The Florida Swamp of Superstition

I swear, this country is getting more nucking futz every week.

In Land O’ Lakes, Florida, a substitute teacher named Jim Pikulas was fired for wizardry. Meaning, he briefly showed a class how to do a bit of sleight-of-hand.

Pat Sinclair, who oversees substitute teachers in the Pasco County School District, was on the phone. She told Piculas there had been a complaint about his performance at Rushe Middle School in Land O’ Lakes.
He asked what she meant.
“She said, ‘You’ve been accused of wizardry,’ ” Piculas said.
He said the statement seemed bizarre to him, like something out of Harry Potter.
Piculas said he replied, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
He said he also told Sinclair, “It’s not black magic. It’s a toothpick.”

Meanwhile in the same state, there’s a bill approved by the (Florida) House:

After a long and sometimes testy debate, the House voted Monday to require teachers to include a “critical analysis” of evolution in science classes.

Proponents said the bill is needed to protect teachers and students from academic reprisal for challenging Charles Darwin’s theories, while opponents said it was a veiled attempt at sneaking religion into the public schools.

Rep. Tony Sasso, D-Cocoa Beach, warned requiring teachers to critically analyze Darwin’s findings would inevitably evolve into a discussion of biblical teachings.

“It’s about finding holes in evolution and allowing teachers to be able to do that, which in my mind, tracking this, will lead to a discussion of creativity — which ultimately will lead to a discussion of religion,” said Sasso. “We’re opening the door to religious discussion by doing this.”

What’s the deal, Florida? Is the collective rational intelligence for the entire state concentrated around Cape Canaveral?

What can’t this country drag its collective ass into the 21st century? Is there any reasonable hope of getting a job teaching real Biology without being harassed by IDiots?


  1. Daniel Dage said,

    6 May 2008 at 21:35

    Fired for wizardry? Egad, I had no idea that was illegal! Afterall, it’s what teachers are expected to do every single day!

    As for the critical analysis bit, I sort of agree with that. If a theory can’t hold up to the scrutiny of high schoolers, it’s hard to vouch for the soundness of it. And heaven forbid we get into a discussion of creativity in today’s test-driven educational climate! What’s silly is the need to legislate critical analysis!

    I just happen to have more faith in the people who actually teach the content to make sense of it and deliver it in an intelligent fashion.

    In short; the best ones all practice wizardry.

  2. Patrick said,

    6 May 2008 at 17:01

    Oh my, prestidigitation as a crime? Most of the elected officials need to be arrested for this too, though they usually do their magic tricks with budgets and political agendas.

  3. 6 May 2008 at 16:59

    And so you think that Stephen Jay Gould’s criticism of classical evolutionary thery lacks academic and scientific rigour?

    Shame on you, everything should be subject to critical analysis except postmodernism of course :)

  4. ange said,

    6 May 2008 at 13:14

    Yes, this is why I like to garden. I can nurture and enjoy something, hide from the nonsense. Love this post…sorry you had such ridiculousness to post about though!

  5. Enlightenment said,

    6 May 2008 at 7:32
    School Board Chairman
    Marge Whaley
    20433 Homossasa Ct.
    Land O’ Lakes, Florida 34639
    Heather Fiorentino
    Principal Dave Estabrook
    Charles S. Rushe Middle School
    18654 Mentmore Blvd
    Land O’ Lakes, FL 34638
    Fax: 813-346-1291

  6. Beth Nixon said,

    6 May 2008 at 3:53

    oh, sing it sister!
    Love this post . . . love your blog!

  7. 6 May 2008 at 3:43

    You know exactly what my thoughts are on this.

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