We warned repeatedly during the recent
debate over science curriculum 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.
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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.