AAAS: Teachers and Evolution on the Front Line

During the 2006 Annual meeting of the AAAS in St Louis, the “Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology” organized an event for St Louis teachers called: AAAS Evolution on the Front Line.

The resources include powerpoints of the presentations and videos which I understand will be added at a later time.

Dr. Gilbert S. Omenn, AAAS President and Professor of Medicine, Genetics and Public Health, University of Michigan presented the results from the Teacher Survey

Focus Groups – Four Recurring Themes

Teachers often don’t teach human evolution if it’s not assessed by statewide standardized testing.

When teachers verbally “frame” evolution to preempt resistance in the classroom, some students may interpret the words as equivocation.

Parochial school teachers may experience less pressure than their public-school counterparts to insert non-scientific views into science classrooms.

Students may be far less concerned about evolution versus creationism and intelligent design than many of the adults around them.

Ms. Linda K. Froschauer, President-Elect, NSTA; Middle-School Teacher and K-8 Science Department Chair, Weston Public Schools, CT presented on the Scope of the problem today

“School started this week and a lovely well-spoken ……. youngster came up to me and asked to be excused any time that I referred to evolution in class.

I explained that that might be every day;

I asked her to let her parents know.”

Science department chair Arizona

“There is an extremely vocal creationist minority in my community who call up the administration whenever I start to cover anything having to do with evolution.

Their students snigger and sneer in the classroom when even a video mentions anything having to do with [evolution].”

Science teacher State unknown


Dr. George V. Coyne, Director, The Vatican Observatory presented a Video of Presentation: Is God a Scientist? A Catholic Scientist Looks at Evolution


Prof. Scott Sampson, University of Utah and Utah Museum of Natural History presented on evidence for macro-evolution

Prof. Kenneth R. Miller, Brown University presented Time to Abandon Darwin? Answering the Challenge from “design”

Prof. Robert M. Hazen, George Mason University and Carnegie Institution of Washington presented GENESIS: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origin