New Initiative to Promote Climate Change in the Classroom

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Tuesday the National Center for Science Education, a nonpartisan group of scientists that works to promote the instruction of evolution in American public schools, announced a new initiative aimed at teaching climate science. The NCSE claims global warming and climate change have become increasingly charged topics in classrooms around the country. The initiative is a way for teachers to be supported in states like Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Oklahoma where regulations are being considered that would require educators to justify the denial of global warming as a valid scientific position.

Susan Buhr is director of the Education Outreach Group at the Cooperative Institution for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Susan Buhr

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [1]


I was astonished by the term Ms. Headlee used; "teaching... global warming denial."

The words "denial" and "denier" are politically loaded. They are associated with "Holocaust denial" and persons who doubt the origins of the AIDS virus, or who believe that 9/11 was an inside job.

I wouldn't want ANY school to teach ANY form of "denial." Particularly in science. Instead, I'd like the science curricula in schools to focus on the scientific method. And the scientific method, at its core, teaches skepticism, data collection, proof of hypotheses, replication of methods and results; all of which are the subject of considerable thoughtful debate in climatology.

I also find it very odd, that so much attention is now being lavished on climate change as a subject in elementary and secondary schools. Because it is such a complicated and advanced subject matter. There are lots of other scientific subspecialty fields that aren't taught in elementary and secondary schools; whole generations of scientists went through primary and secondary schooling without much thought about climatology. (Can anyone over the age of 40 remember any "climate" schooling when they were young?)

All of which exposes current "global warming" indoctrination as essentially political in nature. Presumably, the thinking is that young students need to be educated about climate change, because it is an important social and political issue, about which the public polity needs to make decisions. And therefore, like teaching young people about the dangers of smoking, for instance, where the hope is that fewer of them will smoke. In the case of global warming, I presume that the academics in the world of climate change (which has a huge financial stake in studying climate change and promoting it as an urgent social problem) see it as essential that future voters be convinced, early, that climate change requires drastic political and economic measures.

Why are we teaching "climate change" at all in elementary schools, when we don't teach them things like pharmacology, or astrophysics, or photo-optics? Why would "climate change" (not even "climatology"!) be picked out as the one unique theory in all of advanced multi-disciplinary earth sciences, to be taught to impressionable youth?

Jan. 18 2012 07:15 PM

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