Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The American Geosciences Institute has published a study which claims that Earth and Space Science courses, which include a substantial element of climate studies, is not a prominent part of the US high school curriculum, because a small number of colleges do not accept that Earth and Space Science is a “laboratory course”.
According to the report;
One of the points that arose from the 2010 summit was the perception that school districts were not offering high school Earth and Space Science courses because of the belief that colleges will not accept these for admission, as Earth and Space Science is not universally considered to be a laboratory course.
To test out this assertion, in 2015, AGI examined the acceptance policies of 175 four-year institutions of higher learning, to determine whether or not they accepted a high school Earth and Space Science course for admis- sion. At least four colleges and universities were con- tacted in each state and the District of Columbia. These represented both public and private institutions of various sizes.
In many cases, current admission requirements were clearly posted on the institutions’ web sites. When this was not the case, AGI staff contacted admissions offices directly for information. The results were as follows:
- 77.7 percent of institutions did accept an Earth and Space Science course for admission.
- 13.7 percent did not have specific science course requirements for admission.
- 8.6 percent did not accept an Earth and Space Science course for admission, as these institutions stated that they did not consider it to be a laboratory course.
These findings clearly contradict the common assumption that, overall, colleges and universities find a high school Earth and Space Science course unacceptable for admission. There is still, however, a perception among a minority of institutions that an Earth and Space Science course is not a laboratory course.
This report, while only a snapshot of a landscape that is continually shifting over time, provides a perspective on the current state of the Earth and Space Sciences in U.S. secondary education. Although the Earth and Space Sciences are accorded equal status with the Life and Physical Sciences in national standards and guidelines, this emphasis is not manifested in practice, as indicated by state graduation requirements and secondary science assessments. The absence of an AP Earth and Space Science course and examination further attests to the subject’s subordinate status as compared to other sciences.
However, Earth and Space Science courses have a higher rate of acceptance for admission to four-year colleges (77.7 percent), than was originally assumed.
It is worth noting that students who do not receive a commensurate education in the Earth and Space Sciences are less prepared for the challenges and opportunities that await them in adult life …
While I find it horrifying that over 77% of US colleges think learning a bit of dogma qualifies as a science education, I believe the day will come when America attempts to rebuild her damaged scientific institutions. On that day America will discover she owes a huge debt of gratitude, to the handful of courageous college and high school administrators who held the line against officially sanctioned superstition, who fought to keep the memory of the scientific method alive, who did everything in their power to protect their students from being indoctrinated with politically convenient pseudoscience.
A quote to connect Earth and Space Science courses to climate change wasn’t provided in the original post. To correct this oversight, the following is an excerpt from the fourth page (marked page 2) of the AGI report provided in the Read More link:
Attendees at the summit, which included representatives from federal and state agencies, universities, science societies, school districts, and industry, formed working groups to explore what was happening across the country with regard to:
- Perception of Earth and Space Science courses by school systems (graduation requirements, high stakes assessments, and standards);
- Status of college acceptance of high school Earth and Space Science courses;
- Challenges to teaching Earth and Space Science topics such as evolution and climate change in schools;