Political Correctness in Education: It’s getting out of hand

March 31st, 2012

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If there’s one thing I don’t care for, it’s political correctness: the forbidding of certain words, concepts or ideas because they might offend or the forcing of topics to be dealt with in a manner that attempts to sugar-coat them to whatever extent necessary to stop people from being upset. Granted, it’s wrong to use overtly offensive terminology or derogatory practices, but sometimes you have to deal with the fact that reality is not as everyone wishes it was.

It’s always been a problem in education, but recently it’s gotten way way out of hand, and it seems to be happening around the world.

In the UK, schools are now banning children making “best friends.”

Via the Sun:

TEACHERS are banning schoolkids from having best pals — so they don’t get upset by fall-outs.
Instead, the primary pupils are being encouraged to play in large groups.

Educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni said the policy has been used at schools in Kingston, South West London, and Surrey.

She added: “I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn’t have a best friend and that everyone should play together.

“They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they’re learning to deal with it.”

Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, confirmed some schools were adopting best-friend bans.

First, I’d like to know how you can ban kids from having a “best friend,” although I can see how you could force them to drive their unacceptable relationship underground. I wonder what the punishment is for making a “best friend” or not spending equal time with all. And what if you’ve already established a friendship before entering the school?

This is the height of absurdity on every level. It’s perfectly natural for some kids to gravitate toward a play buddy or have a friend who is closer than the rest. Most people have a small inner circle of close friends who they associate with more than the rest of their peers. Clearly some of these relationships will end, either because kids drift apart or because they have an argument or falling out. That might or might not be unpleasant, depending on the circumstances, but really, that’s just life.

I’m not entirely surprised by the policy, however. It seems to be perfectly in line with where society is going.


In New Jersey and elsewhere, it’s hugging:


Via ABC News:

New Jersey School Bans Hugging
The 900 students at Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School in Cliffwood, N.J., will have to find another way to show affection after the principal declared the campus a “no hugging schoolâ€.

Principal Tyler Blackmore issued the mandate after the school observed “some incidents of unsuitable, physical interactions between students,†the school district said in a statement.

“We have a responsibility to teach children about appropriate interactions and about having a structured, academically focused environment,†David M. Healy, superintendent of the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District, said in a statement.

Healy said the students, who range in ages 11 to 14, would not be suspended for hugging.

Matawan-Aberdeen joins the company of a handful of schools across the United States that have instituted no hugging rules.

West Sylvan Middle School in Portland, Ore., banned students from hugging in 2010 after the principal said the embrace had become a disruption and even a bullying mechanism.

“I was observing students hugging other students and the other students didn’t feel comfortable,†principal Allison Couch told ABCNews.com at the time.

Girls eager to see each other would also run the length of the hallway, hugging all of their friends, she said.

A 14-year-old student at Southwest Middle School in Palm Bay, Fla., was suspended in November for a brief hug he shared with a female student between classes.

Nick Martinez said he hugged his best friend, a female student, and never thought the gesture would result in suspension. The principal saw the hug and brought the two students to the dean, who issued a one-day in-school suspension.

In this case, I will acknowledge that there may be a legitimate need to provide some basic rules for physical interaction. Certainly touching someone, even if it is considered a “hug” can be unacceptable if it’s done in a manner that is uninvited. Furthermore, I’m sure we can all remember incidents from Junior High and High School where students engaged in public displays of affection that were disruptive and bordered on downright obscene.

Still, banning “hugging” in general is a pretty extreme way of dealing with interactions, especially if the act could lead to something like a suspension. I wonder if there’s any exception for extreme circumstances. After all, hugging someone seems to be a natural response to a traumatic or emotional situation. If a close friend confides that “I just found out my mom has cancer,” it would be hard to fault them for wanting a hug, and the idea that this could lead to a suspension is pretty ridiculous.

Perhaps there should be some kind of committee to approve of each hug and grant a hug permit based on the circumstances?

In the UK, some US states and elsewhere in the world, it’s red-colored ink:

When correcting and grading papers, teachers often use a colored pen to make their statements stand out and mark areas that need improvement. The most common, of course, being red. But this, apparently, is no longer acceptable in many areas. The color, it seems, is just too upsetting, or so it has been said.

