Understanding of Evolution Law among K-12 Public School Teachers

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Despite frequent litigious interactions between science and religion, when it comes to the teaching of evolution, relatively little is known about public school teachers' understanding of the associated legal issues. The present study expands on Moore's (2004) survey by obtaining more information about respondents, surveying teachers from multiple states, including teachers of all grade levels, and including "I don't know" as an option on the original survey developed by Moore. The survey was completed by 208 teachers from 42 states. Findings include a detailed portrait of teachers' understanding of evolution-related laws and the time they devote to teaching evolution. Our results indicate that the majority of surveyed teachers devote >13 hours of instruction per class semester to evolution and teach evolution either as a unifying theme throughout the class or as a unit of instruction. The responses indicate that a majority of the teachers surveyed possess a sufficient understanding of legal issues but lack a sufficient understanding of the more nuanced aspects of evolution case law. The findings indicate the need for improved preservice and inservice instruction that addresses evolution case law, emphasizing the legal parameters that teachers should adhere to when teaching evolution.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hermann RS; Shane JW; Meadows L; Binns IC
  • Start Page

  • 86
  • End Page

  • 92
  • Volume

  • 82
  • Issue

  • 2