June 2006 Archives

I am in the process of leaving Georgia, but Georgia will never leave me. I feel that my time working on science activism with Georgia Citizens for Integrity in Science Education (GCISE) has benefited my state. It was through our efforts that the press learned what was being done to our science standards by the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE), and that the GADOE was lying about it. (My op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was the first to bring it to light.) Because of GCISE’s vigilance, public outcry forced the GADOE to pass standards with descent support for evolution.

Over a year or so ago, a teacher came to us at GCISE, asking for help. Her administrators were trying to force her to compromise her teaching, and she was standing up to them. We provided what support we could, but in the end her best support came from the state standards. Now that she has retired, the NY Times is telling her story: Evolution’s Lonely Battle in a Georgia Classroom.

Ms. New was summoned to a meeting with the superintendent, Dewey Moye, as well as the principal and two parents upset about her teaching evolution. “We have to let parents ask questions,” Mr. Moye told her. “It’s a public school. In a democracy people can ask questions.”

Ms. New said the parents, “badgered, got loud and sarcastic and there was no support from administrators.”

Babs Greene, another administrator, “asked if I was almost finished teaching evolution,” Ms. New recalled. “I explained to her again that it is a unifying concept in life science. It is in every unit I teach. There was a big sigh.”

“I thought I was going crazy,” said Ms. New, who has won several outstanding teacher awards and is one of only two teachers at her school with national board certification. The other is her husband, Ward.

“It takes a lot to stand up and be willing to have people angry at you,” she said. But Ms. New did. She repeatedly urged her supervisors to read Georgia’s science standards, particularly S7L5, which calls for teaching evolution. …

Suddenly the superintendent was focused on standards. Mr. Moye called the state department’s middle school science supervisor and asked about evolution. “Obviously the State Department of Education supports evolution,” Mr. Moye said in an interview. …

Ms. New said that from then on, including the entire 2005-06 school year, she had no problem teaching evolution. “What saved me, was I didn’t have to argue evolution with these people. All I had to say was, ‘I’m following state standards.’ “

This is why strong science standards are so important for overwhelmed teachers. They give teachers an easy way to resolve curriculum issues in their favor. Of course, in an ideal world all teachers would have the time and patience to teach their parents and administrators about evolution. However, teachers will be the first to tell you that the world is not ideal.

I am glad that I was a part of the campaign to improve Georgia’s standards. And I hope that you will get involved in your state.

The weather in Seattle has been absolutely perfect. It hasn’t rained once since I’ve been here. Today the sky was especially clear allowing me to see Mount Rainier from Seattle. Today was also the last day of my classes at the Summer Institute for Statistical Genetics. To celebrate, I took the bus to the Chittenden Locks in Ballard, a very popular tourist site and the place where taking photos while brown makes you a terrorist. Luckily, I’m pasty, or you wouldn’t be able to see the pictures below.

The Chittenden Locks have both a small lock and a big lock that work 24-7 year round to allow traffic into and out of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Here’s a picture of some boats in the lock.

The locks have a fish ladder to help the salmon swim past the locks to spawn. The ladder has a viewing room where people can watch the fish swim and takes photos.

To help smolts make it safely out to sea the locks have installed special shoots to help them get safely over the dam.

After seeing the locks, walking across them and back, I walked about a mile along Salmon Bay to where it empties into Shilshole Bay and a couple of restaurants are found along the docks. I decided to eat at Ray’s Cafe which is the top floor of Ray’s Boathouse. I decided to eat a whole Dungeness crab, which did not come cheap.

From my table there was a beautiful view of Puget Sound and the mountains of Olympic National Park. I could have had an amazing sunset picture if I waited two hours.

After I ate my crab, I walked back to the locks and hopped a bus back to campus and my dorm room. The day was still clear enough that I could get photos of Union Bay and Mount Rainier.

Well after getting 2 hours of sleep last night and about 2 hours of sleep on the plane ride, I am finally settling into my spartan dorm room and going to bed. The plane ride was uneventful. However, it took me nearly two and a half hours to get to my dorm after the plane landed. The shuttle van had no idea where I was going, surprisingly since my destination was one of the options on their website. I now worry about the return trip to the airport.

The ever frugal Prof. Steve Steve refused to buy a ticket and instead rode in my luggage. He says the darkness of the cargo hold wasn’t a big deal, but I don’t believe him. He is very excited about the possibility of sneaking away from me and rolling the Discovery Institute. I keep telling him that it is not going to happen, but he does seem determined.

Any way, we’ve got to get some sleep. I have to wake up early morning and learn some MCMC. I leave you with a photo of the view from the window of my dorm room.

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1. I became a Doctor, successfully defending my dissertation: “Studies in Theoretical Evolutionary Genetics.” As soon as I make some changes to the dissertation, I am done. Come August graduation, I’ll be a Triple Dawg.

2. We’ve come to an agreement to buy a townhouse in Raleigh. It looks like I will be moving mid July.

Happy Flag Day

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Also known as Reed-gets-to-put-the-last-five-years-of-his-life-on-the-line day.

Tomorrow is the Day

Well my defense is tomorrow. There are still a lot of things that I need to do between now and then.

My new server arrives Thursday. I’ll try to put pictures and specs up.

I leave for Seattle on Sunday. Prof. Steve Steve is going to tag along again.

Defense in a Week

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I’m on the list.

6/14/2006 Time: 2 :00 pm

Reed A. Cartwright , PhD Candidate, Genetics

“Studies in Theoretical Evolutionary Genetics”

Room B118, Davison Life Sciences

Major Professor: Wyatt Anderson and Paul Schliekelman

Deep Sea Fishing Picture

I promised you that I’d have a picture of the fish we caught in the gulf.

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(left) Me, my dad, my brother Brian, and my uncle Charles

Back from Fishing

Last week I turned in my dissertation to my committee and promptly left for Florida to go fishing with my dad and brothers. Tiffany came with me but left early because she had to work and go to class on Tuesday. We stayed in Spring Creek at the sea house of my aunt’s boyfriend, who is a good friend of my dad. (He is also the father of one of the creators of Terrapin Beer.) We went fishing in Oyster Bay for a few days and then went deep sea fishing in the Gulf on Tuesday.

While deep sea fishing I caught six keepers: two red groupers, a black grouper, a trigger, a snapper, and a grunt. (I’ll have pictures later.)

Here is a picture of Tiffany and I playing with the heads of two red drums caught in Oyster Bay after she learned to clean them.

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