Via the Mail Online:

Teachers banned from using ‘confrontational’ red ink in case it upsets children
Hundreds of schools have barred teachers from marking in red in case it upsets the children.

They are scrapping the traditional method of correcting work because they consider it ‘confrontational’ and ‘threatening’.

Pupils increasingly find that the ticks and crosses on their homework are in more soothing shades like green, blue, pink and yellow, or even in pencil.

Traditionalists have branded the ban ‘barmy’, saying that red ink makes it easier for children to spot errors and improve. There are no set government guidelines on marking and schools are free to formulate their own individual policies.

Crofton Junior School, in Orpington, Kent, whose pupils range from seven to 11, is among those to have banned red ink. Its Marking Code of Practice states: ‘Work is
generally marked in pen – not red – but on occasion it may be appropriate to indicate errors in pencil so that they may be corrected.’

Headmaster Richard Sammonds said: ‘Red pen can be quite demotivating for children. It has negative, old-school connotations of “See me†and “Not good enoughâ€.

‘We are no longer producing clerks and bookkeepers. We are trying to provide an education for children coming into the workforce in the 21st century.

‘The idea is to raise standards by taking a positive approach.

‘We highlight bits that are really good in one colour and use a different colour to mark areas that could be improved.’

At Hutton Cranswick Community Primary School in Driffield, East Yorkshire, the Marking and Feedback Policy reads: ‘Marking should be in a different colour or medium from the pupil’s writing but should not dominate. For this reason, red ink is inappropriate.’

Shirley Clarke, an associate of the Institute of Education, said: ‘Banning red ink is a reaction to years of children having nothing but red over their work and feeling demoralised. When children, especially young children, see every single spelling mistake covered in red, they can feel useless and give up.’

Hmm.. interesting that a color would be considered so upsetting. I wonder if it’s considered “confrontational” if a teacher writes “A+” or “Great Job” on a paper in red? The ban, whether official or unofficial has lead to many teachers adopting a purple marker or pen for making correction and grading marks.

This brings up a an interesting question: just how much of the aversion to red is inherent to the color, which is, after all, the color of blood and has been associated with war in the past and how much might be just the fact that it’s traditionally used for correcting papers? If kids grow up being demoralized by seeing papers covered in purple correction marks, will purple become the new red? Will purple have to be banned next and will we have to go back to red?

Maybe one should consider what the ink says rather than its color. I’d take an angry red A+ over a subdued purple F any day!

In California, it’s dictionaries (Yes, dictionaries):

Why on earth would a school ban dictionaries? Because most dictionaries contain some terms that are taboo or even sexual. Just open a dictionary and start looking and you’re bound to find words like “penis,” and “sadism” or “prostitute.” Oh the horror! Obviously these dirty books must be banned.

Via the Guardian:

‘Oral sex’ definition prompts dictionary ban in US schools
Dictionaries have been removed from classrooms in southern California schools after a parent complained about a child reading the definition for “oral sex”.

Merriam Webster’s 10th edition, which has been used for the past few years in fourth and fifth grade classrooms (for children aged nine to 10) in Menifee Union school district, has been pulled from shelves over fears that the “sexually graphic” entry is “just not age appropriate”, according to the area’s local paper.

The dictionary’s online definition of the term is “oral stimulation of the genitals”. “It’s hard to sit and read the dictionary, but we’ll be looking to find other things of a graphic nature,” district spokeswoman Betti Cadmus told the paper.

While some parents have praised the move – “[it's] a prestigious dictionary that’s used in the Riverside County spelling bee, but I also imagine there are words in there of concern,” said Randy Freeman – others have raised concerns. “It is not such a bad thing for a kid to have the wherewithal to go and look up a word he may have even heard on the playground,” father Jason Rogers told local press. “You have to draw the line somewhere. What are they going to do next, pull encyclopaedias because they list parts of the human anatomy like the penis and vagina?”

It seems in this case, it’s not all dictionaries, just dictionaries that are not heavily censored to remove all references to anything that might be even slightly sexual in nature. It’s quite amazing, especially given that the definition of oral sex given is pretty straight forward and bland, saying exactly what it is without any graphic description at all. Still, some felt that the very acknowledgment that it existed negated the value of the dictionary.

