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Friday, May 6, 2005

 

A Textbook Case of Junk Science

`Several centuries ago, some “very light-skinned” people were shipwrecked on a tropical island. After “many years under the tropical sun,” this light-skinned population became “dark-skinned,” says Biology: The Study of Life, a high-school textbook published in 1998 by Prentice Hall, an imprint of Pearson Education. [..]

A study commissioned by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in 2001 found 500 pages of scientific error in 12 middle-school textbooks used by 85 percent of the students in the country. One misstates Newton’s first law of motion. Another says humans can’t hear elephants. Another confuses “gravity” with “gravitational acceleration.” Another shows the equator running through the United States. [..]

A study by the National Assessment governing board in 2000 found that only 12 percent of graduating seniors were proficient in science. International surveys continue to show that American high school seniors rank 19th among seniors surveyed in 21 countries.’




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