Tag Archives: National Science Foundation

$1M federal grant to train 24 teachers of ‘social justice’ math/science

“Social justice” is the new Marxism of the Left.

The supposed meaning of the term is that all people should have equal access to wealth, health, wellbeing, justice and opportunity:

  • According to Investopedia, the term “is broadly associated with the political left, and in the U.S. its advocates are mainly found in the Democratic party, particularly in the party’s self-identified progressive and socialist wings.”
  • According to the Heritage Foundation, “Originally a Catholic term, first used about 1840 for a new kind of virtue (or habit) necessary for post-agrarian societies, the term has been bent by secular ‘progressive’ thinkers to mean uniform state distribution of society’s advantages and disadvantages.”
  • Stripped of its utopian gobbledygook, the best and most succinct definition of “social justice” is Urban Dictionary‘s: “A euphemism for an economic mugging by political force.

Whatever the definition, “social justice” is a normative term; it’s about values — what is just or unjust.

Mathematics and science, in contrast, are not about values; neither is about just or unjust, good or bad. The American Heritage Dictionary defines:

  • Mathematics as “The study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols.”
  • Science as “The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of [natural] phenomena.”

In epistemology, “social justice”, “mathematics” and “science” occupy entirely separate and different domains of truths: Social justice is normative; mathematics is analytic; science is empirical. Simply put, there is no such thing as “social justice mathematics” or “social justice science”. 2+2=4 is the same whether one is rich or poor, male or female, white or black. To say otherwise is akin to saying there are “social justice algebra” or “social justice bicycles” or “social justice belly buttons”.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a federal government agency that supports basic research and education in science and engineering, except medicine (which has its own federal agency, the National Institutes of Health).

With an annual budget of $7 billion (fiscal year 2012), the NSF funds approximately 24% of all federally supported basic research conducted by U.S. colleges and universities. In some fields, such as mathematics, computer science, economics, and the social sciences, the NSF is the major source of federal backing.

Alas, having corrupted all other institutions in America, the neo-Marxist disease of “social justice” has infected the National Science Foundation. The NSF has approved a (continuing) grant of $1,009,762 to Drexel University, a private university in Philadelphia, to train 24 undergraduate students to teach “social justice” mathematics and science. By my calculation, that comes to $42,073 taxpayer dollars per student.

The Drexel University project, which began this summer, promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) high school curricula that are “steeped in the context of social justice.” 24 Drexel undergraduate students will be trained to teach “social justice” mathematics and science in Philadelphia’s “high need” middle schools. How these students, upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree, can be compelled to actually teach in “high need” Philadelphia middle schools is not clear.

The following is from the National Science Foundation website:

NSA’s Division of Undergraduate Education
Award Abstract #1758345
Preparing Mathematics and Science Teachers for Middle School
Award Number: 1758345
Award Instrument: Continuing grant
Start Date: June 15, 2018
End Date: May 31, 2023 (Estimated)
Award Amount to Date: $1,009,762.00

The project’s “principal investigator” and “co-investigators” are all Drexel University faculty:


1. Sheila Vaidya, Professor of Education
2. Mary Jo Grdina, Clinical Professor of Education
3. Shari Moskow, Professor of Arts & Science
4. Donald McEachron, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

 

Below is the NSF’s gobbledygook jargonese “Abstract” describing the $1.009 million grant:

The project will use recent scientific, mathematical, and educational knowledge to prepare and support the twenty-four pre-service teacher candidates with an emphasis on understanding the culture and life experiences of students in high-need schools. The project intends to promote social justice teaching, which emphasizes connecting science, mathematics, and engineering instruction to students’ personal experiences and culture. This connection can leverage the funds of knowledge that each student brings to learning. Inquiry-based instruction supports this approach as it opens communication among students by establishing a learning community of shared knowledge and experience. Seminars related to mindfulness and developing emotional intelligence will augment the Scholars’ coursework. The latter will be scaffolded to develop the following behaviors: professionalism, growth mindset, commitment to serving all students well, and cultural competency. Essential skills that will be developed through the coursework include understanding students’ cultural communities as a foundation for classroom culture and building strong relationships, taking ownership of student learning and professional growth, setting and maintaining high behavioral expectations, leading rigorous and aligned content instruction, and demonstrating content expertise and pedagogical content knowledge. These essential skills and core competencies will be demonstrated in the context of teaching mathematics and science to middle-grades students in high-need schools. Early experiences consisting of linking content knowledge with appropriate pedagogical and content knowledge with pre-residency and residency experiences are intended to strengthen the Scholars’ content and pedagogical knowledge while supporting first steps into the world of teaching. Rubrics to assess the attainment of the core competencies and essential skills will be used to collect data related to the Scholars’ proficiency in these aspects. It is anticipated that the documentation of project activities and identification of learnings from project implementation will be disseminated to the education community through conference presentations, a project website, and professional publications. The long-term and far-reaching benefits to society of this project are the potential to document and share sustainable approaches, steeped in the context of social-justice, for recruiting and preparing STEM majors to provide success in learning mathematics and science for all middle-grades students in a high-need school district.