So what if a 5th grader hears that word and wonders what it is? I suppose they’ll just have to ask their schoolyard friends or hit up a search engine. Yeah, I’m sure that will result in a much less graphic description.

Finally, taking the cake is New York City, which has proposed banning almost any word that seems negative, is associated with upper versus lower classes, might disturb someone, is divisive, refers to something scary, might be sad or is otherwise not absolutely politically neutral in every way:

The words are apparently to be banned from standardized tests specifically, but since those are what usually dictates how subjects are taught and what is put into text books, it’s likely to extend into the general curriculum. This apparently is part of a larger policy to reduce the use of terms that might “distract” some of the schools students.

Via SILive:

50 words banned from NYC school tests
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — You’ve heard of banned books? Get ready for banned words.

The city Department of Education is aiming to get 50 words removed from some city-issued standardized tests, and some of them are real head-scratchers.

Among the off-limits terms: “politics,” “poverty,” and “religion.”

The reasoning: The words might be distracting to segments of the city’s diverse student population.

….

Here is the complete list of words:
Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Bodily functions
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Celebrities
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
Crime
Death and disease
Divorce
Evolution
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Gambling involving money
Halloween
Homelessness
Homes with swimming pools
Hunting
Junk food
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Nuclear weapons
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Parapsychology
Politics
Pornography
Poverty
Rap Music
Religion
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Rock-and-Roll music
Running away
Sex
Slavery
Terrorism
Television and video games (excessive use)
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches)
Violence
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

This story has gotten so much attention that it’s likely that this will be reversed, because it’s so stupid! For one thing, it’s ridiculous to pretend that the world does not have unpleasant and controversial things in it. If you do, you’ve sheltering students to the point where they are being done an enormous disservice.

A number of subjects would be all but impossible to teach. I’m hard pressed to think of how it would even be possible to write a standardized test on history at all. Some of the most important events in history, which changed the way nations existed and resulted in revolutions were wars. You’d have a hard time explaining the 1960′s without mentioning the Vietnam War or the 20th century in general while ignoring World War I and II. It would be impossible to talk about the Great Depression, since poverty and homelessness can’t be discussed. Banning alcohol means prohibition is a topic that can’t be discussed. If you can’t talk about hunting, a very large portion of the life of Native Americans and early settlers is out, but I suppose you can’t really talk about them much anyway, because there was often violent conflict and oppression involved. Most of the 1800′s in the United States is out, since the Civil War, slavery and other taboo issues were big factors in history. The colonization of the US would have to be further restricted because many early settlers were tobacco farmers.

Biology would not fare much better. You can’t discuss death, so that would make it very difficult to describe life cycles or how the biosphere recycles material from dead organisms. With violence and hunting banned, any discussion of predators or food chain is impossible. Not being able to discuss disease cuts out a huge area as does the ban on anything related to sex. If you can’t discuss bodily functions, then philology and medical-related topics are impossible. The inclusion of evolution is not surprising, but assures that absolutely nothing important about biology can be taught.

Beyond that, you can’t teach much about computer technology or development if you have to pretend that a private user is never involved. Civics and government-related classes are out. I suppose you can still teach math, although you’d have to be very careful with any word problems or you might offend someone.

What A NYC Text Book Might Look Like:

Note: I hope I did not offend anyone with my use of red. Next time I’ll use purple so it does not seem so traumatic and confrontational.


This entry was posted on Saturday, March 31st, 2012 at 1:35 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, Education, History, Just LAME, Misc, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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22 Responses to “Political Correctness in Education: It’s getting out of hand”

  1. 1
    Anon Says:

    Praying to Google for Oral Sex got me the wikipedia entry as first result with most of the rest being tips on how it’s done (though I did get sites with safe sex information in the top ten so that isn’t such a bad thing, of course those who freak out over it appearing in a dictionary are probably just as much pro-STD as they are pro-abstinence).

    <sarcasm>I’m sure the parents who wanted it removed from the dictionary would love what their kids will get if they try Google to find out.</sarcasm>

    Though Websters is generally considered to be a bad dictionary, I mean it even misspells colour.


