LePage would be awful for education

Creationist Republican candidate for Maine governor Paul LePage has some terrible ideas on education. Last week he made this risible suggestion:

“Our program is going to offer high school students a choice — you can go four years at high school and get a diploma or go five years and get an (associate’s) degree,” he said. “We’re going to raise the standard for education in the state of Maine. We need to get our best and brightest out there and educated at the lowest possible cost.”

If I may – lol.

Right. Let’s just give away associate’s degrees. I mean, compressing two years worth of courses – most of which need to be taught by those with specialized, esoteric knowledge (not high school teachers) – into one year would totally raise the standard for education in the state of Maine. Or when a Maine high school student goes to take his terrible high school associate’s degree to an actual college or university and he asks if he can get credit towards a bachelor’s, he’s going to find that he suffered an extra year of low-level schooling for nothing. That’s because every other school in the nation (and I would hope even post-secondary schools in Maine) are going to laugh at that useless piece of paper.

LePage obviously hasn’t thought any of this through, unfortunately. But on the bright side, his lack of foresight and of general intelligence helps to explain why he’s now saying something different and superfluous.

LePage said the state needs to toughen its educational standards.

“We want to give our students an option — four years, you get a diploma or you can earn your associate’s degree with collaboration between the community college system and the University of Maine system,” he said. “It’s going to be tough; the kids are going to have to work harder.”

…wwwwhat? Community colleges and the UMaine system do work together – accredited schools tend to do that. Under LePage’s first plan from just a week ago (which I guess he has abandoned?), these two systems would have to lose a lot of credibility to work with high schools to just give away associate’s degrees. But right now it is perfectly possible to gain an associate’s degree at a community college which holds water when transferred into the UMaine system; the systems are already intertwined.

I highly doubt LePage actually thinks before he says anything.

Paul LePage is a creationist

Like several other states, Maine recently had its party primaries for governor. Three candidates have emerged as the overall front runners. Libby Mitchell won the Democrat primary, Eliot Cutler didn’t have to worry about any of that since he’s running as an independent, and Paul LePage won the Republican nomination. And that’s where the danger is.

Paul LePage isn’t too far from the ideals of the Teabaggers. He hates government, poor people, basic services, and most of all, education. In an interview from May 27, he was asked “Do you believe in creationism, and do you think it should be taught in Maine public schools?” Here is his answer.

I would say intelligence, uh, the more education you have the more knowledge you have the better person you are and I believe yes and yes.

It’s unclear what the word “intelligence” is doing in his answer as the concept is nowhere to be found.

Few if any who visit FTSOS are going to vote for LePage, I know. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to get the word out that he is anti-science. One way to do this is to buy a bumper sticker which reads “No Creationism in Public Schools. No to Paul LePage.

This is the last guy any state needs as a leader.

Determined beliefs at birth

George Smith of the Kennebec Journal recently wrote an editorial prattling on about the state of the Republican party in Maine. He lists some of the recent failures of the Republican party and even invokes some of the older ones, a la Nixon. This is standard for George Smith. But then he goes on to say this.

Having switched from Republican to Democrat to vote for Adam Cote in the Democratic congressional primary last June, I told a friend on Election Day that I had not switched back because I wanted to be on the winning team.

But in truth, I remain a Republican regardless of what is recorded on the town voter list, just as I am a hunter, angler and Methodist. These things were determined at my birth and I remain true to the path of my parents.

Well, isn’t that just an awful reason for holding a position? This is actually a rather serious issue, not just in America, but among most civilizations. People believe A, B, and C because their parents happened to also believe A, B, and C. That isn’t ignorant or stupid or inane. It’s silly. It’s plain silly.

George Smith, as usual, is offering up evidence as to why he isn’t interesting in thinking. Mommy and daddy believed in a magic skyfairy and so does he. More over, he believes very specific things about this skyfairy – the very same specific things as mommy and daddy. Can you imagine if science were conducted this way? We’d still be stuck believing the world was stacked on turtles or flat or specially created just for us. Okay, well, a large number of people are actually arrogant enough to believe they are so important that they were specially created and have an entire planet, nay, a whole universe, which was created specially for them and their like kind. Fortunately, the best way of knowing, science, is doing its best to combat such insanity.

What George Smith needs to do is stop and actually invest some thought into a topic. I presume he’s being rather tongue-in-cheek about angling and hunting, but it looks like he’s waded too deeply and come to discover himself lost in the woods of silliness by just blindly believing in but one of thousands of religions simply because mama and papa believed this one, too.