Here's an interview with a researcher, about the decline in the teaching of evolution. Some important points therefrom:
We see two distinct issues here. The first is that students are being cheated out of a sound science education. All nations are increasingly confronted with important policy choices that are informed by science: Should we mandate vaccines for all school children? Should we take costly steps to reduce carbon emissions? How can we most effectively reduce the incidence of chronic diseases? For ordinary citizens to play a meaningful role in democracies tackling these issues, they need to be excellent critical thinkers concerning science. They should not blindly accept scientific findings, whether they come from academia, government or industry. But neither should they believe that scientific debates are simply clashes of opinion and values. A healthy appreciation of the nature of science, the persuasiveness of replication, and respect for the necessary expertise is also essential. When teachers tell their students that they can have their own opinions about the validity of evolutionary biology, they are sending a dangerous message to our future citizens.
On the other hand, the failure to integrate evolution into the general biology class represents a missed opportunity to turn students on to science....
... Evolutionary biology — taught well and thoroughly — offers a great opportunity to convey the nature of science to young people. This is an opportunity most school children are denied.
And it addresses the main problem, that of faith and the closing of the mind:
We estimate that no more than 30 percent of Americans belong to faith traditions that emphasize a strict and literal reading of the Bible that may lead adherents to see a potential conflict between their faith and the findings of evolutionary biology. The contradictions are rooted in beliefs about the antiquity of the earth, Adam and Eve, and the idea that all current animals descend from those on Noah’s ark. ... Nevertheless, these ideas have diffused into the larger population and are held by others whose own pastors, priests and rabbis see no inherent contradiction between scripture and science. I think there are opportunities for those associated with these other faith traditions to better articulate how faith accommodates modern science, and vice verse. ....
... More broadly, many people of faith are drawn to the study of evolution to explore God’s work, and find a spiritual connection in their study of nature. This perspective was common in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but is not often enough articulated in current debates about evolution. Maybe that is because nobody has yet stated it more eloquently than Darwin himself:
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
As our worldly problems become more complex and threatening, the response, sadly -- in the US, anyway -- has been to resort to simplicity and ignorance. As it suffuses into our education system, already lacking in much, the future is steadily being pulled away from us. The need of some to ignore reality is translating into the inability of everyone to evaluate data, to be skeptical, to have a rational -- a scientific -- way to address information.
The results are obvious: we're turning away from difficult solutions toward magic. And with increasing frequency we're electing prestidigitators, not leaders, at the very time we need them the most.