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Your state’s report card

The Fordham Institute has released their annual evaluation of state science standards. They are very tough graders — Minnesota got a “C”. Ack! Mom & Dad are going to be pissed, how will we ever get into a good college at this rate?

The Institute does a fairly thorough breakdown, so there are some bright spots: Minnesota is doing a good job in the life sciences, but where we got dinged hard was on the physical sciences, which are “illogically organized” and contain factual errors. Here’s the introduction to their evaluation of our life sciences standards:

Important life science content is presented quite minimally, but the flow and logic are such as to convey an understanding of the concepts rather than coming across as a list of topics to check off. The inclusion of examples from Kindergarten through eighth grade helps to further explain what students should know and be able to do.

Minimal is OK, as far as I’m concerned; it think it’s more important to get across a solid conceptual understanding. Of course, given that some teachers do a very poor job of getting those concepts across, more specific guidelines might be useful.

What’s really awful about our C, though, is that that’s the same grade Texas got. Oh, the ignominy!

I think we got robbed, though. The detailed breakdown says that a major problem is inconsistency: some bits of the Texas standards are stellar, others are terrible; different grade levels get variable quality of coverage. Texas gets slammed for life science standards that are “woefully imbalanced, with poorly developed material in the early grades and strong, sometimes excellent, content in the upper levels.” The major flaws are entirely predictable.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the middle school standards, however, is their coverage of evolution. For instance, the seventh-grade standards mention the Galapagos finches, giving the impression that the Darwinian paradigm is being presented. Unfortunately, it is not. Instead, the example of the finch Geospiza fortis apparently refers to studies by Peter and Rosemary Grant on beak size in this species, made widely known by Jonathan Weiner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Beak of the Finch. Creationists often distort these important findings to argue that Darwinian macroevolution does not occur—instead, microevolution does. In addition, the word “evolution” is never used in any of the middle school standards, and the term “natural selection” is never explained.

What’s really telling, though, is the reactions. I just told you I’m disappointed with Minnesota’s “C”; we can do better, and I hope the next round of standards will improve ours to an “A”. In Texas, creationist kook Don McLeroy was happy with his “C”.

McLeroy told the Texas Independent he is “very pleased” with the study and believes it only serves to validate the role he and the conservative bloc played in crafting the standards.

“The work of religious conservatives has been vindicated,” he said, pointing to the report’s positive review of high school evolution standards. When asked about the poor evaluation of middle school standards, McLeroy said blame could fall on the writing teams and review committees and/or the whole board who could have stepped up to improve them. “In the end, what we wrote was legitimate, sound science and the study proves it.”

That is so completely backwards. The weaknesses in the standards are the direct result of the meddling corruption of science pushed by the religious conservatives on the board; everything the Fordham Institute said was bad about their standards were the points the creationists pushed. The strengths are the product of the motivated, hard-working scientists and educators who fought against the religious conservatives. McLeroy can take credit for that “C” in the sense that it could have been an “A” if he and his fellow travellers in superstition had been kicked out of the process…and that’s nothing to be proud of.

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. madknitter says

    I’m pleased that my home state, Massachusetts, got an A- (we could do better, though). I’m saddened that we’re the only New England state to make A levels.

  2. says

    Oklahoma got an F. I often complain that my understanding of science is no where near what it should be, but looking at my state’s report card I’m practically a genius to have made it out understanding as much as I do!

  3. says

    How in Cthullu’s name did Louisiana beat Texas? Honestly, I thought our standards were pretty good, even if ignored by the majority of teachers. I’ve got to read this report.

  4. says

    California power!

    Although you’d never guess California had high science standards going to the Mormon theocracy that was my high school.

  5. Larry says

    Well, I’m very happy to see California with an A. I know there are great pressures on the school system but its gratifying to see science is getting its due, none the less.

    What is really discouraging, however, is the large number of Ds and Fs. That is an absolutely sure way to global scientific, technical, and engineering obsolescence.

  6. evader says

    I haven’t the pleasure or privilege of attending one of your classes, Professor, but I am sure you would be an A+ level teacher!

    PZ Power!

  7. says

    If only McLeroy could have remained in charge, he could have brought it down to an F. It’ll never do to teach good science in one area and trash it in another, you have to attack “materialism” (that is, what is in actual evidence) through and through. If the Wedge strategy is ever implemented, all of science will necessarily be degraded.

    Of course he’s happy with a C. An A would be an affront to Dog.

    Glen Davidson

  8. cazfans says

    I guess this is good not to be ranked. Usually in Alabama we can say thank Dog for Mississippi or we’d be at the bottom of everything. This time they can thank Dog for us and we can both thank Dog for those grey states.

    It would be very interesting to see this map integrated by state population (size) or by state red or blueness or maybe by internet porn use. There’s just all sorts of interesting associations that might be illustrated.

  9. says

    I thought our standards were pretty good, even if ignored by the majority of teachers.

    Most American high school biology teachers are either incompetent or worse than incompetent. To solve this problem I suggest throw all Christian teachers out the window.

  10. Algernon says

    Yeah Texas! I’m so happy you’re making my state more stupid, Mr! Oh wait, no I’m not.

  11. says

    As if I don’t have enough reasons to be mortified, coming from New Jersey. I will admit, my grade and high school education did everything possible to squash any love of science, so it’s a wonder that I love it so much now. So much that I really want to go back to school for science.

  12. littlejohn says

    How did Indiana get an A-minus? We’re idiots. We’re about to approve intelligent design for our biology classes. You can vote in the poll on it at the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel opinion page, BTW.

  13. sometimeszero says

    Hmmm a D for Pennsylvania, huh? Can’t say I’m surprised. Maybe our standards will plummet farther in this Year of the Bible, 2012.

  14. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    B+! I’m kind of shocked, actually, considering that NY’s education standards are kind of lacking (to put it mildly).

  15. sc_f1420a35625886fd8b9f2a965679f63b says

    Wow a “D” for “Dirty Jersey”…might explain why some of my freshman bio students seem so unprepared. It’s amazing there’s such a disparity with New York.

    Looking through the report gives a lot more insight into the bad grade; the examples they cite are simply asinine. They appear to be written by someone who has studied “experimental” education techniques, but who has no knowledge of the actual subject.

    New York has an overseeing “University” that sets educational standards; I had to pass a standard final (Regents exam) for each subject to receive a state diploma. I believe California has a similar system; maybe other states should follow suit?

    I’m almost tempted to write the state Dept. of Ed.

  16. robro says

    Wow! California got an A…10 out of 10. Amazing. I think it’s time for a beer and some gloating. Good to know my taxes aren’t just going to build more prisons and highways.

    Noted that the only other “A” (full-blown, none of the minus stuff) is the District of Columbia. That’s particularly amazing given that Congress is notoriously stingy and draconian with DC. I’m surprised that they let the poor people in DC even get an education.

    Over half the states got Ds and Fs! Wyoming earned a 0. Only 11 states got Cs. That’s terribly sad. Maybe next time they should grade on the curve.

  17. jayarrrr says

    An A- for Indiana? Just wait till the next report card comes out, now that we’re about to legalize teaching Creationism in Science class.

    After all, we need to provide balance for our kiddies to that stuff the EVILootionists are pulling out of their asses.

    What? isn’t that what “theory” means? Just “something they pulled out of their asses”?
    That’s what most Hoosiers think it means.

  18. chrisbarts says

    Handing out so many Fs makes this less useful than it could be, even as a broad overview; I’m not saying that they should have inflated grades, just that moving to a finer (20-point at least) scale would be more informative.

  19. KennyG says

    Go, California!

    It’s a shame there are so many D’s and F’s though. Yet another reason why I should despair for my country, I suppose.

  20. A. R says

    The C is rather surprising given the astounding 10-12 science program in my home town High School.

  21. says

    How did Louisiana get a B+? I got accepted into UNO Grad School without completing my Bachelor’s Degree because they apparently don’t teach Numerical Methods at undergrad level, so I just had to re-sit Analysis to prove I was up to speed. It was either that or do a shed load of social science and civics classes to get a Math degree – bizarre!

  22. magistramarla says

    I’m amused to see that California got an A.
    I’ve lived in Texas for a long time, and people there love to make fun of CA. Now that I’m living in CA, I’m convinced that Texans must be extremely jealous of CA. It has a lot more going for it. Of course, I’m sure that the Texans would just scoff at the “librul” science teaching that is done out here.

  23. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    sc_yaddayaddayadda:

    New York has an overseeing “University” that sets educational standards; I had to pass a standard final (Regents exam) for each subject to receive a state diploma. I believe California has a similar system; maybe other states should follow suit?

    It has its drawbacks. Currently, we’ve got a huge fight on our hands between the teacher’s unions and Gov. Cuomo/the Board of Regents concerning new teacher evaluations. Basically, the Board proposed an evaluation scheme that would use standardized tests as the prime indicators of a teacher’s performance. That’s all fine and dandy if you’re in a wealthy suburban district, but what about the cash-strapped urban schools (and trust me, we’ve got a lot of those)?

    If they don’t reach an agreement, Cuomo is either going to insert his standards into the next budget bill or we’re going to lose the federal Race to the Top grant. Either way, it doesn’t look good.

  24. Rey Fox says

    Well, of course MeLeroy is happy to get a C. Straight Cs will get you into the frat of your choice at the college of your choice and then a plum position as a wingnut talking head or a school board lump.

    If you’re like McLeroy, that is. If you came from the right background and have the right connections. But anyone who isn’t like McLeroy isn’t really worth thinking about, right?

  25. madscientist says

    I see the Hoosier State is doing OK – is that why the GOd Party wants to introduce creationism in the schools?

  26. Lisa says

    It has its drawbacks. Currently, we’ve got a huge fight on our hands between the teacher’s unions and Gov. Cuomo/the Board of Regents concerning new teacher evaluations. Basically, the Board proposed an evaluation scheme that would use standardized tests as the prime indicators of a teacher’s performance. That’s all fine and dandy if you’re in a wealthy suburban district, but what about the cash-strapped urban schools (and trust me, we’ve got a lot of those)?

    Yeah, not a fan of evaluating teachers by overtesting.

    The thing I do like about the system is that there appears to be a group of actual educators working on standards, rather than some random schmo who gets elected to a board.

    The regents standards are good for science and math, but definitely fail with subjects like English. The English regents tries to standardize writing, which is ridiculous. My AP teacher had to teach us to dumb down our writing into a formula so that we could pass the exam. This is the biggest problem with so-called “assessment” tests-the teachers teach how to pass each single test rather than an actual subject.

    **Also, sorry for the mess; I tried to log in with my Google account and it spit out that annoyance. I think I figured out how to fix it.

  27. says

    To say that the Oregon standards are vague would be a
    ridiculous understatement.

    Fortunately, an F turns into a B with a couple of strokes of the pen, before Mom & Dad ever see it. Just don’t get greedy and go for the A; they’ll never buy it.

  28. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    Connecticut gets a C. Criminy, we can do better! This is SO fucking humiliating. *cringes, then storms off to find someone to strangle*

  29. Ichthyic says

    where’s New Zealand on that map?

    oh, wait..

    good thing it’s talking about science standards and not geography!

    :P

    seriously, I was happy to see CA get an “A” grade, considering how much funding for education has been ripped from the state budget since way back when Proposition 13 got passed in the 70s.

    IIRC, where CA used to be in the top 10 overall in education when I was in primary/secondary school, it now ranks well into the bottom half?

    Yeah, check out this list of SAT scores from 2009:

    http://blog.bestandworststates.com/2009/08/25/state-sat-scores-2009.aspx

    CA all the way down at 34.

    :(

    Texas at 45. Sad. For a state that used to pride itself on its education once upon a time.

    PZ should be happy though, look where MN is!

    …number 3!

    so, either MN does a fantastic job of teaching their students how to take the SAT, or the general primary/secondary education in MN is pretty damn good, relatively speaking.

  30. Ichthyic says

    ..OTOH, the high score levels in that list can also be explained by very low SAT participation rates.

    that TX and CA score so low is still bad, but MN placing 3rd might be more related to relatively few students even taking the SAT to begin with.

    this, according to the very page I linked to.

  31. jjones says

    Off topic I know, but since 5-10 percent of the world’s population is colorblind, it makes sense to design graphics that are usable to your entire audience. I cannot distinguish between the shades used to denote B, D, and F scores.

    It’s not hard to accommodate the colorblind in designing graphics. Here’s an example:
    http://designshack.net/articles/accessibility/tips-for-designing-for-colorblind-users
    And some tips from wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Articles_with_images_not_understandable_by_color_blind_users#Tips_for_editors

  32. brett says

    Great link. They said that my home state of Utah actually handles the topic of evolution well at all levels of education, and “excellent” at the high school level.

  33. frankb says

    My wife and I have a strong interest in science, so there should be a tiny orange spot in eastern Iowa.

  34. says

    I’m amused to see that California got an A.
    I’ve lived in Texas for a long time, and people there love to make fun of CA. Now that I’m living in CA, I’m convinced that Texans must be extremely jealous of CA. It has a lot more going for it. Of course, I’m sure that the Texans would just scoff at the “librul” science teaching that is done out here.

    I was born and raised in Texas but now live in California, and I’ve noticed that too. It’s kinda weird…like CA and TX have this diametric link.

    Reports like this are one of the many reasons I’m glad that I left Texas.

  35. Jean-Renee says

    My fellow Georgians, it is time to start peeking over South Carolina’s shoulder and copying answers. Oh, well, at least we beat Florida and ‘Bama, right?

  36. newname says

    Wait… California is obligated to review these results before jumping to any strong conclusions… oh nvm WE WIN!

  37. dr.drang says

    I read the report for Illinois. I don’t dispute the grade (D), but the report isn’t persuasive. It reads like a snarky blog post—pulling out clumsily worded passages and making fun of them—rather than a sober assessment of science instruction in the state.

    In fact, there seems to be no assessment of instruction whatsoever. Its more a review of how well the state’s standards are written. And while poor writing is usually an indicator of poor thinking, surely it’s how the standards are implemented in the classroom that counts.

  38. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Jesus fucking Christ, Fordham.

    Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. With the light gray text on a white background. It isn’t “stylish.” It doesn’t distinguish you as a hip, with it school. It doesn’t make people clamor to read your site.

    It just makes it fucking hard to read the text.

    Won’t someone from the design community issue a call to stop this bullshit low-contrast text?

  39. Rip Steakface says

    It looks like Washington gets a C because eastern Washington is terrible pretty much all around. They cite a “study in extremes.” Thankfully, we do, as they say, gloriously well in the life sciences, it’s just that we fall short pretty hard in the physical sciences, especially chemistry. Truth be told, I never had any sort of chemistry instruction until my freshman year of high school in a general science class.

    I do distinctly remember evolution being heavily covered, and given copious amounts of evidence in the curriculum to back it up. In fact, my sophomore biology class spent about two and a half months on evolution. Honestly, that was fine by me, since there we a few godbotherers in that class who may have received a dose of reality. Maybe.

  40. says

    Florida got a D. We got 5 out of 5 in space and life science, but zeroes in physics and chem.

    As the reader will see in too many other state reviews, the very powerful and useful—but highly abstract—concept of entropy is often degraded to nothing more than a buzzword thrown around
    when those who do not understand it wish to impress the polloi. In this it is similar to the use of the term quantum by medical quacks.

    I need to get out of this state.

  41. Ichthyic says

    Off topic I know, but since 5-10 percent of the world’s population is colorblind, it makes sense to design graphics that are usable to your entire audience. I cannot distinguish between the shades used to denote B, D, and F scores.

    It’s not hard to accommodate the colorblind in designing graphics.

    the people who made it must come from one of the gray states.

  42. Ichthyic says

    fuck me, that really doesn’t help either, does it?

    epic fail at empathetic jokemaking on my part.

    *facepalm*

  43. MadMax says

    After reading that critique of my state’s science standards, I am slightly less disappointed in my students for giving me completely blank stares whenever I mention anything vaguely scientific.

    My opinion of the adults in this state, however, grows increasingly hostile.

    P.S. I’m getting really sick of using free-throws as an example of a Bernoulli process. Science is the real reason we’re studying this. Sports = who the fuck cares.

  44. donovanable says

    Speaking as a former Texan who mostly self-taught herself evolution after attending a public school…we got a C?!

  45. psanity says

    If CA was the only state to get an A (hmph, D.C. looks like it might be orange, too), then this country is in worse shape even than I thought. One of the reasons we took our kids out of school in CA was that science and math were taught so badly. And I just feel terrible about the depths to which MN has allegedly fallen — in the sixties, after finishing 8th grade in MN, I literally never had to crack a book to graduate from high school in CA with a nearly 4.0 average. And that was when CA was still spending money on schools. As a student, I was not impressed. As a parent, even less so.

  46. truthspeaker says

    Lisa says:
    1 February 2012 at 9:34 pm

    The regents standards are good for science and math, but definitely fail with subjects like English. The English regents tries to standardize writing, which is ridiculous. My AP teacher had to teach us to dumb down our writing into a formula so that we could pass the exam.

