires slashed, on top of getting called into the principle's office. Because how dare you challenge a New Order that demands to be its own judge. After all, "Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception." and therefore." But if you don't, many of these kids will be lulled into swallowing whole old lies dtessed as newnew 'truth': "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." God bless you Michael. Your brother Al

Sue VanHattum said...

I would recommend including stuff from a number of presidents of both parties. Address the issue of 'authority vs evidence.' Yes, there are way more examples from this evildoer, but there are also examples from people we might feel affection for. It allows students (and the parents who look at your handouts) to address the issue, even if they are (gag) pro-T.

Science in the City said...

I like the idea of including quotes from various presidents. I would love to use it as a real life, critical example but I'm afraid to to touch it in the the very diverse district where I teach