Survey Says Teachers Lack Backbone When It Comes to Evolution
Posted on Feb 2, 2011
A couple of political scientists out of Penn State University went looking into the way evolution is taught in classrooms, and discovered that the vast majority of teachers are overly cautious in their presentation of the concept, contrary to National Research Council guidelines.
Thirteen percent of the 926 biology teachers who responded to the survey taught creationism and/or intelligent design. An additional 60 percent, according to this Miller-McCune report, failed to “consistently present the evidence for evolution as a unifying theme in biology.”
Berkman and Plutzer sent lengthy surveys to 1,900 public school biology teachers across the country. Of the 926 responses that inform their research, 13 percent of biology teachers—hailing from all over the country—advocate creationism or intelligent design despite years of high-profile court cases ruling this unconstitutional.
Only 28 percent of teachers consistently present the evidence for evolution as a unifying theme in biology, as the National Research Council recommends. The rest—Berkman and Plutzer call them the “cautious 60 percent”—should concern advocates of scientific literacy (such as the president) even more than the minority of creationists. Their caution promotes the idea that scientific findings are a matter of opinion, not rigorous research.