State Science Standards vs. ACT Scores

A lot of the ID debate lately has revolved around science standards for high schools. (Despite my view of the relative vacuity of the science of ID, at least as it now exists) I’ve argued before that teaching ID in schools alongside evolution wouldn’t be terribly bad for the overall scientific competence of the nation, and that it might even be helpful for getting more people into scientific careers and keeping the US on top in science (assuming that is what we want). But what difference do the official standards really make anyway? Probably not much, compared to more tangible things like teacher quality, class size and other factors linked directly to money.

(Science booster) Paul Gross and The Fordham Foundation (a public education think tank that promotes charter schools) released a report on state science standards, grading each state, with evolution sub-scores. But, as it turns out, these grades of the state science standards don’t have much to do with actual effectiveness of science education. Mike Gene on the ID blog Telic Thoughts compared the report grades with the ACT Science sub-scores by state. Almost no correlation.

The most frustrating thing about the ID in high schools debates: what both sides presumably agree on (because both sets of people involved actually care about public school education) is that schools need more money, smaller classes, better science teachers, more equipment and textbooks, etc. But that’s not even on the agenda for discussion. Underfunded schools; that’s what should have people up in arms.