Don’t Give Up Your Fingerprints Lightly

Would you trust your school with your fingerprints?

The Iowa Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would allow the use of fingerprint scanners in school lunch lines.
Sen. Frank Wood, D-Eldridge, led the support for the bill, arguing that it gives schools useful options for managing their lunch programs. The measure passed 40-9.
Parents would have to approve their children using the scanners, which would replace tickets or cards for participants. The fingerprint record would be required to be erased once a student no longer attends the school.

This is one to which all parents should just say no.
Apparently more traditional methods of payment will be available so just use’m.. There is no justification for the use of what should be very private biometrics to buy a school lunch. these programs have been easily managed with cash, tickets and cards for years.
On the other hand, why the heck does it take legislative approval to approve business practices within a school system. One of the huge problems today is legislative micromanagement in all aspects of our society.

Both are reasons to keep your kids out of public schools or, for that matter, any other schools based on the same herd the cattle model.

Already Holding Pens

Some private myth focused schools are busy looking for dupes in Pennsylvania about which Myers says:

That’s 777 students getting a sub-standard education in the sciences, and $4,083,200 getting flushed down a rathole. It’s an odd situation, where the wealthy yank their kids out of the public schools and put them in an expensive pit of ignorance by choice, and at the same time fight to underfund the public education they’ve abandoned and turn the schools the poor and middle class rely on into holding pens. We all lose.

No quibbles with the first part of the above and a couple with the latter part.
First, if it is the wealthy that are sending their kids to these private myth based indoctrination centers then we can expect that the wealth will disappear. The kids thus trained will not have any skills beyond the use of force to retain their privileged position.
Second, it is not a matter of turning the public schools into holding pens. That is what they have been for the last century. Luckily some kids do well in spite of the system and go on to be successful professionals and scientists. But for all students, especially the 60 to 70 % who do not achieve basic proficiency in reading, math, science or writing skills, the public school system is and has been little more than a set of holding pens, glorified and overcrowded day care centers.

As an education system public schools are a dramatic failure and need to be completely redone.

Conflating Creation Myths With Understanding

This question and answer session might be ok if it were couched in terms of understanding a work of literature or historical fiction:

They are trailing Rusty Carter, a guide with Biblically Correct Tours. At a large, colorful panel along a wall, Carter reads aloud from a passage describing the disappearance of dinosaurs from the earth about 65 million years ago. He and some of the older students exchange knowing smiles at the timeline, which contradicts their interpretation the Bible suggesting a 6,000-year-old planet.
“Did man and dinosaurs live together?” Carter asks. A timid yes comes from the students.
“How do we know that to be true?” Carter says. There’s a long pause.
“What day did God create dinosaurs on?” he continues.
“Six,” says a chorus of voices.
“What day did God create man on?”
“Did man and dinosaurs live together?”
“Yes,” the students say.
Mission accomplished for Carter, who has been leading such tours since 1988. He and the other guides counter secular interpretations of history, nature and the origin of life with their own literal reading of the Bible. And they do so right at the point where they feel they feel science indoctrinates young people — museums.

In the context in which it is presented, though, it is fraudulent and, perhaps, borders on child abuse.

Update (2/20): Myers is right that it is time to go on the offensive:

This is an excellent example of a place where the public and scientists and our institutions ought to be going on the offensive: when one of these tour groups goes through, and some biblical studies major babbles stupidly and misstates a scientific fact, everyone around him should turn around and shout, for the benefit of the group, “THAT’S NOT TRUE!”

Update 2 (2/20): Kieren Healy recommends some related reading.

Learning the Long Known

Apparently these researchers have never attended a typical school:

Obese grade-school children are more likely to be the targets of bullying than their leaner peers are, a UK study suggests.
Researchers found that among more than 8,000 7-year-olds, obese boys and girls were about 50 percent more likely to be bullied over the next year than their normal-weight classmates.
On the other hand, obese boys were also more inclined to describe themselves as bullies.

The article goes on to describe behavior that is pretty obvious to anyone who has attended a grade school. Of course, they have an astute recommendation:

So besides the long-term physical health consequences of obesity, the researchers conclude, many overweight children may also face the psychological and social effects of bullying.
“This study suggests that parents, school personnel, and health professionals need to reduce the occurrence of this behavior and the social marginalisation of obese children at an early age,” they write.

But, there is nothing in the Reuter’s article that indicates that the researchers made any recommendation as to how to achieve this reduction. So I will: simply stop sending children to these institutions.

Report to the South Dakota Legislature

If this bill becomes law in South Dakota:

HB1222 would require each institution under control of the Board of Regents to report annually to the Legislature “on steps the institution is taking to ensure intellectual diversity and the free exchange of ideas.” It defines intellectual diversity as “the foundation of a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological and other perspectives.”

Then an appropriate report might be:

This institution supports a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of politcal, ideological and other perspectives. End.

Stupid legislatures deserve appropriate responses. They might, though, actually read a report that is this short.
As to the long list of ‘may includes’ I suggest the institutions interpret the ‘may’ exactly and ignore the list.

Via Instapundit who apparently thinks this silliness is a good idea though he is a bit more cryptic than usual. On the other hand he may be using the word moving to suggest a movement.