Here’s where we find ourselves in 2017. Bill Nye, the mechanical engineer and former sketch comic who now presents scientific research on Netflix in the form of song-and-dance routines called “My Sex Junk,” has become the nation’s “science guy.” So even though he’s not an astronomer, Newsweek figured he was the best choice to fill in Americans on the upcoming solar eclipse.

Yeah, we’re still doing that. It’s no surprise, either, that the Daily Beast and its mechanical engineer’s guide to the eclipse ended with some political talk, with Nye crying that the “anti-science movement right now, especially the people the administration is hiring, is really remarkable.”

“Anti-science” is about as vague a term as “alt-right,” and people haven’t been shy about throwing that one around lately either. But something just rang a bell when we saw the Daily Wire’s piece on algebra being placed on the chopping block because it’s “a civil rights issue.”

Where did that come from? In short, in an interview with NPR, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California community college system, said the system was considering dropping algebra as a required course, since so many students are failing it.

This is horrifying, really: NPR reports that, “At American community colleges, 60 percent of those enrolled are required to take at least one math course. Most — nearly 80 percent — never complete that requirement.” (Which reminds us … wasn’t President Obama going to provide every citizen willing to work for it with two free years of community college?)

Add to that the tidbit that rates of failure in algebra are higher for minority groups than they are for white students, and suddenly algebra becomes a civil rights issue, because requiring it essentially keeps students from earning degrees and finding better jobs that require those degrees.

So apparently the “I believe in science” crowd running the community college system consists of the grown-ups who, as kids, complained about having to take math because they’d never use it in real life … and now they’re in a position to do something about it. Something dumb, but something.

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