Defeating Creationism in the Courtroom, But Not in the Classroom
Just another speedbump in the road of progress, creationist teachers make up 13% of public school science teachers with the percentage as high as 40% in more conservative districts. The study cited says the real problem lies not with the openly creationist teachers but with that 60% of teachers who, for what ever reason, just slide over the reality of the science. Many do so because of their fear of repercussions. True Believers ™ are far more vocal in opposition to science than supporters of science. Those of scientific bent often fail to understand the delusions of their TB neighbours who will go to great lengths to derail objective reality whenever they feel it threatens their beliefs.
The cautious 60% may play a far more important role in hindering scientific literacy in the United States than the smaller number of explicit creationists. The strategies of emphasizing microevolution, justifying the curriculum on the basis of state-wide tests, or “teaching the controversy” all undermine the legitimacy of findings that are well established by the combination of peer review and replication. These teachers fail to explain the nature of scientific inquiry, undermine the authority of established experts, and legitimize creationist arguments, even if unintentionally.
In 2006, American students were ranked 29th on the OECD study of scientific literacy in the 34 nations counted as ‘Developed’ but they had raised that ranking to middle of the pack in the 2009 testing. Unfortunately, while the overall score has risen, there remains the sad reality of one fourth of American students scoring at the bottom of the OECD scale.
The continuing gap in educational attainment has and will continue to create what amounts to an ongoing recession for those failing students.
Economic impact of the achievement gap in America’s schools
a tip of the cap to PZ