The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine lists College Board as 1 of 20 sponsors of its Board on Science Education (BOSE)—which, along with its Board on Higher Education and the Workforce (BHEW), hosted a March 5 webinar on K-12 education. I listened-in to the webinar and submitted a written question for comment related to my recent College Board natural selection racket story. That story, by the way, was emailed weeks prior to the webinar to BOSE director Heidi Schweingruber—a psychologist/anthropologist—and to other BOSE staff, as well as to College Board’s senior management, its board of trustees and its AP Biology content developers. And to teachers across America.
Responding to my webinar question was philosopher Robert Floden, dean of Michigan State University’s College of Education. Floden chaired the 15-month study under discussion in the webinar: “Changing Expectations for the K-12 Teacher Workforce”.
Among the issues examined in the study was this one:
“How have the expectations of K-12 education shifted, in terms of knowledge and skills students are expected to develop, and how are those changes reflected in the expectations of teachers?”
An NAS February 12, 2020 press release noted further concerns in the study:
“Curriculum and exams – National and state education policies have changed such that teachers are required not only to meet new curriculum standards but also to personally select and create instructional materials and be held accountable for student performance on mandated state exams. . . .
“We need new training and education strategies to help K-12 teachers meet shifting demands and expectations,” said Robert E. Floden, chair of the committee that wrote the report and dean of the College of Education and distinguished professor at Michigan State University. “Asking teachers to do more without giving them new resources will impact our education system for the worse, and we need to address areas of concern to put us on the right track.” [emphasis added]
So I was a bit puzzled by Robert Floden’s response to my question about the College Board natural selection racket:
AUDIO OF Q&A:
“Question Presenter: And so, Bob, this next question is being directed toward you. And, so, well, I’m directing it toward you, I should say:
“Do you agree that a shake-up of the testing organization College Board is urgently required, particularly when it comes to the content of its biology course and exam framework—which currently devotes 24 pages or 22 percent to Darwinian natural selection, describing it as the major mechanism of evolution—since: ‘No one in the mainstream scientific community now takes selection literally.’”?
And that’s in quotes.
Robert Floden: I just have to say, this is outside the scope of our study and I don’t have an answer to this.”
Sorry, Dean Floden, the College Board question is most relevant to the study. Moreover, at a time of pandemic, the need could not be greater than to bury Darwinian natural selection dogma and enlighten the public about “the new evolutionary biology,” including our place within the virosphere.