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Squabbles Over Science Education

Writing in the Huffington Post, Larry Dossey ponders whether the scientific method is an "educational train wreck." In referencing author Jeremy Rifkin's work, Dossey says that "the way kids are taught science these days constitutes a form of child abuse. It involves the forced infliction of a false identity." Science, he argues, is largely portrayed as an "individual, solitary endeavor," and, therefore it is "no wonder [that] kids are confused about how science is done in real life. ... They simply are not psychologically geared the way their forebears were for the past 200 years, a fact which many science educators have a hard time accepting." In a response at his blog, Mike the Mad Biologist writes, "Look, teaching science without referring to the scientific method is like teaching math without referring to proofs. Yes, we need to keep kids enthusiastic about science. ... But after they observe something cool, many of them want to know how said cool thing got that way and how it works."

Meanwhile, Wired reports that in Weston, Conn., "evolution education is under attack." Controversy has been resurrected over a topic proposed by an elementary school teacher in the district: Mark Tangarone "wanted his third graders to study and compare the accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin" in 2008 according to Wired. Tangarone's class plan was denied by the school's principal at the time, who was afraid of parents' reactions to the exercise. According to Wired, Tangarone's request to teach his Darwin program this year was rejected; consequently, he submitted a letter of resignation on February 12 — Darwin's birthday — and is retiring two years early. "I feel that Weston has become anti-science and no longer a place I feel comfortable teaching in," he tells Wired.

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