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You want some depressing news about the American education system?

(Is there any other kind?)

Here you go:

The majority of high school biology teachers don’t take a solid stance on evolution with their students, mostly to avoid conflicts, and fewer than 30 percent of teachers take an adamant pro-evolutionary stance on the topic, a new study finds. Also, 13 percent of these teachers advocate creationism in their classrooms.

About 60 percent of the teachers polled didn’t take a direct stance on the subject, dubbed by the authors as the “cautious 60 percent.”

That last line bothers me almost as much as the fact that we have a lot of science teachers out there who obviously don’t understand science.

This is why we need activists in the classroom who are willing to stand up to the Creationists. We need more advocates for good science. If you choose to duck and cover when the subject of evolution comes up, you’re hurting your own students’ education — how can any decent teacher stand by while that happens?

How do we fix this?

Administrators need to be very stringent about who they hire. Interviews with potential science teachers should include discussions about evolution — how the candidate would teach it, how relevant the teacher feels the subject is, how teachers would handle a student (or parent) who opposes the teaching of it, etc.

Every teacher certification program I’m aware of includes a class dealing with current issues in education. Evolution and other religious issues like ‘moments of silence’ need to be a focus here.

Science teachers themselves have to make an extra effort to teach evolution correctly and in depth. That requires brushing up on the topic if needed and collaborating with colleagues to discuss best practices.

In any case, Creationists shouldn’t be teaching public school science classes. They’re as bad as pharmacists who deny women birth control because they oppose it for religious reasons.

You might wonder why they go into science education in the first place if they don’t want to educate students about actual science… Until you realize you’ve answered your own question.

(Thanks to Kevin for the link)