School for Stupidity

What in the Name of God is Bible Math?

By Lester & Charlie

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are approximately 57 million American kids in elementary schools. Shooters have killed 0.00012% of them in the last three years. But during that same time, 0.011% of other kids have been taught Bible math; 0.26% of them have been sent to jail and 9% of them attended schools where critical thinking is considered a tool to undermine authority. Some have been told to defend themselves against intruders with cans of corn, and many schools in Florida are not allowed to put narrative, fictional books on the syllabus.

With no disrespect intended, perhaps it's time to consider that school killings and educational underfunding, though vitally important to address, are just parts of a larger national educational crisis: stupidity.

The disapproval of teaching critical thinking skills in Texas became part of the GOP's platform in 2012 and states in part that:  We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority. No thinking for yourselves, children. As Euripides never said, "There is only one side to every story."

Then there's the macabre transmutation of teachers who, for generations, instinctively watched for children who might need special help --eyeglasses, home counseling or tutors. The modern counterparts of those teachers seem unhinged. Consider the Alabama kindergarten instructor who suspected a student of being a homicidal psychopath. During an art class, the student seemed to point a crayon at another student while making a "pew pew" noise. Clearly a premediated attempt at executing a classmate, right? That's what the school suspected as they whisked her off to sign a contract promising not to kill herself or her classmates. She then had to take a psychological evaluation to gauge her levels of wanting to hurt herself and how often she thinks of suicide. Experiences like that at the age of 5 could drive the person to suicide, no? And why did the kindergarten have anti-suicide/homicide contracts on hand?

From the great mind of Louisiana's Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, tens of millions of public school funds are being turned into $5,500 vouchers for parents who want to send their children to private schools. Nice, until you learn from the small print that just about any room with eight chairs can be called a private school, often run by impractical dolts who hide under the label of Christianity. Rarely having windows to look through or access to a playground, the kids spend their time in these rooms watching television and learning chemistry and math via Bible verses. Whatever that means. As one principal tried to explain, "We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children." Almost 2,000 of the 7,300 kids in the Louisiana voucher program attend these Bible-math type schools. Well, maybe they'll find jobs later for a company that needs people to do long division in Roman numerals.

Then there's Mississippi, a state that figured out a way to avoid teaching kids altogether by sending them to jail on minor charges. Caught chewing gum? Off to the big house, kid. As a bonus, the kids get to forgo a few of their Constitutional rights, like being locked up without probable cause charges, detained for more than 48 hours before a hearing, assigned no legal representation and read no Miranda rights. Hey, they're just kids, right? So the experience might be a good lesson in civics.

Whether or not a parent has common sense, one hopes they want their children's teachers to have some. Here's how that works: Last year, the principal of a school in Alabama asked parents to send each of their kids to school with an eight-ounce canned item -- to throw at the heads of any dangerous intruders. "If somebody is going to force their way through," she said, "then as the last resort you would start throwing any objects you could get your hands on." Such as cans of corn and peas. "We hope the canned food items will never be used or needed," she said, "but it is best to be prepared."

So let's recap. Eighty-four times the number of students viciously murdered in elementary schools since 2012 are being taught Bible math. Seventy-two thousand times that number have been shielded from critical thinking.

And a handful might be walking around with the Jolly Green Giant muttering, "Go ahead, make my day."

Published March 8th, 2016


Lester & Charlie earned oodles of fans through their videos, polls, and insightful commentary on Internet hubs like “Crooks & Liars” and “The Huffington Post.” Their essays on politics and alcoholism can be found at lesterandcharlie.com. Today, Lester & Charlie have a worldwide audience spanning five continents and whatever Iceland is. 
 
They have produced two books: “Please Stand By: Lester & Charlie’s 50 Favorite Television Test Patterns” and “ Losers: Lester & Charlie's Favorite Collection of Losing Lottery Tickets.” Each is surprisingly still available on amazon.com. They are currently working on their third book: “Lester & Charlie’s 100 Incredible Coffee Stains.”