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 HS teachers reluctant to endorse evolution
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2011 :  12:10:04  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's a problem. A big problem.

High school biology teachers reluctant to endorse evolution in class


"Considerable research suggests that supporters of evolution, scientific methods, and reason itself are losing battles in America's classrooms," write Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer, professors of political science at Penn State, in the Jan. 28 issue of Science.

The researchers examined data from the National Survey of High School Biology Teachers, a representative sample of 926 public high school biology instructors. They found only about 28 percent of those teachers consistently implement National Research Council recommendations calling for introduction of evidence that evolution occurred, and craft lesson plans with evolution as a unifying theme linking disparate topics in biology.

In contrast, Berkman and Plutzer found that about 13 percent of biology teachers "explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design by spending at least one hour of class time presenting it in a positive light." Many of these teachers typically rejected the possibility that scientific methods can shed light on the origin of the species, and considered both evolution and creationism as belief systems that cannot be fully proven or discredited.

Berkman and Plutzer dubbed the remaining teachers the "cautious 60 percent," who are neither strong advocates for evolutionary biology nor explicit endorsers of nonscientific alternatives. "Our data show that these teachers understandably want to avoid controversy," they said.

The researchers found these teachers commonly use one or more of three strategies to avoid controversy. Some teach evolutionary biology as if it applies only to molecular biology, ignoring an opportunity to impart a rich understanding of the diversity of species and evidence that one species gives rise to others.

Using a second strategy, some teachers rationalize the teaching of evolution by referring to high-stakes examinations. These teachers "tell students it does not matter if they really 'believe' in evolution, so long as they know it for the test," Berkman and Plutzer said.

Finally, many teachers expose their students to all positions, scientific and otherwise, and let them make up their own minds. This is unfortunate, the researchers said, because "this approach tells students that well established concepts can be debated in the same way we debate personal opinions."
Read on...

So aside from the 13% who actually teach creationism and should be shown the door, there is another 60% who just don't want to touch it because it's too hot. They teach biology, but they have allowed a made up controversy by the RR and the possibility of facing angry parents to dictate what they will teach.

Seems to me, at a rate 60% who aren't teaching evolution as established fact, we are winning the battles but losing the war.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2011 :  13:43:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Pretty sure I posted this a couple of days ago, and that you commented on it!



The stress of renting out that room starting to get you Kil?

Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2011 :  14:12:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dude

Pretty sure I posted this a couple of days ago, and that you commented on it!



The stress of renting out that room starting to get you Kil?
Could be... I thought I saw this somewhere...



Looks like I was the only one to comment. Hmmm... You would think those kinds of numbers would be of more interest around here.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2011 :  17:33:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Indeed!

Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2011 :  18:46:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Maybe it's just too depressing.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2011 :  19:36:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For the last few days, I've been seeing it all over the net.

The state of our education system is in dire straits and has been for decades. It's a Catch 22 of sorts; you can't know how to vote on school boards and educational standards without an education, and you can't get an education with wimps teaching the classes. That 60% number is chilling.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2011 :  00:45:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Maybe it's just too depressing.
+1

"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2011 :  03:58:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I means that USA has given up its ambition of long term world domination. If you eventually wind up with a population which has the same level of education as any 3rd world country, Europe and China will become the new super powers.

From my point of view, the "pinky commie" who have learned to mistrust, yes even hate Pax Americana, I see how this can be a positive thing. Skeptics are of course invited to move to Europe and join the winners... We will need you to stay competitive against China.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2011 :  10:49:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

I means that USA has given up its ambition of long term world domination. If you eventually wind up with a population which has the same level of education as any 3rd world country, Europe and China will become the new super powers.

From my point of view, the "pinky commie" who have learned to mistrust, yes even hate Pax Americana, I see how this can be a positive thing. Skeptics are of course invited to move to Europe and join the winners... We will need you to stay competitive against China.
Well Mab. Before you start popping open your champaign bottle to toast the demise of education in America, our universities are still some of the best in the world. Hell... I have a chinese guy living with me who told me the universities in China are bad. So bad that if you have an American education, you are much more likely to land a good job over there. Interestingly, they have a great primary educational system. Way better than ours. I'm not really sure why that hasn't lead them, almost naturally, to a great system for higher education, but it hasn't. My roommate told me that most of the kids who are looking for a good education after they are done with their primary education, seek it elsewhere. And America tops the list. They also head to western europe.

We still have top notch scientists too. And of course, that would follow given that most of them are working from of our universities and are also teaching.

But yeah, those numbers do reflect a problem here for those not really interested in going into fields like science or those not moving on to a higher education.

What it means is that our primary educational system needs a lot of work. I think that's why we find so many Americans starting their higher education in two year junior colleges. They don't have the skills, coming out of high-school, to get into a four year college. So they have to play catch up in order to qualify for a more serious education at a university or four year college. (That's not the only reason for going to a community college of course. They are also a much more cost effective way to get the first two years of college over with.)

While it's certainly dismaying that proper science isn't being taught in primary schools, which will lead to more creationists, or at least do nothing to change the situation we are in with them now, it doesn't follow that we are behind in science and research that leads to new technologies. The problem then becomes a political one. Will we fund the research needed to compete? And will we have a population willing to vote for politicians who place a high priority on a good primary education as well as funding the research that leads to new technologies? That's the danger that the 60% poses.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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