The National Science Foundation’s manager of the “social justice math and science” program is Kathleen B. Bergin (kbergin@nsf.gov).

France A. Córdova is the director of the National Science Foundation, appointed by Barack Obama. Please ask President Trump @realDonaldTrump to fire her and appoint another.

H/t Washington Free Beacon

~Eowyn

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Your tax dollars at work: $390k grant to study duck penis

Elizabeth Harrington reports for Washington Free Beacon that among the protesters at the “March for Science” on Earth Day, April 22, 2017, against the Trump administration’s budget cuts was Patricia Brennan, a visiting lecturer of biological sciences at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and a native of Columbia.

Brennan has a vested interest in taxpayers’ largesse as she is a leading researcher of a taxpayer-funded duck penis study that received $384,949 from the National Science Foundation. The grant was funded through the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus package. The study looked at the differences in the corkscrew-shaped penises of ducks.
A recent interview with New England Public Radio revealed that Brennan is still fascinated by the genitalia of marine animals. She is now using her expertise on the penises of orca whales.
When an orca whale penis recently was delivered from Sea World to her lab, Brennan exclaimed, “Holy cow. Oh wow. Oh my goodness. It’s enormous! So this is the tip right there. It’s not super long, it’s just wide.”
New England Public Radio reported that “Although Brennan has spent 20 years studying the sex organs of marine animals, she’s never seen anything this big. It takes up an entire lab sink.”
In the face of a national debt of $20 trillion, President Trump wants to cut funding for frivolous research, among other cuts. Trump’s budget blueprint would leave the National Institutes of Health with $25.9 billion, but makes no mention of the National Science Foundation that currently gets about $7 billion annually.
Since taxpayers were informed about how much her duck penis study cost, Brennan has become a “sought-after science activist,” giving lectures on how scientists can defend their research.
Brennan said of news outlets reporting the nearly $390k grant for her duck penis study, “They were attacking everything. They were attacking the science itself, like, ‘what a waste of money.’ They were attacking me, as a person, like, I must be some kind of deviant to be looking at penises. Like, who does that?”
In a self-righteous article in Slate, Brennan justified her $390k duck penis study by its important, earth-shaking findings that:

  • Male ducks rape female ducks. (It doesn’t take a $390k study to know this. Anyone who lives near a lake, as I did, would have seen female ducks being gang-raped by males in springtime.)
  • Both the vaginas and penises of ducks have evolved in response to “sexual conflict”. As Brennan puts it, with barely suppressed outrage: “Males have counterclockwise spiraling penises, while females have clockwise spiraling vaginas and blind pockets that prevent full eversion of the male penis. Male ducks force copulations on females, and males and females are engaged in a genital arms race with surprising consequences. Male competition is a driving force behind these male traits that can be harmful to females.”

New England Public Radio calls Brennan a “basic scientist,” meaning she only observes how things work and is not “necessarily applying that knowledge to a particular problem.” In other words, there is no particular reason why she studies duck and orca whale penises. In Brennan’s words, “Just the fact that we just don’t know what we’re going to find is so exciting.”
Why, like, already beleaguered taxpayers must, like, fund her, like, “basic” pointless research on, like, marine animal penises is, like, not her concern.
~Eowyn

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Tragedy: Curtain comes down on taxpayer-funded climate change musical

immensity
FoxNews: The curtain has come down on Climate Change: The Musical and reviews of the taxpayer-funded play about global warming are downright icy.
The play, which is actually entitled “The Great Immensity,” and was produced by Brooklyn-based theater company The Civilians, Inc. with a $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, ended its run early amid a storm of criticism from reviewers and lawmakers alike. It opened a year late, reached just five percent of its anticipated audience and likely fell short of its ambitious goal of informing a new generation about the perceived dangers of man-caused climate change. Plus, it apparently wasn’t very good.
“Despite fine performances, the musical mystery tour is an uneasy mix of fact and credulity-stretching fiction. It’s neither flora nor fauna,” New York Daily News reviewer Joe Dziemianowicz wrote in a review at the time. “[The] songs — whether about a doomed passenger pigeon or storm-wrecked towns — feel shoehorned in and not, pardon the pun, organic.”
The play, which featured songs and video exploring Americans’ relationships to the environment, opened in New York in April with a three-week run before going on a national tour that was supposed to attract 75,000 patrons. But it stalled after a single production in Kansas City, falling short of the lofty goals outlined in a grant proposal. It was envisioned as a chance to create “an experience that would be part investigative journalism and part inventive theater,” help the public “better appreciate how science studies the Earth’s biosphere” and increase “public awareness, knowledge and engagement with science-related societal issues.”
According to a plot description on the theater company’s website, “The Great Immensity” focuses on a woman named Phyllis as she tries to track down a friend who disappeared while filming an assignment for a nature show on a tropical island. During her search, she also uncovers a devious plot surrounding an international climate summit in Auckland, New Zealand.
The description touts the play as “a thrilling and timely production” with “a highly theatrical look into one of the most vital questions of our time: How can we change ourselves and our society in time to solve the enormous environmental challenges that confront us?”
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, said the dramatic debacle was a waste of public money.
“There is no doubt that the Great Immensity was a great mistake,” Smith told FoxNews.com. “The NSF used taxpayer dollars to underwrite political advocacy dressed up as a musical. And the project clearly failed to achieve any of its objectives.”
In a statement to FoxNews.com, the NSF said it is too soon to tell if the grant funds were wasted. “This particular project just concluded in August and the final report has not yet been submitted to NSF,” the statement said. “Final reports are due to NSF within 90 days following expiration of the grant. The final report will contain information about project outcomes, impacts and other data.”
But Smith and others in Congress said the foundation owes an explanation to lawmakers – and taxpayers. “The NSF has offered no comment, neither a defense of the project nor an acknowledgement that funding was a waste of money,” Smith said. “The NSF must be held accountable for how they choose to spend taxpayer dollars.”

(Trust me, as painful as this is to watch, you gotta see at least the last 10 seconds of this $700,000 masterpiece!)

Other reviews of the play were similarly dismal. “Even the best adventurers can wander off course, and the Civilians do so on a global scale in The Great Immensity,” read a review from Time Out New York. “The inventive troupe’s latest effort is all over the map… It’s not easy preaching green.”
The Civilians, Inc. did not return requests for comment.
FoxNews.com first reported on the House Committee’s dismay over the grant program back in March. Smith had also questioned the validity of other grants from the NSF including; $200,000 towards a three-year study of the Bronze Age, Another $50,000 towards the survey of archived lawsuits from 17th century Peru and $20,000 for a study on the causes of stress in Bolivia.
“All government employees and their agency heads need to remember they are accountable to the American taxpayer who pays their salary and funds their projects,” Smith said at a March hearing.
ManBearPig hardest hit.

DCG

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Govt spends $880,000 to study sex life of snails

How the in-debt-up-to-our-eyeballs feral [sic] government wastes taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars, Part 3.

In addition to $1.5 million to a Boston hospital to study why lesbians are fat, and $385,000 to a Yale University ornithologist to study the length of duck penises, the feral government has also awarded $880,000 to the University of Iowa to study the sex life of the New Zealand mudsnail.

New-Zealand-Mud-SnailThe $880,000 New Zealand mudsnail

NZ mudsnailsThey may be tiny, but the NZ mudsnails have an active sex life!