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  2. 2
    DV82XL Says:

    Well having come from a parochial school background I find some of these bringing back old memories. However most of them are mad. The red pen one takes the cake, one wonders what Richard Sammonds would think of Bro. Patrice and his leather strap. Most of us found it quite motivating.

    One also wonders what these prudes that find fault with dictionaries being too titillating think of the biblical passage Ezekiel 23:20

    Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.


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  3. 3
    Alan(UK) Says:

    I was blocked by the school from ‘Tracking Santa’ http://www.noradsanta.org/ on the grounds that the site involved WEAPONS.

    Do not believe anything that you read in the Sun or the Daily Mail.


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  4. 4
    Joffan Says:

    Mmm. I generally suspect articles of this sort of pandering to fake outrage. I have seen the wild exaggerations of press when reporting on nuclear power too often to take much of what they say literally and when they are not exaggerating they are often fabricating.


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  5. 5
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Joffan said:

    Mmm. I generally suspect articles of this sort of pandering to fake outrage. I have seen the wild exaggerations of press when reporting on nuclear power too often to take much of what they say literally and when they are not exaggerating they are often fabricating.

    Point taken, but some of these things are well verified and totally real. The frowning on red ink, for example – I do not know that it has been explicitly banned in many schools, but it has been discouraged and some districts have made purple markets standard issue. I know people in education and this is real. It is done to avoid being seen as “harsh” or “hurting feelings.”

    It was not that long ago that I was in public school and I can believe this happening because I’ve seen equally boneheaded decisions handed down from administrators to faculty. There was a point where they were talking about banning the exchange of greeting cards on school grounds,


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  6. 6
    L.Long Says:

    Political Correctness: The absurd idea that it is possible to pick up a dog turd by the clean end!


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  7. 7
    Gordon Says:

    Yes, I have heard of these kind of things. The wife of one of my friends is a school teacher and a department head. I remember a couple of years ago she told me about how the district had been trying to come up with a grading system that didn’t seem so harsh. They apparently believed that F for “Failure” made kids feel like they were a failure in life (as opposed to a test or class) and that they wanted a better indicator that would not hurt feelings and would seem positive. They were to switch to “I” for “Improvement needed” or something, because that was supposed to convey that there was potential to improve and that the student should be encouraged to do better next time. What they really wanted to say was something like “You didn’t do very well this time, but you are a good person and have the potential to do well and we’re sure you will.”

    She thought it was complete bull****. I have no idea whether they actually adopted it or not.

    God help these poor kids when they reach the real world.


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  8. 8
    Brian-M Says:

            Gordon said:

    They were to switch to “I” for “Improvement needed” or something, because that was supposed to convey that there was potential to improve and that the student should be encouraged to do better next time.

    Of course the first time gets an I on a test, their classmates are going to insist that the I stands for Idiot, so it’s not really much of an improvement. :)

    If they really want to get rid of the F, wouldn’t it make more sense to use E instead? It wouldn’t stand for anything, it’s just the next logical letter in the already existing sequence of descending test results.

    But they can do better than that. Over here (Australia) we’ve never bothered with American-style system of letter-based grades. We simply get our test results as a percentage.


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  9. 9
    Brian-M Says:

    * first time [i]a student[/i] gets an I on a test

    Damn these comments for having no “edit” button. :(
    (Or maybe I just need to proofread before submitting?)


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  10. 10
    hanmeng Says:

    By bringing your kids into the world, you are liable for all their future suffering. Better not have any at all.


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  11. 11
    Fixx Says:

    Well said Buzz. In particular I agree with your very first paragraph. Not saying poverty does nothing to end it and may actually promote it by increasing the ignorance of it’s existence. Banning words is a little to close to fascism for my liking.


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  12. 12
    Hatchet Says:

    I’m reading Steven Pinker’s latest book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” and the rise of overbearing political correctness is the most recent trend in the long decline of violence in our society. We’ve done a great job of reducing violence to never before seen levels but now we are turning our efforts to ever smaller scales of harm and in so doing, we’ve branded everything from Dodgeball to red ink as “too harmful” for our children. If we’re not careful, we’ll be rebuilding our entire infrastructure out of Nerf and using the phrase “double-plus ungood” in the near future…


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  13. 13
    Jeff Says:

    Hi. I just graduated high school two years ago. I agree most of this stuff is either happening or will but not all teachers are 100% onboard. Some of them don’t use red ink but use purple instead, but not most at the school I went to. It’s a trend though.

