In discussing Marco Rubio’s anti-science perspectives during the previous post, I mentioned Florida’s miserable (though improving) track record in regards to the teaching of evolution. As it turns out, the National Association of Biology Teachers has recently published the results of a survey which focused on the attitudes held by Florida’s biology teachers towards the teaching of evolution.
The survey’s data was derived from the responses of 353 Florida biology teachers; 28% of which taught biology in kindergarten through the fifth grade, 24% instructed biology in grades six through eight and 48% taught biology at the high school level (grades 9–12).
A Few of the Findings:
20% of Florida’s biology teachers are NOT COMFORTABLE with even INCLUDING evolution as a required science standard
17% of the teachers felt that biology COULD be taught and understood WITHOUT teaching evolution
17% DISAGREED that the earth is at least 4 billion years old (34% of those that disagreed believed that the earth is only between 4,000 and 40,000 years old)
34% felt that believing in God MEANS rejecting evolution
72% of the respondents reported that they HAD NEVER BEEN criticized by other teachers or school administrators in regards to HOW they taught evolution
44% of the teachers indicated that their teaching of evolution HAS BEEN criticized by students or parents
If the above numbers seem frightening consider this: The study’s respondents were solicited from the Building a Presence in Science (BaP) program of the National Science Teachers Association. Therefore, the numbers could be biased towards the "pro" science education end of the spectrum!!!
FOWLER and MEISELS (2010). Florida Teachers’ Attitudes about
Teaching Evolution The American Biology Teacher, 72 (2), 96-99 : 10.1525/abt.2010.72.2.8