It’s near the end of the fall term, and Report Cards are in!
The Fordham Foundation report on America’s science standards, “The State of State Science Standards 2005”, has been released.
Links to state reports, along with their overall letter grades (A-F) and evolution scores (0 - 3 points possible), appear below the fold. There are some key points emerging from this report.
For one, this year’s dumbing-down of Kansas standards got the Fordham folks mad - really mad.
Note added In Proof:The early warnings have been justified. Kansas has adopted standards whose treatment of evolutionary material has been radically compromised. The effect transcends evolution, however. It now makes a mockery of the very definition of science. The grade for Kansas is accordingly reduced to F.
Additionally, the report directly contradicts the claims of the Discovery Institute’s incessant revisionists. In a report on the Dover suit on November 10th, Steve Jordahl of Family News in Focus reports
…Rob Crowther of the Discover [sic] Institute says that fight is probably coming. … He says the ACLU hopes to ride this issue to the Supreme Court. Crowther says four other states have successfully integrated the controversies surrounding evolution into their curriculum. They are Ohio, New Mexico, Minnesota and ironically Pennsylvania, where the state has adopted a much broader standard than Dover. …
Will Rob Crowther correct his error? I’m skeptical.
Here are the grades for each state. How did your state do?
|STATE||LETTER GRADE||EVOLUTION SCORE/3|
|District of Columbia||C||2|
Some memorable quotes from the complete report: Page 14
The inclusion of such anti-evolution content is a goal of contemporary “intelligent design” creationism, now overtaking other, older forms of creationism in the perennial struggle to discredit “Darwinism.” A decade ago, this movement, which acquired a command post and funding source in the Discovery Institute of Seattle, Washington, argued vigorously for explicit teaching of the evidence for intelligent design—for the role of external, conscious agency in the history of life on Earth. When examined by qualified scientists and mathematicians, however, that evidence turned out not to be evidence,5 and so it remains — no evidence — at the time of writing. The promoters of intelligent design creationism have perforce retreated to arguments that invoke the popular and conveniently vague educationist formula, “critical thinking.” The claim now is that evidence against “Darwinism” exists, that curriculum-makers should include it as an exercise in critical thinking, and that “freedom of speech” or “fairness” requires that they do so. The hidden agenda is to introduce doubt—any possible doubt — about evolution at the critical early stage of introduction to the relevant science.
Evolution is the organizing principle of modern biology, and its simple but powerful principles and algorithms have colonized scholarly disciplines formerly as remote from biology as economics, engineering, and literature. For us to have made no progress in establishing sound standards for K-12 education in evolution is very discouraging; but then, things could clearly have been worse.