Teaching biology in Kansas is a job only slightly better than inspecting manure or being a human lab rat, according to the new issue of Popular Science.
The magazine ranked the Kansas biology teacher as the third worst job in science on its annual ranking.
"We're just a national joke," said Janet Waugh, a member of the state board of education.
The board's conservative majority supports changing the state's science standards to allow for standards criticizing evolution. The board is expected to adopt the new standards on Nov. 8.
The Kansas biology teacher job is just better than the one where workers have to inject a nerve agent into their eyes for scientific research, the report said. But teaching biology in Kansas is worse than being an orangutan-urine collector, a semen washer or a volcanologist who must face the wrath of a volcano.
"They're poking fun at Kansas," said Lynda Allen, Lawrence school district's math and science director. Biology teachers "know they have a tough job, but teaching is tough."
Bob Hubert, a Lawrence High teacher, who is among about a dozen in Lawrence to hold the "worst" science job, laughed at the magazine's report.
"That's a big exaggeration," he said.
Hubert said the Lawrence school district hasn't changed the standards, and he continues to teach the current standards, including evolution.
"I love teaching AP (advanced placement) biology at the high school," he said.
Waugh said she believed that if the standards were changed, Kansas teachers would continue teaching "good science."
"I think it just speaks volumes to what the mainstream science community thinks about what we're doing with the standards," Waugh said of the magazine article. "This is extremely sad for Kansas that we're being made a mockery of."
Is this the third-worst science job? Job: Kansas biology teacher. Responsibilities: To teach youngsters the science of life or living matter. The key issue of origin of life could be changed by the state school board on Nov. 8. Experience: At least a bachelor's degree with at least a 2.5 grade-point-average; must pass both a content test and a test of pedagogy. Pay: A new teacher in the Lawrence school district makes $29,550 annually.
Evolution in Kansas
- 6News video: Some question group's move with elections nearing (07-08-06)
- 49abcnews.com video: Discovery Institute starts ad campaign weeks before elections (07-07-06)
- 6News video: Film explores evolution circus (01-03-06)
- 6News video: Group takes shot at Mirecki through postcards (12-15-05)
- 6News video: Mirecki resigns from KU department post (12-07-05)
- Education board to revisit debate over evolution (02-11-07)
- As old board departs, new evolution stance takes shape (12-14-06)
- Biologist speaks for intelligent design (12-08-06)
- Cultures clash in Democratic primary (07-06-06)
- Education department spokesman leaves job (06-15-06)
- Evolution, religion comments put heat on department spokesman (05-26-06)
- KU profs support evolution skepticism (02-21-06)
- Science teachers pan new standards (02-14-06)
- 'Dodos' circling around I.D. (01-04-06)
- Attorneys in I.D. case spread message (01-04-06)
- Professor blasts KU, sheriff's investigation (12-10-05)
- Kansas ranks last in science (12-08-05)
- Discovery Institute
- Evolution timeline: Events related to the Kansas controversy
- U.S. District Court Ruling in Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District (PDF)
- Center for Science and Culture: A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism
- Parody: Intelligent Design Society of Kansas
- Mirecki press release (.pdf)
- More evolution coverage
- LJWorld.com's Evolution in Kansas coverage