Feeds

Webcast quango: One-third of UK teachers are creationists

Teachers may be silly: Gov mediacrats, sillier

A new approach to endpoint data protection

In a recent survey, barely half of a self-selecting sample of UK teachers who use the webcast service Teachers' TV disagreed with the idea that "creationism or intelligent design should be given the same status as evolution in the classroom". Some 87.9 per cent of respondents thought that it was appropriate to discuss religious matters in science classes if pupils brought them up.

Andrew Bethell, head of Teachers' TV, commented:

“The debate on whether there is a place for the teaching of creationism in the classroom is still fierce. Although over half (50.4 per cent) of teachers either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the idea that creationism should be given the same status as evolution, there is a significant minority who believe that it should be given equal weight.

“Perhaps most telling is the fact that, almost 9 out of 10 teachers take the pragmatic view that they should be allowed to discuss creationism or intelligent design in science, if pupils raise the question.”

The survey was carried out by emailing 10,600 people signed up to the Teachers' TV website, of whom 1,210 responded. The government-funded quango webcast channel (which also broadcasts on satellite and cable, and has a two-hour Freeview slot) believes that "95 per cent of [the respondents] are teachers and the remaining 5 per cent work in the wider education workforce".

Presumably this means that 1,149-and-a-half of the respondents identified themselves as teachers.

Anyway. UK government guidelines state that:

Creationism and intelligent design are not part of the science national curriculum programmes of study and should not be taught as science.

Fully 29 per cent of those responding to the email survey disagreed or strongly disagreed with this, says Teachers' TV.

It's worth noting that excluding theological discussion from science classes doesn't exclude it from school. Quite apart from science, schools are legally required to teach "religious education". Parents are permitted to withdraw their kids from RE, but few do. These periods might easily be seen as the appropriate venue for kids to discuss theological matters.

"The debate on whether there is a place for the teaching of creationism in the classroom," which Mr Bethell believes still to be firecely underway, was in fact settled long ago as a matter of law. There is such a place - just not in the science classroom. Nor the maths one, or the English one, or the gym, or wherever else some kid - or teacher - might want to bring up the subject of religion. They should wait for the religion class.

It would appear, however, that of the one in ten possible teachers on the Teachers' TV spam list who could be bothered to answer, around a third either don't know about RE, think that there isn't enough of it in the timetable, or are genuine science-denying lunatics.

The Teachers' TV release is headed "nearly a third of teachers agree that creationism or intelligent design should be given the same status as evolution in the classroom". All the webcasters actually know for sure, however, is that about 3 per cent of the people they spammed think that. Much though we enjoy a witchhunt against silly corduroys as much as the next man, this is thin stuff.

Teachers are sometimes untrustworthy, but media quangocrats are a lot worse.

There's more from the Guardian here, and from Teachers' TV here. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?