Sixteen percent of all U.S. science teachers are creationists, according to a recent national survey.
In one of the most authoritative studies ever carried out, the results revealed that creationism – despite being challenged and dismissed by courts as an unconstitutional endorsement of religion – continues to be a staple in many science classrooms.
Michael Berkman, a political scientist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park and who conducted the survey with a group of colleagues, said that teachers, ultimately, held the final word when it comes to what is taught in the classroom.
"Ultimately, they are the ones who carry it out," Berkman explained to ABC News.
While a majority of the nearly 1,000 teachers surveyed in the poll said that they spent at least three to 10 hours of classroom hours covering evolution, a quarter of all teachers also said they covered creationism and intelligent design – about half of whom said that they believed it was a "valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species."
Two percent of all teachers said evolution was not covered at all in their classrooms.
An examination of the survey results also revealed that 16 percent of all U.S. science teachers said they believed God had created human beings and the earth within the last 10,000 years.
The release of the recent survey results comes at a time when evolution has been increasingly scrutinized, challenged, and debated throughout many schools.
Many public school teachers and students who share views contradicting or challenging the tenets of Darwinism in the classroom claim they have been marginalized, discriminated, or ostracized.
In response, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, and Michigan have been prompted to pass a series of "Academic Freedom" bills.
Lawmakers say that the bills would guarantee the freedom of teachers and students to examine and challenge the tenets of Darwinism in classrooms without fear of reprisal.
"What these bills seek to do is to restore Charles Darwin's approach to teaching evolution – to teach it in a balanced, objective fashion," explained Casey Luskin, an attorney with the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute, in a statement.