Science Education

New Mexico's Science Standards Do not Support the Concept of "Teach the Controversy"

On August 21, 2005, The New York Times published an article entitled "Politicized scholars put evolution on the defensive." This otherwise excellent article unfortunately contained several errors that resulted from treating some false information from the Discovery Institute as accurate. One major error was accepting the claim that New Mexico has "embraced the institute's 'teach the controversy' approach." This is absolutely false, as the following evidence will show.

Nothing Wrong with Discussing Evolution in School

Under the newly approved science standards, Minnesota's youngest students will be expected to understand that biological populations change over time. Students will need to know that many organisms, such as dinosaurs, used to live on earth but are now extinct. This understanding of basic science can't come soon enough.

Is Evolution Arkansas's Hidden Curriculum?

As I was working on a proposal for a project at the Evolution Education Research Centre at McGill University in Montréal, I received an e-mail from an old friend back in Arkansas, where I was raised, whom I had known since high school. She was concerned about a problem her father was having at work. "Bob" is a geologist and a teacher at a science education institution that services several Arkansas public school districts. My friend did not know the details of Bob's problem, only that it had to do with evolution.

Devolution and Dinosaurs

In January 2006, BBC News published an article entitled "Britons unconvinced on evolution", reporting that only 48% of those questioned accept the theory of evolution. About 17% chose "intelligent design" (ID), 22% opted for creationism, and the rest did not know. Several months later, an anti-evolution seminar was scheduled for members of the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels. The meeting took place on October 11, 2006, and was announced under the following title: "Teaching evolutionary theory in Europe. Is your child being indoctrinated in the classroom?"

Species Concepts in Modern Literature

Please note: This text is part of Species, Kinds, and Evolution, by John Wilkins, Reports of NCSE 26 (4), 2006.

Problems with the Intersession Course

NCSE's executive director Eugenie C Scott was asked to write a declaration in support of the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order, and if necessary a preliminary injunction, in Hurst et al v Newman et al. The following discussion of specific problems with the "Philosophy of Intelligent Design" course that was at issue in the case is taken from her declaration.

Introduction

"Critical Analysis" Defeated in Ohio

The Ohio Board of Education voted 11–4 at its February 14, 2006, meeting to remove both the "Critical Analysis of Evolution" model lesson plan and the corresponding indicator — which called for students to be able to "describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory" — in the state standards. Board member Martha Wise, who spearheaded the drive to eliminate the anti-evolution material, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer (2006 Feb 15), "I’m ecstatic ...

In Praise of the Bravery of Biology Teachers

[Asked by Time magazine to provide a nomination for the 2007 Person of the Year, Frans de Waal wrote, "I nominate all the brave biology teachers of this nation who teach evolution despite the opposition they encounter. Without evolution, there is no biology; without biology, there is no medicine. It's as simple as that.

The History of Life as a Walk in the Park

A recurring theme for science educators is how to make the vastness of the history and diversity of life "real" for students. In their classrooms, they devise clock models, modified calendars, and even use 1000-sheet rolls of toilet tissue to emphasize the deep history of life on earth and the variety (and success) of the many forms of life that have appeared during that time.