Archive for October, 2014

It’s Just Not Happening

Monday, October 20th, 2014

I know what I’m about to offer can in no way be considered anything close to scientifically accurate, but I do feel that it is at worse a fair example of what is going on in many of  Florida’s school districts.

As some of you know, last year I started asking 11/12 k students if they were, or had been, studying evolution in their biology classes and quizzed them on a few basic questions on TOE (which 80% of the students failed to answer). I also began talking to the same grade science teachers to see if they covered TOE in their classes.

Since August last year I have spoken to well over 100 students and 30 teachers from 19 different high schools, covering four counties. Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk and Hardee. I have documented the results, although I promised anonymity, particularly to the teachers.

As I said, I’m no statistician, but basically just over 72% of those students either covered TOE briefly or not at all and out of the teachers I questioned, 58% admitted they hardly taught the subject or ignored it completely. Ninety percent of the teachers said they are just trying to avoid conflicts with students or parents. Polk and Hardee had the worse numbers, then Pasco, with Hillsborough being the best. I’m sure if this research was conducted on a state level, we would find similar results, some counties faring better than others. However, considering that Evolution is a large part of the biology science standards, these findings are appalling. All districts should follow the standards without exception and this is just not happening.

You can have all the NGSS you want, but if the FDOE are not following up with any monitoring of the standards, district by district, they mean little or nothing.

Interesting endorsement

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

The Tampa Bay Times made an interesting endorsement recently. Times recommends: Peluso for Pinellas School Board

Peluso, 58, made an unfortunate misstep in August when twice in one day at public forums he professed support for teaching creationism alongside evolution, which would be a violation of the state’s science standards. The next day, Peluso clarified he supported teaching creationism only as part of a world religion course. That’s good, as the district has more pressing challenges than a culture war over widely accepted science.

Nice review of Going Ape

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

The Reports of the National Center for Science Education published a nice review of Going Ape!

Evolution in the Sunshine State

“Brandon Haught, formerly a Marine Corps combat correspondent and currently public information officer with the Volusia County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office, has produced a very well-researched, well-written book on the history of the conflicts over evolution in the curriculum of public schools in Florida.”
“In summary, Going Ape is informative, helping to put the nationwide exploits of the anti-evolutionists in perspective, and, as a bonus, it is enjoyable to read—kudos to the author. Haught closes his narrative with ‘It’s a certainty that someone’s passions will spark the next battle. My fingers are hovering over the keyboard, ready to chronicle it. I doubt I have long to wait’ (page 234). I look forward to reading his next contribution.”