Read this: Teaching science is hard, made harder by religious claptrap


Page A1 of the New York Times on Sunday, August 24, 2008: “A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash.

Read it, and consider these questions:

  1. Would your local paper have the guts to report on this issue, for your local schools? (The Times went to Florida; heaven knows few Florida papers could cover the issue in Florida so well.)
  2. What is your local school board doing to support science education, especially for evolution, in your town? Or is your local school board making it harder for teachers to do their jobs?
  3. What is your state education authority doing to support science education, especially in evolution, in your state? Or is your state school board working to make it harder for teachers to do their jobs, and working to dumb down America’s kids?
  4. Do your school authorities know that they bet against your students when they short evolution, because knowledge about evolution is required for 25% of the AP biology test, and is useful for boosting scores on the SAT and ACT?
  5. Does your state science test test evolution?
  6. Do your school authorities understand they are throwing away taxpayer dollars when they encourage the teaching of voodoo science, like intelligent design?

It takes a good paper like the Times to lay it on the line:

The Dover decision in December of that year [2005] dealt a blow to “intelligent design,” which posits that life is too complex to be explained by evolution alone, and has been widely promoted by religious advocates since the Supreme Court’s 1987 ban on creationism in public schools. The federal judge in the case called the doctrine “creationism re-labeled,” and found the Dover school board had violated the constitutional separation of church and state by requiring teachers to mention it. The school district paid $1 million in legal costs.

That hasn’t slowed the Texas State Board of Education’s rush to get the state entangled in litigation over putting religious dogma in place of science. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is already embroiled in one suit, brought by the science-promoting science curriculum expert they fired for noting in an e-mail that science historian Barbara Forrest was speaking in a public event in Austin. TEA may well lose this case, and their side is not helped when State Board Chairman Don McLeroy cavorts with creationists in a session teaching illegal classroom tactics to teachers. Clearly Texas education officials are not reading the newspapers, the court decisions, or the science books.

Here’s one of the charts accompanied the article. While you read it, consider these items: The top 10% of science students in China outnumber all the science students in the U.S.; the U.S. last year graduated more engineers from foreign countries than from the U.S.; the largest portion were from China. China graduated several times the number of engineers the U.S. did, and almost all of them were from China.

Copyright 2008 by the New York Times

Copyright 2008 by the New York Times

Can we afford to dumb down any part of our science curriculum, for any reason? Is it unfair to consider creationism advocates, including intelligent design advocates, as “surrender monkeys in the trade and education wars with China?”

Update: 10:00 p.m. Central, this story is the most e-mailed from the New York Times site today; list below the fold.

MOST POPULAR

  1. A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
  2. Frank Rich: Last Call for Change We Can Believe In
  3. Some Britons Too Unruly for Resorts in Europe
  4. Maureen Dowd: Too Much of a Bad Thing
  5. Recipes for Health: Zucchini ‘Pasta’
  6. That Student Loan, So Hard to Shake
  7. How Obama Reconciles Dueling Views on Economy
  8. Heaven’s Angels
  9. David Brooks: Hoping It’s Biden
  10. In the Central Valley, the Ruins of the Housing Bust
About these ads

5 Responses to Read this: Teaching science is hard, made harder by religious claptrap

  1. jacob1207 says:

    Good post. I’d previously seen that NYT article and I’d highly recommend everyone read it to see what biology teachers have to go through.

    Like this

  2. Tony Sidaway says:

    I agree that the education situation in the USA is dire–you’ve got far too many religious loonies there and they’re like a barrel load of monkeys–once you deal with one lot of stupidity another bit of idiocy appears, and of course these loons are sending their kids to school with their brains pre-sabotaged.

    But, having said that: it’s cool that Florida public schools finally have to teach evolution to kids.

    Like this

  3. [...] “Teaching science is hard, made harder by religious claptrap,” at the Bathtub [...]

    Like this

  4. [...] Read this: Teaching science is hard, made harder by religious claptrap By Ed Darrell What is your state education authority doing to support science education, especially in evolution, in your state? Or is your state school board working to make it harder for teachers to do their jobs, and working to dumb down America’s … Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub – http://timpanogos.wordpress.com [...]

    Like this

  5. felicity12 says:

    I live in Ohio, where evolution is mentioned directly, but I hardly think that is the case. My high school biology teacher skipped the chapter on evolution in our textbook.

    For a persuasive speech, I presented on why evolution should be taught in schools and why creationism in schools is unconstitutional. When I presented, I received a good grade from my teacher, who is liberal-ish, but was literally booed at by my classmates. Intelligent Design is alive and thriving in schools despite legislation against it.

    Like this

Play nice in the Bathtub -- don't splash soap in anyone's eyes.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,978 other followers

%d bloggers like this: