Archive for August, 2012

Film reviewed in RNCSE

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

My review of the movie No Dinosaurs in Heaven is now published in the newest edition of Reports of the National Center for Science Education.

Science Guy rules!

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I love Bill Nye the Science Guy. I watched his kid-targeted science show all the time (Science Rules!). Now I love the guy even more. He recently did a Big Think interview during which he tears into creationism.

“I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, that’s completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that’s fine.  But don’t make your kids do it.  Because we need them.  We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.”

The Internet is all abuzz about his video and creationists are up in arms over it. So, this post is just a quick shout out from a little corner of the Internet in support of the Science Guy. You Rule!

At least it’s not in Florida

Monday, August 27th, 2012

What is up with Kentucky? That state has become a creationist magnet lately: Creationists hope to establish hall of fame in northern Ky., near museum.

The founders of the Creation Science Hall of Fame, which exists now only as a website, hope to locate along Interstate 75 about halfway between the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.

Virtual education redux

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

I’ve written plenty about the good, bad and ugly of virtual education. I’m glad that some folk appear to be catching on to the fact that it’s not the grand education solution, as demonstrated to some extent in this Ocala Star-Banner article: Virtual schools help some students get ahead.

But while parents’ and students’ demands for virtual school instruction are exploding, some educators are concerned that there are not enough data to determine whether the quality of virtual schools is as good as traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

A report published in January by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado found that in 2010-2011 only 27 percent of the nation’s 93 privately managed virtual schools achieved “adequate yearly progress” as defined by the federal government under the No Child Left Behind Act.

And a U.S. Department of Education study says data on virtual schools is limited and inconclusive.

The article does touch a little bit on how some students suffer from not having direct in-person contact with teachers, but one essential element wasn’t mentioned at all: how is science education done in a virtual environment? That’s an important subject that absolutely needs to be part of any virtual education discussion! How do you properly conduct hands-on labs and know you are doing them right without direct teacher supervision? Can you get credit for a chemistry course without actually handling any chemicals?

One step at a time, I guess

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The latest ACT college prep exam results were released today: Florida ACT scores inch upward but still lag nation’s.

Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson released an everything is rosy statement. “For the fifth year in a row, Florida has expanded participation and continued to see performance growth on the ACT.”

Sure, I guess that is technically true, but when it comes to science it’s nothing to brag about. In comparison to other states (and Washington D.C.) Florida was 50th last year. This year we moved up! But it was a whopping single step. We’re 49th. Wahoo.

(h/t Bridge to Tomorrow)

All Together Now, One More Time

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I really cannot believe that I have been motivated to write a post after this subject has been considered more times than Kirk Cameron has made a fool of himself. The statement “Evolution is just a Theory” has resonated in the halls of scientific ignorance for years,I couldn’t even google who was first to make the statement.Thanks to Brandon’s diligence, we have witnessed everyone from State Senators to school board members spouting this worn out canard in an effort to substantiate their position. Now we have this article in the Huff Post entitled “GOP law makers upset that state exams (A C Ts)  test students on made up theory”. including this gem. “The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science — Darwin made it up,” state Sen. Ben Waide (R) said. “My objection is they should ensure whatever scientific material is being put forth as a standard should at least stand up to scientific method. Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny.”

Now, I could  direct those who make these kind of statements to Wikipedia and suggest they read very  carefully,but we all know that would be asking too much. So what I would like all of us to try and do is come up with a short, but poignant phrase that would point out the true meaning. I will start off with “Evolution Theory and Fact” lets see what the rest of us can do?

And what about science education?

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I would quote the parts related to science education in this story about Florida using national standards and tougher tests … but there ARE NONE: FCAT to be retired, replaced by more and tougher exams.

Bridge to Tomorrow is noticing the same thing. “That is, Florida’s students will be competing at the national level in math and English language arts, but we’ll continue to insulate our students from national competition in science.”

Meet the Flinstones … in Jacksonville

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Is there a comedy club in that Jacksonville Church?

Defending the Truth Seminar.” Lecture: “Evidence from science testifying to man’s cohabitation with dinosaurs and the many flaws of the evolutionary time scale.”

Wow. Just wow.