Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If you live in Alberta, you have the right to be a retard.

When "freedom of thought" becomes "freedom of ignorance":

Frank Bruseker, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said parents have long been able to pull their kids from health classes dealing with sexuality. “However, the section on religion is potentially very difficult.”

Evolution, lessons about where oil comes from, astronomy and even the Holocaust suddenly become challenging topics to broach in the classroom, Bruseker said. “When those come up, how do I keep track, as a teacher, of which parents object to what things?”

Premier Ed Stelmach said the parental rights issue came from government MLAs.

“They wanted it in the bill, and it’s something there that’s supported very strongly in the legislation,” he said. “Caucus members brought it forward and wanted protection for parents.”

If passed, parents will be able to pull their children from lessons on evolution, Stelmach confirmed.

“The parents would have the opportunity to make that choice,” he said. “The parents, it’s their children, so they would make the decision, in keeping with the best interests of the child that they are raising.”

And stars? Nothing but holes in the firmament. Any other suggestion else might upset some people.

SURE, LET'S TALK ABOUT "SPECIAL RIGHTS": For quite some time, we've been listening to the batshit crazy right-wing demographic describe the fight for things like same-sex marriage as trying to give "special rights" to a group of people. And yet, in the example above, we have the ultimate example of a given group whining for the ultimate in special rights -- the right to be ignorant and not have to be held accountable for it.

I might be wrong but, as I read it, the new legislation gives parents the right to yank their kids from any class (or portion of class) with which they disagree. OK, let's follow that inanity and see where it takes us.

Let's assume that any student now has the right to blow off, say, the part of science class that deals with biological evolution. If that's true, then it wouldn't really make any sense to test them on that topic on the final exam, would it? Which means that those selective students would now have the right to get high school credit for a class for which they had the ability to skip any part that offended them, while their non-batshit-crazy classmates were still forced to learn all of the material and be tested on it. Does that seem fair to you?

Frankly, that strikes me as a pretty cool "special right" -- the right to say, "Thanks, I'll pass," to arbitrary portions of classes while one's classmates are still obligated to cover all of the material. "Special right?" No shit.

And what's worse is if none of this selective academic effort even goes on one's high school record, but if it did, then I'd actually be OK with that since it could (and should) be used to determine admission to post-secondary education: "A good transcript, Mr. Ross, but I see you opted out of evolution, geology and astronomy so, really, we can't admit you here since you're a scientific ignoramus. Next!" See, I'd be good with that. Personally, I'd be fine if you chose to be terminally stupid, as long as you paid a price for that. Then we're cool. But that's not the biggest problem here.

I'm guessing that the majority of cases submitted under that new legislation will be religiously-based since, let's face it, it really does take devout religious belief to be that criminally dense. But why should religious folks have all the fun? And the rights?

If one is allowed to withdraw from certain fields of study on religious grounds, then -- in the interests of fairness -- one should be allowed to do the same for any reason. Requiring an objection based only on religious belief is, once again, giving the God Squad a special right denied to the rest of us and, frankly, I'm getting seriously tired of discussions that run something like this:

A: "You have an obligation to do X, just like everyone else does."
B: "I don't need to -- I'm religious."
A: "Oh, well then, we're good, carry on."

I'm kind of tired of whiners who justify every damned thing with no one being allowed to offend their religious beliefs, when no one else gets the same freedom. To be fair, anyone should now be allowed to skip, say, calculus because ... well, they shouldn't need a "because", should they? Why should anyone need a reason? The reason should be no more complicated than, "Because I don't feel like it," because anything more complicated than that is gifting the devout with a right denied to everyone else. And that's just not fair, is it?

Yeah, I'm going to enjoy watching this play out. And I dearly want to see someone in Alberta test this new legislation by asking to have their kid excused from chemistry class because, well, just because. And when that excuse is refused, I so see a lawsuit in someone's near future.


Anonymous said...

Apparently you have the right to turn a perfectly smart kid into an ignoramus too! Because, as the worldly person of the world that you as an Albertan surely are, according to the PMO - you have the right to determine your child's edumuhcation. Ergo it's not even about the kid but all about you.

toujoursdan said...

