Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Missouri Science Standards: Where We Rank

The Fordham Foundation's report on science standards has been released. The report, The State of State Science Standards 2005 examines how well, or poorly, states are doing in creating science standards for education.

Missouri was given a "C". The evaluation for Missouri is available here. The grade seems to be due to inconsistencies in application, but judge for yourself.

In the meantime, Missouri's own underminer of science education, Cynthia Davis, is at it again:

“I think Kansas is doing the right thing,” said Rep. Cynthia Davis, a St. Louis County Republican who last year filed a bill that would have required biology textbooks to include “critical analysis of origins.”

Davis’ bill got a hearing two weeks before the legislative session ended and never advanced out of committee. Davis, who plans to file similar legislation for the 2006 session, hopes next year will be different.

“I think its opportunity to be successful is greater every year because people are becoming more informed and taking time to read and understand,” she said.


“You look at Galileo who was criticized as being a heretic because he thought the earth revolved around the sun instead of the other way around,” she said. “There are doctors who were ostracized because they washed their hands in between patients. Today we know that sometimes you’ve got to change with the times.”

Um, Cynthia, dear, would that be evolution?

Of course Missouri is different from Kansas:

Perhaps the most obvious reason anti-evolution forces have had a harder time in Missouri is that its state board of education is appointed by the governor. The eight members serve eight-year terms, with one member’s term expiring every year.

Missouri’s education board sets broad education standards. But it is up to local school boards to set policies on textbooks and what is taught in the classroom, officials with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said.

Missouri lawmakers, though at times sympathetic to intelligent design arguments, have been reluctant to mandate what is taught in the classroom.

“If you start in one area and start mandating what’s in textbooks on the state level, then where do you stop?” asked Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields, a St. Joseph Republican.

The bad news:

Though Shields said he believed the theory of evolution “is in question,” he prefers to leave such issues to local school boards. That also has been the approach favored by Gov. Matt Blunt, who earlier this year indicated he would at least consider intelligent design proposals.

“I believe evolution is a theory, and there are other acceptable theories to explain the creation of Earth and the creation of man,” Blunt said. “I generally believe such decisions are best left to school districts.”

Of course, giving Blunt's low popularity that may be a blessing in disguise as people might not go for it because he wants it.

There is hope:

Dudley, though, said intelligent design proponents are trying to inject faith into science. A self-described conservative Southern Baptist, Dudley said she believes in God as a creator — but a creator who uses the process of evolution.

“There’s what I believe as a Christian,” she said, “and then there’s what I can teach in my classroom.”

Is it any wonder we get a "C"?

And speaking of Kansas Red State Rabble is reporting the Professor Mirecki has resigned as chair of the Religious Studies Dept. at KU.