The State of State Science Standards 2012
This map (larger version) by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute illustrates where each state stands in terms of public science education standards. The national average is very poor - equivalent to a low C. The majority of districts received D’s and F’s; only six received above a B, and only two (California and Washington D.C.) an A.
To give you a sense of these ratings, Tennessee, which received an overall rating of D, fails to mention evolution in half of their high school biology programs, according to the report. As biology is also an elective in Tennessee, students are quite likely to graduate without ever learning the fundamental principals of evolution. Tennessee was given a rating of 1 out of 7 in Life Science. Worse still is Oregon, which provides no standard for Physics or chemistry - in fact, the words “physics” and “chemistry” are not mentioned once in the complete curriculum. In other sections of the report, specific passages of the state document are described as “gibberish”. Oregon was given an overall rating of F, and received some of the lowest numerical ratings. In Oklahoma, which also received an F, no topics of astronomy are covered. The word “star” does not appear once in the science curriculum. Other topics such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate tectonics are glossed over in passing generalizations or even restricted to parenthetical side notes. Oklahoma was rated 0 out of 7 in Earth & Space Science. Many states that received D’s or F’s were given 0’s in multiple fields. Wisconsin received 0’s in five out of six categories. It is the only state to receive an overall rating of 0 out of 10. Wisconsin’s science curriculum, unchanged since the previous report in 1998 in spite of much criticism, is described as “simply worthless”.
In the forward of the complete report, Dr. Lawrence Lerner, a lead author in the evaluation, was quoted:
“When it comes to academic standards… even a “B” ought not be deemed satisfactory. In a properly organized education system, standards drive everything else. If they are only “pretty good,” then “pretty good” is the best the system is apt to produce by way of student learning. No state should be satisfied with such a result. Hence, no state should be satisfied with less than world- class standards in a core academic subject such as science.”
Click here for a complete breakdown which includes detailed analysis and ratings of each subject in each state, including Scientific Inquiry & Methodology, Physical Science, Physics, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, and Life Science.
Hmm, D. Maybe more on that later.
Pennsylvania no :C
I’m honestly surprised Texas even managed a C
good job there, sport
Jesus. I’m from California and…our educational standards are not good. I don’t like to think about what that says for the rest of the country.
I’ve always been appalled by the poor quality of science education, and California’s education system is all I’ve ever known. And if we’re top of the list, thinking about what the rest of the states’ science education is like makes me want to cry.