14 Sep 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by yogurtinifairfax
Patch Instagram photo by yogurtinifairfax

Political Education: Virginia Legislators Drafting Textbook Edits, Curriculum Rules

Controversies over Sea of Japan/East Sea references and the value of the creationism debate in science class.

Political Education: Virginia Legislators Drafting Textbook Edits, Curriculum Rules
Two headlines out of Richmond this week will make you wonder what is going on in the classroom. Political debates are heating up over how Virginia classrooms will handle evolution and how textbooks will refer to a specific body of water on the other side of the world.

How much time should our legislators spend debating the substance of classroom curriculum? Tell us in the comments!

Virginia science teachers are trying to get ahead of a bill in the General Assembly that appears to foster questions about evolution. 

According to The Washington Post, the bill would direct school systems to encourage students “to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific controversies in science classes.”

Those "controversies" would include issues like evolution and climate change, according to the bill's author, Del. Richard Bell, R-Staunton. Opponents question the use of opinions and beliefs in the context of science education.

And there's another classroom controversy: how textbooks would refer to the body of water west of Japan. On the campaign trail, Gov. Terry McAuliffe advocated to include the  "East Sea" in reference to what is currently referred to as the "Sea of Japan," but Japanese trade partners are now balking at the change.

The Post notes, "It leaves McAuliffe with an unhappy choice: angering one of the state’s largest trade partners (Japan) or alienating a key Northern Virginia voting bloc (Koreans)."

Again, how much time should our legislators spend debating the substance of classroom curriculum? Tell us in the comments!


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