Matt Cover reports for CNSNews, March 27, 2013, that the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a grant for $876,752 to the University of Iowa to study the New Zealand snails to see if it is better that they reproduce sexually or asexually – the snail can do both – hoping to gain insight on why so many organisms practice sexual reproduction.
From the study’s abstract:
“Sexual reproduction is more costly than asexual reproduction, yet nearly all organisms reproduce sexually at least some of the time. Why is sexual reproduction so common despite its costs? This project will use a different organism, Potamopyrgus antipodarum, a New Zealand snail, which has both sexual and independently-derived asexual lineages that make it ideally suited to address fundamental evolutionary questions of how genes and genomes evolve in the absence of sexual reproduction.”
In other words, the study seeks to see if there are genetic advantages to sexual reproduction that justify its evolutionary costs, advantages such as avoiding genetic mutations or gene loss.
In a University of Iowa press release announcing the grant, this is described as the “cost of males” – explaining that female organisms shouldn’t need to produce sons instead of daughters because producing daughters simply involves asexual duplication – which can then duplicate themselves – while male offspring cannot produce other male offspring unaided.
The release says: “[T]he commonness of sex is surprising because asexual females should be able to produce twice as many daughters as sexual females that make both male and female offspring. Despite this and other costs, nearly all organisms reproduce sexually at least some of the time. This means that sex must be associated with profound advantages, while asexual reproduction must have significant evolutionary consequences.”
The broader aim of the study is to find out why sexual reproduction and males exist, arguing that sex is biologically inefficient for females. Because an asexual organism can simply clone itself faster than it can reproduce if it finds a mate, the study seeks to see if there are other benefits to sexual reproduction that outweigh this ‘cost’ of finding a mate.
The all-important research was first funded in 2011 and will continue until 2015.
So far, the grant has paid out $502,357, according to NSF, and could pay out the full $880,000 between now and 2015. The study is funded through what NSF calls a continuing grant meaning that it agrees with the researcher to fund a certain amount, but can end up spending more on the grant if NSF agrees that more money is warranted.
H/t California Political News & Views
~Eowyn

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$385K to study length of duck penis

America’s national debt is fast approaching $17 TRILLION.
In the name of trimming the budget (not the debt!), the military must endure cutbacks, including the suspension of tuition assistance programs for servicemembers (while illegal immigrants get free tuition). Meanwhile, the feral [sic] government makes no effort to eliminate wasteful spending, such as:

Add a $395k study to look at “plasticity in duck penis length” to the above list.

Ruddy DuckThis perky-looking Ruddy Duck is among the species of ducks whose penis length is being measured in the $385k Yale U. study on duck genitalia.

Eric Scheiner reports for CNSNews, March 19, 2013, that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $384,949 grant to Yale University for a study on “Sexual Conflict, Social Behavior and the Evolution of Waterfowl Genitalia”, according to the recovery.gov website.

The grant description says “The project examines how reproductive morphology covaries with season, age, and social environment in a diverse sample of duck species that differ in ecology, territoriality and breeding system.”
Translated into plain English, what the research aims to do is to “study” how the penises (“reproductive morphology”) of ducks change in size (“covaries”) according to the time of the year (“season”), the age of the duck, and the “social environment” (whatever that means).
The grant was made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus package.
The project has been receiving money from the NSF since 2009 and is slated for funding through July of this year.
Many duck penises are cork-screw shaped and some scientists believe this is because of a form of evolution known as “sexual conflict”.
According to the “Awards Summary” about this very important research project: “Preliminary results of the project, suggest that male competition plays an important role in the evolution of waterfowl reproductive morphology, that male reproductive morphology is plastic depending on age.”
Translated into plain English, what this means is that after three years of study (the project’s funding began in 2009), the Yale scientists discovered that the length and size of duck penises change with age.
No kidding?
Without a budget of $384,949, I could have told you that!
NSF spokeswoman Deborah Wing told CNSNews.com the updated title of the study is “Sexual Conflict, Social Behavior and Evolution.” Wing says, “The study met the criteria of the NSF panel of scientific peers as part of the grant approval process. The NSF strives to be good stewards of taxpayers dollars. Basic research often is combined with other research efforts and turns into bigger things. Government funded grants for research have assisted in creating the barcode and Google.”
The NSF grant abstract boasts that “Broader impacts of the research will be international, national, local, and personal.” Among those having a personal experience with the study are young minorities: “The project will incorporate high school students from under-represented minorities through the Yale University EVOLUTIONISTS program.”
Ahhh, so that’s why the project costs $385k. It’s another friggin’ “affirmative action” program scam!
Richard Prum

Richard Prum


CNSNews says their e-mail and phone attempts to contact the study’s Principal Research Investigator, Richard Prum, a professor at Yale University, “were unreturned”. That means Prum got the email and phone calls but chose not to respond.

H/t California Political News & Views
~Eowyn

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