"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 today's (Jan. 28) issue of Science.I think that a lot of teachers are running scared because of the shift in political climate in the country and the increasing prevalence of “academic freedom” legislation that has been passed. It is easier to not make waves then to risk the ire of a parent that doesn't agree with the teaching of evolution. The principle problem is, however worse:
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.
[Authors] Berkman and Plutzer conclude that “the cautious 60 percent fail to explain the nature of scientific inquiry, undermine the authority of established experts, and legitimize creationist arguments.” As a result, “they may play a far more important role in hindering scientific literacy in the United States than the smaller number of explicit creationists.”This allows students to graduate from high school without the necessary biological science understanding without being challenged until they get to college. As a result, the overall level of scientific knowledge of the discipline declines every year.
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