    Interesting. Back in my day (the 1980s), students in AP classes didn’t have to take the Regents exam, because the AP exam was harder (and everyone in an AP class was required to take the AP exam).

  47. Larry says

    It looks like these ratings are fairly comprehensive, but I see another area that could also be included, and that is how much science is actually required by schools in each state. When I went to high school in New Jersey (admittedly 10 years ago and before No Child Left Behind), we had to take 1 year of biology, 1 year of chemistry, and a 3rd year of either physics or an ancillary science (e.g. marine biology or earth science). In New York now, students are only required to take 1 year of biology (which has been renamed “living environment” and 1 year of an ancillary science. Seeing as how New York high schoolers could graduate without ever taking a chemistry or physics class, even if their science standards are written so much better than New Jersey’s, I don’t see how New York rates so much higher than New Jersey. My spouse is a new teacher in Western New York and he rates the NY school system as abysmal, though that’s compared to the British school system.

  48. Therrin says

    Indeed, six standards, written on eleven lines, cover the whole of high school (or is it junior high school?) physical science. [...] A Shakespearean sonnet takes up more ink. (Oregon)

    =~(

  49. McCthulhu's new upbeat 2012 nym. says

    PZ, don’t be too discouraged by your state’s grade. I’m immediately skeptical about California’s ‘A’ grade. I realize that OC is one small part of the state, but, as I mentioned on another thread, the schools in this county have ZERO science curriculum up to grade 4 or 5, depending on the school.

    If they’re not capturing the imagination and intellectual curiosity early, they are just creating future GOP voters. So, even in a state with an ‘A’ grade, I’m considering moving back to Canada just for my daughter’s education sake. At least the chances of running into a fundagelical (I keep wanting to type ‘Fudgesicle’ when I type that) are immediately halved when moving North of the 49th parallel. OC is almost as nasty as the secessionist states in that regard. LA is the ebul liberul wun, but they also have twice the smog. No win situation all around.

  50. godlessheathen says

    Haven’t read the breakdown for Illinois, where I grew up, but I can’t believe we got a D or that we scored worse than Texas, Indiana, and a bunch of southern states. I don’t know if this has gotten worse since when I was a kid or if my school was an outlier, but I think I had a pretty good science education. I did go to a well-funded, suburban school with a bunch of high-achieving kids, so that probably contributed to it.

    Although, for the life of me, I do not remember studying evolution in my bio class. Can any other Illinoisans weigh in on that?

  51. unbound says

    I look at where I’m raised (ND), and I agree with the analysis. It was always about having a good teacher, so science education is hit or miss there. I was fortunate enough to have good science teachers for the most part.

    I know a lot of parents complain where I live now (VA) due to how strict the education standards are here, but it pays off…the reliance of having good teachers that understand good science standards gets reduced since they have to teach this information.

    The one that really jumped out at me though is SC. How the heck did good science education make its way into that state?

  52. dnebdal says

    I’m not a big fan of the color scheme they used, so I re-plotted it on a more linear red-blue scale here. This is from the 11-point [0,10] numerical scale, so there are some subtle differences in which states appear identical and not.

  53. Ludicrousness says

    I’m glad to see CA with an A. Our science teachers always kept us captivated. They made science a whole lot of fun. We were always involved somehow. We weren’t just sitting there listening to a lecture or reading the book. It’s also interesting to see the scores compared to the 2008-2009 per pupil spending statistics for Public Elementary-Secondary Schools. http://www2.census.gov/govs/school/09f33pub.pdf
    The pdf has a lot more data, but I found the per pupil spending the most interesting.

  54. bpcross says

    I call BS on their criteria – look at Kansas and Indiana, Utah, Arkansas, Ohio, S. Carolina and Virginia … highly questionable.

  55. Evinfuilt says

    I’m a bit surprised at a lot of the comments here. Complaining about how they rate, and why not a scale, etcetra. Well, I guess maybe you could open a report and actually look at how the scale is done. They had 2 sets of 10, and the combined score gave the weighting. They also had a good explanation on why those 2 scores were that way.

