Wednesday, September 3, 2008

DeRamos '08: Science Platform

My fellow Americans (and various eavesdropping foreign web surfers, who are welcome too):

I had the privilege to go to a private school during my childhood, because of hard-working parents who made that possible. I received financial aid to attend a state college thereafter. I will go into more detail about my general education platform in a future entry.

Let me talk briefly about the role of science in high school education. Those on the Right want Creationism to have as much weight as the Scientific Method in public schools. Those on the Left want the complete story of Science to be presented in public schools. I feel that there can be a way to accommodate the need for strong science education while respecting an impressionable minor's personal faith (whatever that may be, or lack thereof), within the context of public schools and accredited private schools.

The private school I attended was a Christian, creationist school. Having heard the horror stories of subpar public school education, I find that my elementary and high school days were academically strong. (I didn't feel that way at the time.) In spite of the religious ideology of the school, the science department - in my opinion - was wise enough not to inject too much theology in the subject matter. My biology teacher, Mr. Snyder, taught us how the parts of a cell work - not how they came to be. He taught us how organelles work together to keep cells alive. He taught us about photosynthesis and ATP reactions and other things I sadly wouldn't recognize even if I read the Wikipedia summary. Anyway, there's a lot of deep and meaningful information in teaching the mechanics of things without tangentially going into scientific or speculative origins. If we studied hard enough, we would know how organelles and other stuff work. Information about how primordial organelles theoretically formed a commune in prehistory to create the complex cell wasn't part of Mr. Synder's syllabus, and neither was Day X of Creation, when God declared, "Let there be cells." (There may have been extra credit readings that delved into either evolution or creationism, but I don't remember doing much extra credit.) The mechanics of biology was already content-rich without the talk of controversial origins.

At the high school level, that is the important distinction. Our teachers must teach how things work, not why they came about. This origins debate is preventing the rise of our quality of education. For the time being, we must appease both extremes and sidestep into adequately meaningful territory. Our teachers must give students enough information for them to want to know more. Our universities and colleges (and even the so-called Internets) can take this information to the next level, whether it be in evolutionary science or creationist theology or some sort of esoteric philosophy. High school must not be the end-all-know-all for our children. It must be the bridge for better lives for the future of the American people.

Within the scope of science education, we should have sex education. Much in the same way high school microbiology should teach cell and virus mechanics without soapboxing about origins, high school sex education can take an academic approach. Namely, sperm + egg = zygote...yadda, yadda, nine months...a baby. There should be no (or very little) talk about how gametes evolved or were intelligently designed. However, in an age-appropriate discussion of sex education, options of birth control and making wise life decisions should be part of the lesson plan. This flies in the face of abstinence-only advocates, and the consequences of ignorance.

Teach our children as much as possible. Give them options, no matter how contradictory. Let them learn! Let them want to learn!

My name is Ryan DeRamos, and I support this message.

By the way, I'm still vetting the potential veep. In addition to the shortlist of Will, Blanca, and Rama, I want you all to check out Bill. Seriously speaking, he should run in the real world. He is one of the few conservatives to actually use (and live) the term correctly. Cheers!

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