Could Science Education Be a Victim of the Recession?

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First, a quiz:

1. True/false? The center of the earth is very hot.

2. True/false? All radioactivity is man-made.

3. True/false? Lasers work by focusing sound waves.

4. True/false? Electrons are smaller than atoms.

5. True/false? The universe began with a huge explosion.

6. True/false? The continents on which we live have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move in the future.

7. Does the earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the earth?

8. How long does it take for the earth to go around the sun: one day, one month or one year?

9. True/false? It is the father’s gene that decides whether the baby is a boy or a girl.

10. True/false? Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria.

11. True/false? Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.

The National Science Foundation reports the results of this national quiz every two years, and I always find the stats depressing because the average score is only six to seven of these questions correct. Fewer than half of those surveyed get #3, #5 or #11 correct. And one-fourth are unable to correctly say that the earth goes around the sun.

Now, due to budget deficits, California may reduce the science education requirement for high school graduation from two classes total to just one. The state is already in the fourth quartile (meaning the bottom) for eighth-grade science proficiency. Most states require two or three science classes in high school; only 10 require just one.

The answers to the quiz are after the jump. How many did you get right? How many would you have answered correctly if you had only taken one science class during your high school years?

(Answers: True; False; False; True; True; True; earth around sun; one year; True; False; True)

About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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