    At my school though starting in the 8th grade, gym teachers were told not to keep track of score when we played vollyball or basketball or soccer or whatever to avoid making there be a loser. That’s not true for the after school sports, but they do ban saying negative things about the other schools team. The gym teachers did keep score and allow us to anyway and laughed at how stupid the request not to have losing teams was.

    The one thing that makes me angry is they took away everything cool in the tech classes before I could take them. THey have an electronics class but when I was a freshman was the last year they were allowed to have soldering irons. They took those out the year after because they are considered too dangerous so we have to use solderless breadboard only. They also got rid of metal shop because that was just too dangerous as there was an arc welder and a milling machine. That all happened when I was a Freshman, so I’m a little envious of the kids a year older who got to take the classes when soldering and stuff was still allowed.

    Every year they came up with new rules either to avoid hurt feelings or dangers. We were not allowed to give any kind of gift or card to teachers the last year before I graduated. It made me feel bad because I wanted to send a thank you card to the teachers who wrote my college recommendations, but that’s considered a rule violation.


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  14. 14
    outcast Says:

    I’ll never forget when dodgeball vanished from the school I went to, appearently throwing nerf balls is “too violent” and “too dangerous”. No joke.


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  15. 15
    Shafe Says:

    TEACHERS are banning schoolkids from having best pals — so they don’t get upset by fall-outs. Instead, the primary pupils are being encouraged to play in large groups.

    Makes since, the government sees you not as an individual, but as a member of a group. The sooner they can get people to see themselves that way, the sooner they can stamp out individualism.

    New Jersey School Bans Hugging

    When you build schools to accomodate 6,000 kids, you can’t possibly hope to have any meaningful interaction with students on a one-on-one basis. You can’t make case-by-case decisions about the appropriateness of a hug because there are too many cases. You must treat children like (and view them as) cattle, herding them from class to class and lashing them if they step out of line.

    Teachers banned from using ‘confrontational’ red ink in case it upsets children

    This is a shame issue. My wife is frustrated by the push to avoid shaming students. As an elementary teacher, she has students making fart noises in class. Her favorite response is to ask in a concerned voice if the child needs to go poo-poo on the potty. The child melts in his seat while his peers chuckle at him, and he’s too ashamed to disrupt the class again. But that tactic is frowned upon, as though it’s somehow equivalent to asking the dyslexic kid to stand in front of the class while being berated for poor grades.

    50 words banned from NYC school tests

    That policy can’t possibly survive, not if a functioning society is to survive.

            Brian-M said:

    If they really want to get rid of the F, wouldn’t it make more sense to use E instead?

    If Freakonomics is to be believed, Chicago schools are using E instead of F. The documentary had to subtext the E with “Failing,” no doubt recognizing that no one would know what it meant.

    I remember sometimes being graded with another system where E was for “Excellent.” I think the other grades might have been P for “Poor,” S for “Satisfactory,” and I for “Incomplete.” I guess you couldn’t get away with that in NYC, “Poor” might be offensive to low-income people, and “Incomplete” might be offensive to lonely people.


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  16. 16
    outcast Says:

    Oh yeah, that reminds me, recently there has been a war on halloween and thanksgiving being waged by a school administrators across the country in order to avoid offending “other people’s beliefs”. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/14/halloween-costumes-and-ce_n_1010875.html


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  17. 17
    ebohlman Says:

    On the “unacceptable words” issue, it would be worth reading Diane Ravitch’s The Language Police (I haven’t read the whole thing, but I’ve read excerpts of it). One of the major points is that the Left and the Right are equally bad on such issues, but they get upset about different aspects of language (Ravitch herself used to be considered on the right-wing end of education issues and is now generally considered to be on the left-wing side, but I see little evidence that her positions have actually changed, which just goes to show how crazy the whole debate has become).

