The National Science Foundation has released the results of a supposedly valid poll that shows one out of four Americans don't know the earth orbits the sun. Per the article:
....And then, today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) delivered news of a pretty shocking poll result: around one in four Americans (yes, that's 25 percent) are unaware that the Earth orbits the sun. Let’s repeat that: One in four Americans — that represents one quarter of the population — when asked probably the most basic question in science (except, perhaps, “Is the Earth flat?” Hint: No.), got the answer incorrect....
Ho ... ly ... crap.
Although, I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a guy that included: "I mean, what do we have now? 45 ... 46 states?"
Does this imply that one in four Americans did not go to a proper school?
Define proper. I think most Europeans don't truly grasp the amount of bat-shit insanity we have in this country.
We have a double-digit percentage of high-school biology teachers who ... not only don't teach biological evolution, which is a regular thing for teachers to leave out, because they don't feel like dealing with the shit from fundie nut-job parents ... but actually teach creationism, according to some Pew Research polls and other polls I've seen.
Very sad. I was hoping to hear that there is a US federal teaching curriculum that sets out what scientifically-supported facts need to be competently taught by professional teachers--whether they try to dodge doing so or not . . . and that there is a schools inspection system that checks on this. I was hoping that state high-schools teach 'properly' whether the children believe their (competent) teachers or not--and that nutcase schools with nutcase teachers are limited to the private realms desired by nutcase fee-paying parents.
And I say this in the highest praise of the top-quality scientists that the USA continues to produce.
Oh, certainly, teaching creationism is quite unconstitutional and has been outlawed by the Supreme Court since 1987. You have to catch the bastards to prosecute them, first, though. You have to find someone with a child at the school to bring the lawsuit, at which point they will be harassed with death threats and driven out of the small town in which the school is located.
You can't get away with this sort of nonsense in major urban areas, but in small towns all over America, they get away with constitutional violations all the time, because anyone who opposes them is too scared to fight them ... for damned good reason.
Even if the educational system had the money to spend on policing the schools like this, there are too many states with the school boards infiltrated by creationist nuts who would prevent any proper investigation. The only real recourse is the legal system, and that's like hunting cockroaches in an infested building, using a toothpick to slay them one at a time.
And a lot of this is done with the blessing of state officials!
Slate has a good article and map:
Publicly Funded Schools That Are Allowed to Teach Creationism
[...] creationism in schools isn’t restricted to schoolhouses in remote villages [...] If you live in any of these states, there’s a good chance your tax money is helping to convince some hapless students that evolution (the basis of all modern biological science [...]) is some sort of highly contested scientific hypothesis as credible as “God did it.”
(Click for the article with its zoomable, interactive map.)
The green dots represent potential tax-supported creationism: they are public schools in Louisiana and Tennessee, where state law permits the teaching of "alternatives" to evolution. The orange dots are private schools that accept tax-funded vouchers or scholarships and teach creationism; the red dots are Responsive Ed charter schools with creationist curricula.
Wow! That makes it clear how much brainwashing of children we're paying for. Thanks Grinning Cat.
I think not, though home schooling undoubtedly has some effect. When I taught science in high school, to the less academic students, they made little effort to learn or pay attention. I'd cover a subject, many would pass a test on it. Then two months later it was as if they'd never heard of it. When students only pretend to learn science because they don't care, comprehension eludes them. The harder I tried with flagging individuals, the less they tried. If it didn't sing and dance, a subject was essentially nonexistent. Yes, I even tried singing. That inspired one student, a few years after he'd graduated.
I agree with Ruth. I also started out as a high school teacher (mathematics) and the non-college prep students cared very little about learning. My understanding is that today one out of four U.S. high school students drops out. By and large, teachers in U.S. public schools have to have met qualifying academic and apprenticeship standards. Moreover, for the most part school curricula are sufficient to reasonably educate students who take them seriously. Accordingly, although there are religious fanatics in the school systems that interfere with the learning process I think the main reason that so many U.S. students fail to achieve academically is that they are cases of the adage that - You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.
What we have are very likely too many schools where the bible is either de jure or de facto more important than mathematics and science texts. These are the same people who respond as those in the audience did when Bill Nye asserted that the moon REFLECTS light, rather than being a light source: "We believe in the bible here!"
Such people are purposefully and determinedly IGNORANT, with authorities around them who are clearly at least enablers if not utterly in the same camp with them ... and about all you can do about them is hope they die out.
That number is hard to believe, yet believable. I attended catholic school for 12 years and thankfully, I did learn about the planets, the fact that the Earth revolves around the sun, that the sun IS a star, and that the moon reflects the light from the sun. So did my sons during their 13 years of catholic school, including a number of years in an orthodox catholic school.
So glad my granddaughter will be taught facts and not fairy tales. I only hope that our numbers continue to grow and rally against the numb skulls that surround us.