National Center for Science Education
"At the request of a West Virginia Board of Education member who said he doesn't believe human-influenced climate change is a 'foregone conclusion,' new state science standards on the topic were altered before the state school board adopted them," reported the Charleston Gazette (December 28, 2014), in a detailed story.
Wyoming's House Bill 23 (PDF), introduced on December 23, 2014, would, if enacted, repeal the footnote in the law establishing the state budget for 2014-2016 that precludes the use of state funds "for any review or adoption" of the Next Generation Science Standards.
NCSE is pleased to congratulate Patricia Kelley — a professor of geology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and a member of NCSE's Advisory Council — on her selection as one of four Outstanding Professors of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Michigan's House Bill 4972, which would, if enacted, have required that Michigan's "model core academic curriculum standards shall not be based on the Next Generation Science Standards," died in the House Committee on Education when the legislature adjourned on December 19, 2014.
The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a position statement on evolution from Leeds Museums and Galleries.
The Scottish government rejected the proposal to ban the teaching of creationism in publicly funded schools in Scotland, according to the Glasgow Herald (December 16, 2014). The head of Curriculum Unit at the Learning Directorate told the newspaper, "I can ... confirm that there are no plans to issue guidance to schools or education authorities to prevent the presentation of creationism, intelligent design or similar doctrines by teachers or school visitors. The evidence available suggests that guidance on these matters is unnecessary."
Ohio's House Bill 597 — which if enacted would require students in the state's public schools to "review, in an objective manner, the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories in the [state science] standards" — died in the legislature, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer (December 15, 2014).
A bill to allow the Wyoming state board of education to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards will be introduced in the legislature, according to the Billings Gazette (December 15, 2014).
"Kentucky's Tourism Arts & Heritage Cabinet Secretary Bob Stewart informed representatives of the proposed Ark Encounter tourist attraction today that their project will not be eligible for up to $18 million in tax incentives from the state, due to their refusal to pledge not to discriminate in hiring based on religion," Insider Louisville (December 10, 2014) reports.
NCSE's Mark McCaffrey's Climate Smart & Energy Wise: Advancing Science Literacy, Knowledge, and Know-How (Corwin Press, 2014) received a positive review from the National Science Teachers Association's NSTA Recommends.
"Overall, Latin Americans embrace the idea that humans and other living things have evolved over time." That was the upshot of a Pew Research Center survey on "Religion in Latin America" (PDF) which included a question about evolution: "Thinking about evolution, which comes closer to your view? Human beings and other living things have evolved over time, or humans at other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time."
"[T]he White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) is launching a new Climate Education and Literacy Initiative to help connect American students and citizens with the best-available, science-based information about climate change," according (PDF) to a December 3, 2014, press release from the White House. And NCSE is involved.
A federal court dismissed a creationist lawsuit seeking to prevent Kansas from adopting the Next Generation Science Standards on the grounds that doing so would "establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview." In a December 2, 2014, order (PDF) in COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al., Judge Daniel D. Crabtree of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case.
A new survey suggests that public attitudes toward religion and human origins are more diverse and less confident than the Gallup findings indicate. "It's important to know that a large portion of the population is unsure about their beliefs, and there is a large portion of the population that doesn't care," Jonathan P. Hill told the Atlantic (November 23, 2014), prior to the December 2, 2014, release of the National Study of Religion & Human Origins.
Attitudes toward evolution and the compatibility of science and religion were addressed in a new survey (PDF) from the Public Religion Research Institute (which, as NCSE previously reported, was mainly focused on climate change). Presented with "Evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth," 24% of respondents completely agreed, 29% mostly agreed, 14% mostly disagreed, and 27% completely disagreed, with 5% of respondents saying that they didn't know or refusing to answer.
A new survey (PDF) from the Public Religion Research Institute hopes to help to explain, in the words of its report's subtitle, "Why Americans are Conflicted about Climate Change, Environmental Policy, and Science." Included in the survey was a series of questions probing beliefs about climate change and its causes.
The Texas state board of education voted to adopt a slate of social studies textbooks for use in the state on November 21, 2014. Among the books approved were several textbooks that, after criticism from NCSE and its allies in the scientific, educational, and civil liberties communities, were revised by their publishers (including Pearson and McGraw-Hill) to eliminate misrepresentations of climate science.
A bill introduced in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies would, if enacted, require creationism to be taught in the country's public and private schools.
The Darwin Day Roadshow is returning! The Roadshow is a project of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, in which NESCent staff shares their enthusiasm for evolutionary science with students, teachers, and the general public on the occasion of Charles Darwin's birthday, February 12.