Texas Earns an ‘F’ in Science Education Study

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We warned repeatedly during the recent debate over science curricuclum standards that Texas was in danger of falling behind the rest of the nation in science education. Now a new study to be published in the journal Evolution: Education and Outreach confirms our warnings.

The study by Louise S. Mead and Anton Mates of the National Center for Science Education gives Texas and just four other states a failing grade when it comes to educating science students about evolution, a foundational concept in the biological sciences.

The study notes that nationally “the treatment of biological evolution in state science standards has improved dramatically over the last ten years.” It gives 40 states (including the District of Columbia) satisfactory grades for the treatment of evolution in their public school science standards, as opposed to only 31 in Lawrence S. Lerner’s 2000 study Good Science, Bad Science, which was conducted for the Fordham Foundation.

On the other hand, the Texas State Board of Education — under the control of anti-science extremists — moved in March of this year to undermine instruction on evolution in public school science classrooms. As a result, Texas joined Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia in earning a grade of “F” on how state science standards treat evolution. Alaska, Connecticut, Kentucky, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming got grades of “D.”

While Texas was falling further behind the other states, states like Kansas and Florida were vaulting ahead, going from grades of “F” to “A” in the study. Both states have recently moved to strengthen instruction on evolution in their public school science classrooms.

Why does this matter? Suppose a Texas high school student wants to study science at one of the nation’s top universities. How do you suppose the admissions panel at that university will score the student’s qualifications compared to those of students from states that teach sound science? In addition, entrepreneurs and other businesspeople testified at State Board of Education hearings that they would be reluctant to expand their companies or move them to states that provide a substandard education in science.

You can read more about the study here. The new study is available here.

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17 Responses to “Texas Earns an ‘F’ in Science Education Study”

  1. ken hargesheimer Says:

    It takes more “faith” to believe in evolution than it takes to believe in creation. Evolution is as full of holes as a window screen.

  2. jdg Says:

    ” 1. ken hargesheimer Says:
    August 14, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    It takes more “faith” to believe in evolution than it takes to believe in creation. Evolution is as full of holes as a window screen.”

    Please go to college and study evolution so that you can make an educated statement.

  3. ken hargesheimer Says:

    I have a BS.

  4. Charles Says:

    Yes, but what does that “BS” stand for?

  5. Ben Says:

    So, ken, are you saying that people shouldn’t “believe” in things because of “faith?”

  6. Ben Says:

    Here’s the longer rebuttal:

    Claim CA612:

    Because evolution has never been observed, the theory of evolution requires as much faith as creationism does.
    Source:

    Morris, Henry M. 1985. Scientific Creationism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, p. 4.
    Response:

    The theory of evolution is based on evidence that has been observed. There is a great amount of this evidence. When evidence is found to contradict previous conclusions, those conclusions are abandoned, and new beliefs based on the new evidence take their place. This “seeing is believing” basis for the theory is exactly the opposite of the sort of faith implied by the claim.

    The claim implicitly equates faith with believing things without any basis for the belief. Such faith is better known as gullibility. Equating this sort of belief with faith places faith in God on exactly the same level as belief in UFOs, Bigfoot, and modern Elvis sightings.

    A truly meaningful faith is not simply about belief. Belief alone does not mean anything. A true faith implies acceptance and trust; it is the feeling that whatever happens, things will somehow be okay. Such faith is not compatible with most creationism. Creationism usually demands that God acts according to peoples’ set beliefs, and anything else is simply wrong (e.g., ICR 2000). It cannot accept that whatever God has done is okay.

  7. Ben Says:

    The more I think about it, the more that “Evolution takes faith” argument cracks me up.

    ken, isn’t faith, to someone like you, a good thing? The more, the better, right? People say, “He is a man of faith” as if it’s a great compliment.

