Tax-Payer Money Used to Pay for Teaching of Evolution– Why???
A great article posted on the Discovery Institute website (Article by Casey Luskin) reports that the National Science Foundation will be launching a project to teach young children about evolution. To be more precise, nearly two million dollars of tax-payer money will be used to teach third, fourth and fifth graders about one scientific theory.
At the same time two thirds of middle school students are below proficient in reading ability, only 34% of high school graduates are able to cope with the reading required at a four-year college, and a quarter of American high school students do not even reach baseline proficiency in science. The story does not improve with adulthood; only 28% of American adults have even rudimentary scientific understanding. Is this because they are insufficiently educated about a one-sided view of the scientific facts regarding evolution? I don’t think so.
Young children just need to be taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and the basic facts about science and social studies–there is plenty of material to keep them busy. Then, when they are older, one of the best ways to help students learn is to teach them both sides of controversial subjects. Students need to be stimulated to want to learn and controversy helps them to apply critical thinking skills to new knowledge. A study at Ohio State University showed that test scores increased fourfold when students were allowed to be free to think in lab class; the professor had a goal of helping his students to become “independent and objective thinkers.”
Yale University has also recognized the importance of this practice, releasing recommendations from a 2008 workshop on teaching controversial subjects and avoiding bias. They quote Dr. David Horowitz of Students for Academic Freedom, “You can’t get a good education if they’re only telling you half the story.” The critical need for allowing argument and encouraging students to examine all sides of an issue to help them learn science is well recognized. Perhaps the National Science Foundation should consult with the people at Yale!