The latest issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach


The latest issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach — the new journal aspiring to promote accurate understanding and comprehensive teaching of evolutionary theory for a wide audience — is now available on-line. The issue, edited by Kristin Jenkins, Education and Outreach Program Specialist at the National Evolution Synthesis Center, focuses on teaching evolution. As Greg Eldredge and Niles Eldredge explain in their editorial, "Teaching can be a difficult proposition under the best of circumstances, and teaching evolution can present its own challenges but can also bring its own very special rewards. The following pages contain articles that explore many aspects of evolution education, including how state education standards impact science in the classroom, how evolution is taught around the world, how people’s education and backgrounds affect their understanding of and ability to teach and learn about evolution, and how methods of teaching evolution impact student success and understanding of evolutionary theory from elementary school to college." There is also a handful of reviews, including a review of Jürgen Haffer's Ornithology, Evolution, and Philosophy: The Life and Science of Ernst Mayr 1904-2005 (Springer-Verlag 2007) and a review of Keith Thomson's The Young Charles Darwin (Yale University Press, 2009).

Also included is NCSE's Louise S. Mead and Anton Mates's "Why Science Standards are Important to a Strong Science Curriculum and How States Measure Up," which surveys the treatment of evolution in the science education standards of all fifty states. "The treatment of biological evolution in state science standards has improved dramatically over the last ten years," Mead and Mates report, but the news is not all rosy: eleven states receive grades of D or F for their presentation of evolution in their standards, and the "treatment of human evolution is abysmal," with only seven states providing a comprehensive treatment. In NCSE's regular column for Evolution: Education and Outreach, Overcoming Obstacles to Evolution Education, NCSE's Eugenie C. Scott commented, "On the basis of Mead and Mates’s results, there is reason to be pleased by the progress over the last ten years in the inclusion of evolution in state science education standards. That the treatment of evolution is inadequate in almost one in five states still suggests that there is considerable room for improvement, but we should be optimistic that teachers, scientists, and others who care about science education will continue — as science standards continue to be periodically revised — to work for the appropriate inclusion of evolution in state science education standards."