    Of course, we know that ken is really trying to denigrate faith, and that’s what’s funny. He realizes how silly it is to have faith without any evidence to support it–except when it comes to his own gullibility regarding Genesis. Then, somehow, faith without evidence is a good thing. Strange, but not unusual, unfortunately.

    The good news (SWIDT?) is that evolution doesn’t require any faith at all. All it requires is an analysis of the mountain of evidence without letting religious dogma clog up your thinking process.

  8. Coragyps Says:

    “Evolution is as full of holes as a window screen.”

    Then you’ll have no trouble showing the rest of us some of those holes, correct? There’s several of us rabid scientists that hang out here that Want To Know about that scientifical stuff.

  9. Science Teacher Says:

    Here’s the problem, ken. The word ‘faith’ has several definitions. These (like the word ‘theory’) are intentionally conflated by those wishing to exploit the fact that there ARE several definitions.

    Definitions of ‘faith’ boil down to two categories:
    1) trust based on experience or evidence e.g., I have faith you will do right by me, and
    2) blind acceptance based on dogma that requires no demonstrable evidence whatsoever.
    Religious faith is in the second category.

    Creationists disingenuously claim that scientists exhibit Category 2 ‘faith’ in the scientific method, including our understanding of evolution. If there is any faith involved in the scientific method, it is clearly from Category 1.

    Don’t cynically obfuscate the richness of language for partisan purposes, please.

  10. Ben Says:

    Ken, I’m going to help you out. Below is a link to Science magazine. There you will find all the information you need to submit your paper that disproves the theory of evolution.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/about/authors/

    I look forward to reading all about these “holes.”

    If, on the other hand, you decide not to submit a paper, please tell us why you wouldn’t want to spread this startling information around the globe.

  11. ken hargesheimer Says:

    John Clayton was an athiest. See what he thinks at: Does God Exist? doesgodexist.org, dandydesigns.org, doesgodexist.tv, whypain.org, seeandbelieve.org. http://www.apologeticspress.net, http://www.focuspress.org

  12. LRA Says:

    Notice that Ken sidesteps the actual issue and then tries to evangelize.

    Ken, science is silent about the existence of God. In fact, the existence of God is a metaphysical matter, and if you know any Greek, you know that meta-physical means beyond the physical world. Science’s domain is the physical world. Period.

    Quit unfairly attacking science because you don’t understand the issues at hand. In fact, why don’t you educate yourself about science before you formulate an opinion, that way, you won’t sound so silly. Here’s a great place to start:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    All of the evidence on that website is backed by the actual scientific literature.

  13. Ben Says:

    Ken, what does anybody’s former atheism have to do with anything?

    You said there are “holes” in the theory of evolution. Go ahead and submit your paper outlining these holes to Science magazine.

    Why are you posting here when you can change the world by submitting your evidence to Science magazine?

  14. Rocket Mike Says:

    Ken,
    When someone has tried to use the “I can’t believe in evolution because it has so many holes in it” argument here, the scientifically grounded people at this blog have always found that holes were always in the claimant’s education and not in the modern theory of evolution.

  15. jdg Says:

    “# ken hargesheimer Says:
    August 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I have a BS.”

    I have 2….. oHHHHHHH!!!!

  16. Cytocop Says:

    Ken says: “It takes more “faith” to believe in evolution than it takes to believe in creation. Evolution is as full of holes as a window screen.”

    Actually the reverse is true: It takes more faith to believe in creation than it takes to believe in evolution. Creation (as in the Book of Genesis and understood by the Christian Neo-fundies) is as full of holes as a window screen. Evolution presents repeatedable evidence. More importantly, evolution isn’t about faith; it’s about evidence & the scientific method. Creation is ALL about faith. When the subject is science, what is your criteria – evidence or faith? How does one apply the scientific method to faith? Please do enlighten us.

  17. Ben Says:

    Ken, judging from your lack of response, one can only conclude that you are working on that paper mentioned above. Remember? The one you’re going to submit to Science magazine?

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