Wow! Amazing.

You are correct in that this is a special right.

If parents want to tailor the curriculum to fit their religious beliefs, they should send their kids to a fundamentalist Christian school, not do it on the taxpayer's dime.

So when these kids aren't in a science, sexuality or history classes who is going to babysit them, and who is paying for that?

Ti-Guy said...

I'd be fine with this if I didn't know...know...that it's the rest of us who will end up paying for widespread ignorance and the fallout from the moral imbeciles who prey on the gullible.

We're paying for it now in stimulus/deficit spending as a result of widespread perfidy in a country we don't even live in and as a result of douchebags who vote against their own interests.

I'm looking at you, Oshawa...

Anonymous said...

How are Albertans going to maintain their image as a worldly people if parents have the right to condemn their kids to a life of ignorance?

I mean it could work but somebody's gonna leave the farm one day.

Perfidy is such a good word.

liberal supporter said...

It's just another attempt at poisoning the well. What they really want is abolition of public education. It saves a few tax dollars which can be better used on police and security. Plus we can better compete with the rest of the world in the race to the bottom, by having our very own enlarged underclass. Then in the long term we can have the CPC elites ruling their own, who are educated in the wingnut madrassas.

Boris said...

Hey man, I'm just here for the postpostsecondary edumuhcation. I'm hoping to get the hell out in another year or so. Maybe.

I just love how the creationists and anti-science zealots are selective in their ignorance. I mean the same scientific methods of observation and experimentation that provides them with the computers, cars, clothes, electricity, etc they use on a daily basis also produced knowledge of the stars, evolution, and climate change. To deny one, logically suggests they must deny the other. But since when did things like logic and reason have anything to do with people who can maintain cognitive paradoxes without batting a neuron.

Vision: 15-20 years after the dep/r/ecession, Alberta's boom is but a distant memory and so is all the talent than moved here with it, and a giant fundie Madmax dustbowl remains in its wake. The Saddle Dome is a gigachurch, and non-crazy people are sent to the Tar Sands as slave labour where they cut down the boreal forest and burn it to extract the oil from the mud.

mikmik said...

Alberta's average IQ reached its lowest point last(provicial and federal)election. I've heard enough "Stelmach may be giving away most of AB's wealth, but I voted for him because he's a nice guy" and "Harper may make mistakes, but at least he is smart".
It's like saying, "that guy robbing gas stores may be technically breaking the law, but at least he is resourcefull."

MgS said...

I don't think it's as broad as giving parents the right to yank their kids out of science classes because it offends their religion.

From the tabled legislation:

prescribed under that Act include
subject-matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation.
Although that allows the right wingnuts to excuse their kids from sex ed and religion classes, I don't think it gives them the right to yank them out of science classes that conflict with their beliefs.

that_chris_guy said...

Don't kids have a right to education in this country? Shouldn't it somehow be illegal to deny a child a (reality-based) education? In my mind, pulling your students from class to keep them from acquiring information is bordering on neglect/abuse.

Boris said...

"Stelmach may be giving away most of AB's wealth, but I voted for him because he's a nice guy" and "Harper may make mistakes, but at least he is smart".Translation: There are other political parties out there but I don't know anything about them and am afraid to learn because new knowledge might radically change my worldview in ways that I find disturbing and uncomfortable so it is easier for me to let myself kicked in the nuts by an encephaletic bull moose than admit that there might be something wrong with the creature.

KEvron said...

"I don't think it gives them the right to yank them out of science classes that conflict with their beliefs."

i still say algebra ain't kosher.


Anonymous said...

Was it really necessary to use the word retard? I'm giving you the
benefit of the doubt here but certainly you know that the word
retard used as slang is extremely hurtful to people living with
special needs. Before I had a child with a disability, I pretty much was like you. I don't know if I used the word but I certainly didn't flinch when I heard it. What's the big deal, right? It is a huge deal to people who have cognitive challenges. They get what you are saying and they understand that you are mocking them, even if it's
Anyway, thank you for hearing me out.