Biology teachers and creationism
We've said before that the state's proposed new science standards have won favorable reviews from science teachers, and judging by the comments we've gathered and read, they have. But a cluster of surveys outside of Florida, including some by University of Minnesota Professor Randy Moore (left), make us wonder if there could be a sizable minority of science teachers who don't like the standards – and for the same reasons that some members of the public don't.
Moore, who was quoted in yesterday's St. Petersburg Times story about teaching evolution (a story that briefly touched on this issue of teachers and their religious beliefs, but did not dwell on it) found in a survey of college freshmen in Minnesota that about 25 percent were taught creationism by their high school biology teachers, and that most of those teachers presented creationism as a scientific alternative to evolution. In another survey, Moore found 1in 4 Minnesota biology teachers believe creationism is scientifically valid, while 1 in 6 believe evolution is not.
"Although the teaching of creationism in science classes of public schools is unlawful, many public schools continue to hire, promote or tolerate biology teachers who teach creationism in their classrooms," Moore concluded. Could this be true in Florida as well? As yesterday's Times story points out, nobody knows for sure, because nobody has really asked. To read more about Moore's views on this issue, and to see his summary of related surveys, click here.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter