Biology teachers teaching creationism

Filed under: Day Care & Education

You'd think that after the well-publicized trouncing the Dover school board was handed after they tried to sneak creationism into their science classrooms under the guise of Intelligent Design, everyone would know that you're supposed to stick with evolution in the public schools. Apparently, however, that isn't the case.

According to a new study funded by the National Science Foundation, about one in eight biology teachers in U.S. public schools have presented either creationism or intelligent design as a valid alternative to evolution, despite repeated rulings that prohibit the teaching of creationism. That is best left to parents and their religious leaders.

Actually, about a fourth of all biology teachers have discussed the subject, but half of those painted creationism and ID in a negative light -- something that is also strictly verboten. It's not the government's job to pass judgment -- positive or negative -- on any religious beliefs, so school teachers should not be denigrating creationism any more than they should be promoting it.

"The status of evolution in the biology and life sciences curriculum remains highly problematic and threatened," says Michael B. Berkman, who led the study. The National Academy of Sciences considers evolution to be the most important concept in biology, and yet most biology teachers only devote three to fifteen hours on the topic, with no more than five hours spent on human evolution.

Another interesting finding from the study is that the more college-level courses taken by a teacher, the more they spend time on evolution. So perhaps the answer is more training for the teachers. Whatever the answer, we need to make sure that teachers are not pushing their ideas -- whether in favor of creationism or opposed to it -- on our public school kids.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.