    One of the major themes I saw in many of the examples she gave was a tendency to take a principle that makes sense in particular circumstances and wildly overgeneralize it. One of her examples involved objections to a story about a blind mountain-climber who pulled off a major climbing feat, on the grounds that people with disabilities shouldn’t be portrayed as “heroic.” Now it is in fact quite obnoxious to portray people with disabilities as heroic for being able to make it through everyday life; “look how amazing she is! She can get herself out of bed and go to work!” (in fact, that’s obnoxious for the same reason it’s obnoxious to proclaim the fact that you walked down the stairs without falling down them and then cooked dinner without setting the house on fire as evidence for God’s existence). But that’s not what was going on in the story; the climber had accomplished something way beyond the reach of ordinary people, and it was right to celebrate it.

    Another example involved “regional bias.” It’s perfectly true that if you’re constructing a standardized test for nationwide use, you have to watch out for test items that people from some geographic areas would find easier than people from some other areas (unless the purpose of the test is to measure knowledge of a particular region). That’s because performance on such items won’t necessarily measure what the test’s purporting to measure (in technical terms, it lacks validity). But it makes no sense whatsoever to take that as meaning that you can’t have geography-specific references in a story that kids read; after all, the point of reading a story is to expand your knowledge, to learn about people and places you didn’t know about before.

    BTW, with the exception of the “no hugs” and “no best friends” rules, all of these problems have been periodically flaring up for at least the last 45 years. I can certainly remember other middle schools having “dirty words in the dictionaries” controversies when I was in middle school, 40-43 years ago.

    OT, but generally related to the delusion that one can alter reality just by talking about it differently, the US state of Arizona is on the verge of legally defining conception as beginning before fertilization.


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  18. 18
    Peebs Says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned ‘Evolution’ being on the list.

    Rather than red ink being banned it would probably be better to ban green ink, that would shut up the halfwits who try to bring in and enforce these edicts. (I’m not sure if you lot on the other side of the pond will get the green ink reference, traditionally mad letters to editors of newspapers are written in green ink. If you are aware then I apologise for patronising you. I’m English and we do patronising very, very well)


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  19. 19
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Peebs said:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned ‘Evolution’ being on the list.

    Yeah… almost goes without saying…

            Peebs said:

    Rather than red ink being banned it would probably be better to ban green ink, that would shut up the halfwits who try to bring in and enforce these edicts. (I’m not sure if you lot on the other side of the pond will get the green ink reference, traditionally mad letters to editors of newspapers are written in green ink. If you are aware then I apologise for patronising you. I’m English and we do patronising very, very well)

    I’ve heard of this, but it’s not a common thing in the Americas to associate green ink with that kind of thing. It didn’t even enter my mind until you mentioned it. It goes to show how culturally bound these things can be.

    Colors often have strange and contradictionary meanings in cultures around the world. Red, of course, can mean aggression, heat, danger, passion, love, sympathy. A red light can mean stop or mean an alarm or can mean prostitution or the sex industry. If you are “red” it could mean you are blushing with embarrassment or you are a communist.

    Green can mean environmentally sound, healthy, plant-related. Green can mean all is clear and go ahead, as with a green light. Green is also the color of envy. It’s associated with Ireland, with springtime and with seasickness. It can also mean money, especially in the US where bills are green. Being green can mean you are full of envy, you are sick and nauseous, you are an environmentalist. It can also mean you are new and inexperienced.

    And I’m sure these colors have even more meanings in other cultures that I’m not aware of.


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  20. 20
    » A New Vision for Teaching Science Says:

    [...] tommorrow's classroom (deangroom.wordpress.com) Recent studies from neuroscience and psychology suggest ways to improve science education in the U.S…" style="width: [...]


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  21. 21
    Dionigi Says:

            Brian-M said:

    * first time [i]a student[/i] gets an I on a test

    Damn these comments for having no “edit” button. :(
    (Or maybe I just need to proofread before submitting?)

    I think that scores an “I”


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  22. 22
    Matte Says:

            Dionigi said:

    I think that scores an “I”

    As in ‘Incompolete’?

    We had soldering irons and a band saw, a lathe, planer, bunsen burners, chemicals and even radioactive samples in middle school. No wonder kids now days shun engineering and sciences at school, they are not even allowed to titrate lemon juice with cucumber as the pH electrode is made out of glass (litmus paper is a big no-no too, don’t know why)?!

    My first unplanned explosion involved my dad and my gunpowder “stash”, I was out with friends at the time and could not be blamed…


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