Argh!! A new report on scientific literacy in America shows some disturbing results. The study was reported in the NY Times, and was done by Northwestern University political scientist Jon Miller. He reports that only 20-25% of American adults are considered to be scientifically literate (and this is up from past years). For instance, American adults do not understand what molecules are (other than they are really small). Less than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity (how can one make an informed decision about stem cell research without this knowledge?) and 10 percent know what radiation is. Miller attributes much of the nation’s collective scientific ignorance to poor education, particularly in high schools.
For a short article outlining how storms are tracked and measured, check this out.
Finally, a new survey finds more than two-thirds of American adults do not believe a single test fairly assesses how well a school is performing. In addition, 90% believe it is vital that the achievement gap between white students and students of color needs to be closed. Nearly 60% believe it is the responsibility of the public schools to close the gap. There is an interesting discussion that recently took place on Zenpundit's blog, and check out an old entry of one quick fix to testing that could be made to No Child Left Behind, that in my mind would make it more reasonable (assuming we are forced to stay with a test-only assessment model).