It is currently 10:39pm on a Wednesday evening. Make that 10:40. Right now, as we speak, a teacher is mapping out his or her lesson plan for their next biology class, and intends on referencing creationism in a positive light . Indeed, 13% of American biology teachers speak vehemently in favor of the theory of creationism, while a surprisingly small portion of biology teachers (28%) spoke favorably of Charles Darwin's theory of Evolution. The rest of that pie belongs to teachers who undermine Charles Darwin's theories, or do not take a vehement stand for either theory. That is at least according to the findings of Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer, who have recently published these findings in Science Magazine, and who have denounced this continued presence of creationism within the American educational system.
However, my growing interest in this story was not how 13% of teachers could actively be teaching Creationism, but in the 59% of teachers who were not inclined at all. It would seem to me that there is not too much space to fall between in terms of ones orientation as a believer in creationism or as a believer in Evolution, and the general gap in unity seems to be a result of something other than just the beliefs of the teachers. Eric Plutzer notes how some teachers simply side-step the issue of Evolution in class: "Our general sense is they lack the knowledge and confidence to go in there and teach evolution, which makes them risk-averse," (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41313808/ns/technology_and_science-science/). This in itself is a concern, as many teachers may simply not be well educated enough on the topic to feel comfortable teaching it. Considering that the National Assessment of Educational Progress recently reported only 36 % of 4th, 8th, and 12th grader are "proficient or better" in the sciences (http://dese.mo.gov/news/2011/naep.htm), it leaves open the fear that our teachers are not being properly trained to do the job they are paid to do.
posted by: Luke Brewer (1)