Monday, November 23, 2009

Are these two related?

Warning: non-entertaining post. I was going to warn readers that this is a political viewpoint of mine, but it's not.  It is just plain sad.

I get a science news briefing e-mail every couple of weeks.  I think #21 is the result of #22.  Math and science need to be emphasized more in our schools!

21. Survey finds public more skeptical of global warming
Fewer Americans believe there is good evidence for human induced temperature increases, or that it is a serious problem, according to a Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey.  Of the 1,500 people surveyed from September 30-October 4, only 57 percent agreed that there is solid evidence the Earth is warming.  That is down across party lines from the 71 percent who answered the question affirmatively in April 2008.  Of those who agreed, a similar decrease is seen in those who thought it was due to human activity.  In 2008, 47 percent believed it was caused by humans while the latest survey shows 36 percent.  When asked how serious they believed the problem to be, 35 percent answered very serious, down from 44 percent in 2008.

Despite the decreases, the survey shows increased support for a cap-and-trade program with 50 percent of the respondents favoring setting limits on carbon emissions.  This comes after a separate Pew Research Center poll on current events during early October found only 23 percent of the 1,002 people called could correctly identify that a "cap-and-trade" program dealt with energy and the environment, as opposed to health care, banking reform, or unemployment.

22. Math proficiency levels stagnant for American students
The latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the U.S.'s most significant standardized test, demonstrate a plateau in math achievement for American students.  Released after a bi-annual assessment, the scores show a slight increase in proficiency for eighth grade students, while student in fourth grade showed no improvement.

These results indicate a six year trend of slowed achievement growth since the passage of No Child Left Behind, a law that requires U.S. schools to bring 100 percent of students into reading and math proficiency by 2014.  Now five years away, these scores indicate that only 39 percent of fourth graders and 34 percent of eighth graders are making the mark.

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