Just a few bits and pieces that I thought I might share with you today.
The Knowledge Paradox
“As modern humans, we have access to more knowledge than anyone, ever. Even the poorest, most uneducated person has more quality information available to them today — in public libraries and on the internet — than the richest scholar with packed mahogany bookshelves from bygone eras. And yet, paradoxically, deliberate ignorance has become one of the biggest threats to our fragile democracies. In the past, we needed to worry about uninformed voters, those who didn’t know much about politics. These days, we need to worry about the much more dangerous misinformed voters who are often wrong, but never uncertain.”
Brian Klaas, American political scientist and contributing writer at The Atlantic.
Meanwhile, in Florida, Of Course
A Florida teacher is under investigation by the state’s Department of Education after she showed her students an animated Disney movie that has a gay character.
The fifth grade teacher, Jenna Barbee, screened the comedy-adventure Strange World, a movie that tells the story about a family of explorers, to give her fifth-graders a break after exams. One parent, who happens to a member of the Hernando County School District, objected to the film’s inclusion of a gay character, which she said constitutes illegal “indoctrination” under state law.
Barbee said the movie focuses on humans’ relationship to the environment, which was why she chose to show it to her class after a section on ecosystems, plants, and animals. She said a subplot about a boy having a crush on another boy never crossed her mind before screening the film.
A spokesperson for the school district said, “While not the main plot of the movie, parts of the story involves a male character having and expressing feelings for another male character. In the future, this movie will not be shown.”
This situation is due to Florida’s “Parental Bill of Rights,” dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which was signed by Florida’s self-descibed “anti-woke” Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, last year. The law bars classroom instruction related to sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. In April, the Florida Board of Education approved an expansion of the ban to all grades.
Shannon Rodriguez, the county school board member who reported the showing of the movie to state education officials, said that the teacher “showed a movie that wasn’t sanctioned school material, thus stripping the innocence of my 10-year-old.” Seriously, Shannon?
Barbee had submitted her resignation a week before the incident due to “politics and the fear of not being able to be who you are” in the Florida public school system.
Of course, being Florida, this action should come as no surprise. It was in Florida where an art teacher was forced to resign after projecting on the screen a picture of Michelangelo’s 600-year-old sculpture of the biblical figure of David. I wrote about that here.