Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Science in schools

PZ has an interesting article on his site. It contains a map of the US, where each state is given a score based on it's public education commitment to evolutionary biology (among other things). California gets an A. This actually mildly surprises me. I guess it's because of where I live, in particular, but I see a backlash to this every day. Just this week, I had a discussion with another class-mom that illustrates this backlash.

I mentioned that I liked our middle school science teacher because she truly wants the children to understand biology. She really strives to get the kids involved in teh scientific method. This other room-mom, however, didn't take my enthusiasm for the teacher as a positive thing. She was worried. I asked why she was worried and she explained that she was glad she'd told her son, on the first day, to remember that he should "give the answer the teacher wants at school, but know in (his) heart the "real answer"".

I have to say that the discussion kind of petered out after that. I mean, what do you say from that point on that won't end up in meritless, go-nowhere back-and-forth?

Sadly, in this "A" state, that's a common sentiment in these parts. I don't get it. I suppose I don't have to.

11 comments:

Berlzebub said...

Unfortunately for that mother, the child may grow up and start thinking for themselves.

Although, I do find it ironic that the school is (basically) teaching critical thinking and the scientific method and the mother is teaching cognitive dissonance.

Gayellow said...

If the child has learned enough to give the desired answer then there's a chance the facts lodged in his/her mind will overcome the nonsense.

Better than nothing!

(Sigh.)

Jim said...

Thanks for this post. It pairs up quite well with a topic of conversation that I was just having with someone else.

Perpetual Beginner said...

With our first just starting middle school, I'm a little afraid of conversations like this in my future. I know there are several ultra-rigid religious families in our district, so the sentiment against fact-based science is definitely there. Fortunately, my kid is in the accelerated science track, so that may reduce the percentages.

Perpetual Beginner said...

I can't find a way to e-mail, so I guess I'll ask here: My first published writing came out a couple of months ago, and the first review up on Amazon was from Awesome Possum - was this one of your crew by any chance? Because if so, that's very cool. (Book is "Alien Hand Syndrome and other too-weird-not-to-be-true tales" by Alan Bellows et al)

Katie said...

I often hear conversations like that even in an art classroom.


Though in a side note about the Map....
Mississippi got a B? Wow. Yet I know the counties right over the border (I live in Memphis TN, right next door to MS) get a lot of the better teachers. It really didn't surprise me though TN got a D.

Dawn said...

Not too surprised that New Jersey got an A, since the science requirements here are pretty good. That doesn't mean the kids learn and accept the information, unfortunately.

Amanda K. said...

doesn't surprise me about Wisconsin. I can't remember learning anything at all specifically about evolution.

Michael Lawson said...

This is a big concern with me, since I've got my first child on the way. I like to think my baby will have a new and exciting world to live in, but I'm preparing for the worst

Eric said...

My son is 17, and he is a freethinker. He finds that many kids in school are 'indoctrinated' by their parents, but they have access to so much information that they discard the myths that their parents teach them. Most of the kids in my son's school are atheists already, and most of the parents do not know it.

The next generation of Americans will be a majority of freethinkers, but I am still afraid that the violent and stubborn religious right will use fear and violence to silence the majority, much as they try and do now.

Berlzebub said...

@Mr. Ric:

I didn't allow your comment through because I Googled what you were referring to and found another comment by you that was verbatim to the one you posted here.

With that in mind, I rejected your comment. If you want to discuss the "logical, mechanical explanation[s]" for souls and God, please do so in an original manner. As it is, it appears you are just shilling for a book, being a troll, or both.