NCSE's Branch in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

03.13.2017

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NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch contributed "Science Teachers in the Trenches of the Climate Wars" to the opinion section of the website of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (March 13, 2017).

Observing that "climate science is going to be encountering stormy weather during the Trump administration," Branch nevertheless urged that "it is important not to overlook the importance of defending the integrity of climate education." He cited recent legislative attempts to undermine the teaching of climate change in Iowa and Idaho.

Turning to the level of local school districts, he invoked the results (PDF) of the NCSE/Penn State study of climate change education. Although less than five percent of public middle and high school science teachers reported experiencing pressure not to teach about the human causes of climate change, he noted that the survey found "a significant correlation between local attitudes and instructional approaches ... On climate, teachers appear to take their cues from their communities."

"A lot is at stake," Branch concluded. For millions of students, "their best chance of attaining scientific literacy — and with it a grasp of the scientific consensus on climate change — is here and now. And their chance depends on the readiness, willingness, and ability of their teachers to teach climate change honestly, accurately, and confidently."

Along with Josh Rosenau and Minda Berbeco, Branch contributed a discussion of the NCSE/Penn State survey, entitled "Climate Education in the Classroom: Cloudy with a Chance of Confusion" (subscription required) to the journal Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 2016.