[Taxacom] Evolution Education

Sara Lubkin shl24 at cornell.edu
Fri Feb 4 10:50:21 CST 2011

Another lurker here.

I recently read something written by a faculty member of a teaching school
that blamed problems in science education on the hiring of scientists who
were not trained as teachers.  I can't find the article or I would post a
link. I then looked up the science requirements for their science teachers;
they are required to take 6 credits of college level science courses (is
that two classes?) and pass with a "C".  The school also offers a science
education policy degree.

In my own experience, one of my high school students came home from their
first day of biology class with information about the three kingdoms of
life: animal, plants and protists.  I said "What three kingdoms?" and talked
to the teacher.  Apparently, that's what is on the test, so that is what
must be taught regardless of whether or not it is accepted science.

I believe it must be the graduates of that teaching school who are deciding
what is on the test.

On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 11:38 AM, R J Ferry <rferry at miosjournal.org> wrote:

> Fri-04Feb11/1038 local
> Like Mark, I tend to lurk much and post little. However, recent
> opinion(s) about the possible advisability of leaving the teaching of
> evolution out of the primary and secondary school systems strikes me
> that it would be a giant step backward! I am both a retired military and
> a retired public school teacher with some college teaching as well.
> Consider this analogy: it's the easiest thing in the world to stop a war
> at any time, all one side has to do is surrender! That would not only
> delight rabid fundamentalists of all stripes, but would inspire them to
> continue and expand their personal jihad aggressions against science in
> general and scientist in particular! I taught biology (and other
> science) for years, and I think many (perhaps even /most/) primary and
> secondary teachers tend to "miss the boat" as they approach "teaching
> evolution."
> Religion, indeed /all/ religions begin with "who did it" and soon
> progress to what your conduct should be. Science is _not_ out to answer
> the "whodunit" question! Science is trying (hopefully with the best and
> most dispassionate logic we can muster) to tell _how it was done_.
> There's a giant-step gap between "whodunit" and "how it was done!" As we
> teach natural history, the devout can point to the magnificence of The
> Creator and the job He/She/They have done /and are continuing to do/.
> The skeptic can continue to question and study! Evolution is what's
> happened and what's continuing to happen,...don't "teach evolution,"
> just teach the facts as best we've been able to reason them out.
> Mark and I are, I'm sure, in wholehearted agreement that science
> teaching in the primary grades is practically non-existent, and at the
> secondary level is not much different! However, there is a lot of
> mis-teaching due to poor educational background of the ones doing the
> teaching! The curriculum tends to be whatever Holt Rinehart and Somebody
> sells to the state for its school systems. It may have changed recently,
> but in the not distant past an elementary teacher in Texas was
> "certified" to teach science with no more than ten semester hours of
> undergrad science credits. Remember something: "certification" is not a
> pedigree; it's like a dog license that "certifies" an individual to run
> the educational streets!
> What could we use? What we could use is (as John Foster Dulles put it
> about US foreign policy years ago) and "agonizing reappraisal" of /what
> and how/ we teach, and the legislative teeth to put it in operation!
> More and more, I advocate getting rid of "teacher's colleges" because
> they're little more than an educational union group governing being
> "certified" to be a teacher,...a principal,...a
> superintendent,...counselor,...on and on! Picture the M.D. who decides
> to take a secondary school job teaching chemistry,...because he doesn't
> have the required education courses, he's hired at 85% of the B.S.
> degree salary until he makes up his "educational deficiencies." As
> yourselves why! Ask your state legislatures: they have the power to run
> the school systems.
> I could go on and on, but another version of the short story is simply
> this: instead of ranting "outside the door," how many of us are willing
> to lay aside our bean counting and philosophizing for a few days
> periodically and /go into the public school system /and /try to help/
> the local science teacher who's in the blackboard jungle and is already
> overburdened with paperwork and would really welcome the "specialist"
> help in whatever your field is? ...and, by the way, do it without pay;
> do it to help a teacher in need!
> The years I taught were some of the happiest in my several decades of
> this life. The kids were magnificent,...the administrations generally
> wanted to concentrate on football, bands, and other forms of public
> entertainment because it brought in "local funds." University
> teacher/researchers become almost slaves to the "what's the funding"
> game,...of which the institution takes a big bite "for the use of their
> facilities" which usually means building another building and naming it
> after themselves. Meanwhile, what comes to mind when you hear a
> university's name? Yep! Football. That event where they make the
> students move their cars out of the state-owned parking spot they're
> paying rent to the university for,...so the university can rent it for
> the football fans and pocket the money. Talk about your detailed
> scams,...By the way, who makes the big bucks at the university
> level,...the scientist or the football coach? Where's our local and
> national emphasis? It's that way all over the US. We educate to play! In
> India, China, Mexico (just to note a few), they educate to work. We used
> to say, "Goodbye John, work hard!" Now it's more common to say, "Goodbye
> John, take it easy." Notice the difference in a national attitude?
> I've soap-boxed too long. It's time I took Will Rogers advice: "Never
> pass up a good chance to shut up!" I'll close and await the blasts of
> the return flame war.
> Bob Ferry, PhD
> Victoria, Texas,... where currently it's freezing cold,besides, I've
> orchids to care for and a library of books to dig into.
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