  56. kgman says

    Its funny, Indiana has an “A” but they are about to pass legislation to teach creationism.
    I wish someone would write an op ed in the indystar to show the irony…

    From the report
    “The terms evolution, natural selection, common ancestry,
    and so on are notable for their absence from Kindergarten
    through eighth grade. The most we get in eighth grade is:
    Describe the effect of environmental changes on
    populations of organisms when their adaptive
    characteristics put them at a disadvantage for survival.
    Describe how extinction of a species can ultimately
    result from a disadvantage. (grade 8)
    By contrast, the coverage of evolution at the high school level
    is excellent.”

    from PZ

    Indiana takes another step towards lunacy
    February 1, 2012 at 6:10 am PZ Myers

    Remember how Indiana managed to get a creationist bill through their Education committee? Crank up the dread, dismay, and disgust another notch: it has now passed the Indiana Senate, and is awaiting the approval of the house.

  57. scienceavenger says

    I give the mapmakers an F for color selection. Is it so hard to make a chart where the color scheme is something intuitive, say Blue for A, green for B’s, yellow for C’s, on through the color wheel, rather than a random mishmash?

  58. noastronomer says

    An even superficial comparison of states should indicate to everyone here that the chart is utter shit.

  59. fastlane says

    Washington only got a C as well. Skimming the detailed review, it seems it is mostly due to lacking in the physical sciences (chem, physics). I have done some math tutoring locally, and discussed bio with a couple of the students I tutored, and they do seem to be getting a decent education on that front.

    Now to step up with the other sciences.

  60. Brownian says

    Someone doesn’t know how to color-code a map.

    I give the mapmakers an F for color selection. Is it so hard to make a chart where the color scheme is something intuitive, say Blue for A, green for B’s, yellow for C’s, on through the color wheel, rather than a random mishmash?

    No, it’s not. The real art is in the categorisation*—the colour choice is not as critical. With something like this, you want to use a sequential (maybe diverging) schema unless you purposely want to make it difficult to detect trends in regions larger than the unit of analysis. I’m not sure why they’d want to do that; of course, they may just have fucked up.

    *It’s even easier to lie with choropleth maps than plain ol’ statistics.

  61. anchor says

    @41: Shit. Yeah, WTF! I knew Wisconsin was pretty lousy and needing plenty of improvement over the last few decades (ALL of them do) but I thought it was generally mediocre in science education in comparison with other states. But to see it with an ‘F’ sucks big time. This was not so once upon a time not so long ago. An educational system that goes from ‘Needs Work’ to ‘Fucking Joke’ in less than a generation is utterly indefensible. It suggests there’s more than a falling off due to complacency going on: somebody is actively pushing. Those somebodies need to get their asses kicked out of office and their financiers need to be shut down and out of bossing the system.

  62. says

    I want to second the idea that Utah really doesn’t deserve the B it received. While I know what the standards actually say (I worked in the curriculum section of our state office of education for a while), how science is taught is very different in practice. Everyone I know who went to public schools failed to receive even remotely adequate education about evolution, for example. College courses in biology waste a lot of time going over foundational ideas that should have been covered in middle school and high school. Yet I watched the bulk of classmates treat this as new information that was HARD.

  63. Tony says

    Dr Myers — not to make you feel even worse, but only did MN score the same as TX this year, it did one letter grade worse than in the 2005 report, while Texas improved by 2 letter grades.

    One thing which my wife thought important to note (and the report may include this, I’ve only scanned part of it), but standards don’t equate to implementation.

  64. cjmitchell says

    Hooray for my state of Washington! We are the lone island of average in an OCEAN of failure.

    GGhrgh.

    @Rip Steakface (#53): I went to school in Richland, which is in the SE part of the state, and by your generalizations, the armpit of the state’s science education. I just want to say that I believe I got an excellent science education. It no doubt has had something to do with the fact that the area has a large population of scientists and engineers to tap for teacher recruitment. I won’t speak for the other hillbilly counties, but mine did pretty OK with me not so long ago, and are largely the reason I got successfully through a chemical engineering program at UW.

  65. kreativekaos says

    Just taking a quick,cursory glance at the map and key,… and skipping PZ’s commentary for the moment, I find the map,..well,…weird!

    California and Massachusetts,… their high marks understandable, as well as a few other east coast states; many of the midwest/plains states’ low scores, again, understandable.

    But how so many southern states rate so high in Bible-belt country is mind-boggling to me. And Indiana’s relatively high score, in the light of recent news about the state trying to crowbar ID into the school curriculum seems too paradoxical.

  66. kreativekaos says

    (Looking a little closer at the key colors,… I guess there are quite a few southern states with low grades.)