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The Best of Our Knowledge
Mon January 2, 2006
The Best of Our Knowledge #798
Albany, NY – HURRICANES WREAK HAVOC ON STUDENTS AND SCHOOLS -
2005 will go down as the year of the hurricanes. All last Fall, we
followed the major impact three devastating hurricanes had on the
Gulf Coast area. Just as schools were reopening for the Fall term...
they were closing because of severe storm damage. Hundreds of
thousands of students (many homeless as well) were left without
classrooms. And the damage toll continues to climb into the billions
of dollars. But as 2006 begins there's hope on the horizon. More
classrooms reopen each week, and several universities are welcoming
students back for the Spring semester. Yet, with fewer students and
less revenue, some schools are laying off teachers and cutting program offerings.
Karen Hitchcock reports. (:45)
ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND TENURE CHALLENGES IN 2005 -
Another story we watched closely during the year were the seemingly
endless challenges to academic freedom. Most recently, a professor
at Indiana University in Pennsylvania claims in a lawsuit, that he was
denied tenure because he opposes the war in Iraq. We had Boston
civil rights attorney, Harvey Silverglate on The Best of Our Knowledge
twice in 2005. Silverglate said he's seeing more cases in which speech
is suppressed by political correctness. In July, TBOOK spoke with
Jonathan Knight at the American Association of University Professors
about academic freedom and tenure.
Glenn Busby reports. (7:41)
INTELLIGENT DESIGN AND EVOLUTION BATTLE IN THE
COURTROOMS AND AT THE BALLOT BOX -
In the story we just heard, the AAUP's, Jonathan Knight, twice
mentioned Intelligent Design. That topic continued to surface
throughout 2005. As recently as last month, a U.S. Federal
Appeals Court in Atlanta was hearing arguments on whether
Cobb County schoolbooks could carry a sticker declaring
evolution is a theory, not a fact. This case, like the recent
Dover, Pennsylvania case on Intelligent Design, is just another
one of the storm signals of new collisions between religion and
science, and between law and religion. TBOOK aired several
stories on this subject. Guests included John Calvert, Managing
Director of the Intelligent Design Network, and Dr. Sean Rice,
Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Yale. Last February, we
asked our reporter, Greg Dahlmann, to look into a just completed
Gallup Poll which found only one-third of the population thinks
evolution is well supported by scientific evidence.
Greg Dahlmann reports. (5:29)
ARE LIBERAL PROFESSORS ABOVE REPROACH? -
During this Best Of show today, we've heard about a Pennsylvania
professor who alleges he was denied tenure because of his anti-war
stance. And we've also mentioned the Intelligent Design trial in Dover, Pennsylvania. It seems that Pennsylvania is ripe for controversy.
Last summer, the Pennsylvania State House passed a resolution
allowing authorities to investigate charges of academic intimidation
by professors of state schools. Jeffrey Mann, an Assistant Professor
of Religion at Susquenhanna University in Pennsylvania joins us with
his new guest commentary, Are Liberal Professors Above Reproach?
Professor Jeffrey Mann comments. (3:10)
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND AND OTHER EDUCATION HEADLINES -
* In other news before we go, during the last year, there were numerous challenges to the No Child Left Behind law. Not the least of which were
two major lawsuits. One filed by the NEA last April, charged that schools
should not have to comply with requirements that were not paid for by the
federal government. A federal judge in Michigan has now dismissed that
lawsuit saying Congress has appropriated significant funding.
* Then in August, the State of Connecticut filed suit against No Child Left Behind. Just last month, the U.S. Department of Education asked a federal
court in Hartford to dismiss that challenge, arguing that Connecticut cannot accept money for the initiative without also abiding by its requirements.
* We'd also like to take this opportunity to wish a happy 8th birthday to MentorNet. Carol Muller and her staff have been doing a tremendous job networking women in engineering and science.
* And finally, jokes about Governor Dummer Academy, the oldest
independent boarding school in the U.S., are about to become history.
The school's board of trustees has voted to shed the Dummer and
change its name to The Governor's Academy. A group of alumni
fought to preserve the school's name as a tribute to William Dummer,
Acting Royal Governor of Massachusetts in the early 1700s.
Dr. Karen Hitchcock reports. (1:15)