Frequently Asked Questions about NCSE

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What does NCSE do?

The National Center for Science Education, founded in 1981, engages in a number of activities advancing two primary goals: improving and supporting education in evolution, climate change, and the nature of science, and increasing public understanding of these subjects. This work is supported primarily by membership contributions, with some additional assistance from private foundation grants.

NCSE provides information and guidance to citizens faced with local challenges to the teaching of good science:

  • Expert testimony for school board hearings
  • Advice on how to organize, including referrals to others who have faced similar problems
  • Information on evolution, "creation science", climate change, and controversies over the teaching of evolution and creationism, and of climate change

Educating the Public through the Media

  • NCSE provides background material and commentary to journalists who are covering controversies concerning the teaching of evolution, creationism, and climate change
  • Staff members write articles about science education, and the problems faced by teachers trying to teach good science, for numerous general, scientific, and educational publications
  • NCSE's speakers participate as guests on national and local radio and television programs

Networking with Other Organizations

  • Referrals: People concerned about other issues may be given referrals to appropriate organizations (for example, anti-censorship groups); these other organizations also refer people concerned about the teaching of evolution and creationism and/or climate change conflicts to NCSE
  • Consultations: NCSE provides expert witness referrals and/or consultation to legal organizations in litigating cases having to do with the teaching of evolution, creationism, or climate change
  • Speakers' bureau: NCSE provides or recommends speakers to scientific, educational, legal and civil liberties organizations, informing the public of the issues and recent events
  • Coordinated action: NCSE works closely at the state and local level with a number of “citizens for science” organizations and with members of national scientist, educator, and civil liberties organizations to provide advice and information to ensure success in dealing with challenges to science education Publications

Publications

  • Reports of the National Center for Science Education, a bi-monthly journal with news of current events; discussion and commentary on issues in evolution education, the creation/evolution controversy, and controversies over climate change education; resources for evolution and climate change education; scholarly refutations of "scientific evidence against evolution" and alleged scientific evidence against climate change; and reports on developments in the sciences of evolution and climate change, and on public understanding of these issues
  • Reviews of Creationist Books — scientific evaluations of creationist books
  • Voices for Evolution — position statements by scientific, educational, religious, and civil liberties organizations
  • Pamphlets on specific topics

Assistance to educators

  • Directly or through our local volunteers, NCSE participates in curriculum development and text reviews
  • NCSE offers workshops at teachers' conferences on how to teach about evolution and climate change
  • NCSE answers requests from teachers concerning methods and materials for teaching evolution and climate change
  • NCSE's Pre-Publication Review Project helps publishers locate scientists who review textbooks for accurate, up-to-date content

How does NCSE handle attacks on science education?

Our first choice is always to assist local citizens in resolving issues by providing them with appropriate information: for example, we may give a parent current legal information to share with a school administrator, or provide book reviews to a school administrator who is researching the appropriateness of a book suggested for library use. Occasionally, in response to a news report, we approach school administrators with an offer of information or assistance. Our goal is to provide information that will lead to community consensus, rather than confrontation.

Does NCSE get involved in lawsuits?

Litigation is expensive and time consuming, and NCSE recommends that it be used only as a last resort. We have a legal advisory panel that can be called upon when litigation is necessary, or threatened by other parties. As an authority in evolution education, NCSE is uniquely qualified to comment on cases relating to creationism and anti-evolution. In 1998 we filed an amicus brief in connection with an appeal of the Freiler v Tangipahoa decision ruling an antievolution disclaimer unconstitutional, and in 2005 we filed a joint amicus brief with the People for the American Way Foundation in Selman v Cobb County. NCSE also acted as scientific advisors in the Kitzmiller v Dover trial.

What is NCSE's religious position?

None. The National Center for Science Education is not affiliated with any religious organization or belief. We and our members enthusiastically support the right of every individual to hold, practice, and advocate their beliefs, religious or non-religious. Our members range from devout practitioners of several religions to atheists, with many shades of belief in between. What unites them is a conviction that science and the scientific method, and not any particular religious belief, should determine science curriculum.

What is NCSE’s political position?

None. NCSE believes that the teaching of good science is not a Democratic or Republican issue, but one that is essential to the success of all Americans. Support for NCSE’s efforts to ensure that mainstream scientific views are taught in the classroom comes from liberals and conservatives, libertarians and the apolitical. We are unified in believing that science education should not be politicized.

What is NCSE's position on controversies about civil liberties and education?

NCSE sometimes works with organizations that have broad concerns about civil liberties or public education, but only when evolution or climate education is involved. When there is legislation proposed in these areas, we may inform our members of how science education would be affected. Otherwise, we do not advocate any positions or legislation concerning civil liberties or the schools.

Who supports NCSE?

NCSE's members come from all walks of life. Many are teachers and professional scientists who care intensely about the quality of science education. Others are parents, clergy, science enthusiasts, and concerned citizens. Official supporters are distinguished individuals who have endorsed the goals of the National Center for Science Education. There also are Supporting Organizations that support our efforts both in spirit and financially.

What organizations does NCSE work with?

NCSE cooperates nationally and locally with scientific, educational, religious and civil liberties organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Science Teachers Association, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union, and People for the American Way. We are an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an Associated Group of the National Science Teachers Association.

What is Project Steve?

Project Steve is NCSE's parody of creationist lists of "scientists who doubt evolution." For more information, go here.

Can NCSE provide a speaker for my event?

Yes! A list of NCSE speakers and suggested honoraria can be found here.

Are there any job, volunteer, or internship opportunities available?

To see whether NCSE is currently hiring, go here. We often need volunteers to help with clerical and archival tasks, both within and outside the NCSE office; please feel free to get in touch with us to discuss the possibilities. We do not offer paid internships.

What is NCSE's federal tax identification number?

NCSE's federal tax identification number (or employment identification number: EIN) — which you might need if you want to arrange for a matching donation from your employer, for example, or to make a donation of stock — is 11-2656357.

How can I obtain information on NCSE's finances?

NCSE's Form 990s are posted at Guidestar and may be viewed there; Adobe Reader and free registration with Guidestar are required. Searching by the EIN 11-2656357 is the quickest way to find NCSE there. If you're unable to access the Form 990s at Guidestar, get in touch with the NCSE office.

Revised January 2012