Recent Gallup polls found that eight out of ten Americans believe God created humans in their present form, or at least that He guided the process of human evolution. Apparently some of those 80% are public high school biology teachers, because creationism is flourishing in classrooms despite federal court rulings that creationism or intelligent design cannot be taught. A recent survey of 926 public high school biology teachers revealed that only 28% consistently follow National Research Council recommendations to teach evolution as the unifying theme of biology, 13% explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design, and most teachers, said they are “neither strong advocates for evolutionary biology or explicit endorsers of nonscientific alternatives.”
The survey found that some teachers tell students frankly that they must teach evolution because state examinations test it, but that students do not need to “believe” it. Others teach about adaptations within a species, but not that one species can give rise to other species. Many teachers consider both evolution and creationism to be belief systems that cannot be fully proven or discredited, and assure students they are free to choose, based on their own beliefs.
Political science professors at Penn State, Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer, wrote that “Considerable research suggests that supporters of evolution, scientific methods, and reason itself are losing battles in America’s classrooms.”
Frustrated by this failure of teachers to toe the evolution line, some educators are pressing to start teaching evolution in kindergarten and repeat it every year through high school. They believe that starting early will make it less likely that young people will reject evolution later.
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