Science textbooks are riddled with junk science, but they’re always politically correct, writes Pamela Winnick in the Weekly Standard.
A sloppy way with facts, a preference for the politically correct over the scientifically sound, and sheer faddism characterize their content. It’s as if their authors had decided above all not to expose students to the intellectual rigor that is the lifeblood of science.
Thus, a chapter on climate in a fifth-grade science textbook in the Discovery Works series, published by Houghton Mifflin (2000), opens with a Native American explanation for the changing seasons: “Crow moon is the name given to spring because that is when the crows return. April is the month of Sprouting Grass Moon.” Students meander through three pages of Algonquin lore before they learn that climate is affected by the rotation and tilt of Earth–not by the return of the crows.
. . . Affirmative action for women and minorities is similarly pervasive in science textbooks, to absurd effect. Al Roker, the affable black NBC weatherman, is hailed as a great scientist in one book in the Discovery Works series. It is common to find Marie Curie given a picture and half a page of text, but her husband, Pierre, who shared a Nobel Prize with her, relegated to the role of supportive spouse. In the same series, Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, is shown next to black scientist Lewis Latimer, who improved the light bulb by adding a carbon filament. Edison’s picture is smaller.
Middle-school science texts are riddled with errors, a Packard Foundation Study found.
British students will study “science lite” under the new national curriculum.
The science that all pupils study from the age of 14 is to focus more on “lifestyles”, general knowledge and opinion and less on chemistry, biology and physics, says the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
. . . Instead of learning science, pupils will “learn about the way science and scientists work within society”.
They will “develop their ability to relate their understanding of science to their own and others’ decisions about lifestyles”, the QCA said.
In addition, they be taught that “there are some questions that science cannot answer, and some that science cannot address.” Especially, if nobody actually knows science.