06 April 2009

Remember, she’s a science specialist

Ozone formationHere’s a revealing quote from Laura Clark, secondary science specialist for the Texas City public school district, quoted in the Galveston Country Daily News (emphasis added):

Global warming is more debated in Texas City classrooms than evolution, she said.

“It’s amazing how hotly it can get debated in class,” Clark said. “There are some students who believe the media and the government are trying to make it a bigger deal than it is and that they are trying to cause panic. Then there are other students who truly believe an increase in carbon dioxide in the air is breaking down the ozone layer ... We teach both sides, anyway — especially if it’s something controversial like that.”

Now, there are some ellipses in there, and it’s possible that she’s quoted out of context, but it sure looks like she’s saying that global warming is related to the ozone layer.

It isn’t.

And if she’s the instructor, indeed, a science specialist, I cringe.

The article has more to say about the recent Texas K-12 science standards and evolution, but this quote is a reminder that in many senses, the standards are less important than the teachers on the ground. And their knowledge of science and willingness to teach it is... variable.

Also this morning, an editorial in the Corpus Christi Caller:

The idea of having an elected body of citizens have a say in what is taught in public classrooms may be admirable on its face, but having that body in the hands of an ideological faction is not.

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