"In America's Science Classrooms, the Creep of Climate Skepticism"

11.02.2018

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Sean Patrick Cooper, writing in Undark (November 2, 2018), reports, "Conservative groups are working hard to challenge the teaching of mainstream climate science in schools" — and cites NCSE as helping to prepare science teachers to resist the challenge.

Cooper focuses on Florida, where a law enacted in 2017 makes it easier for citizens to harass their local school districts about instructional materials. As NCSE previously reported, climate change and evolution were clearly among the targets.

Brandon Haught of Florida Citizens for Science explained, "If there are 100 complaints" about the treatment of a scientific topic such as climate change in textbooks, "then it starts to look like two sides to the debate," even if there is no scientific controversy.

"But the sometimes-outlandish approach was nearly effective," Cooper observes, "with the Collier County School Board voting only narrowly, 3-2, to adopt the more mainstream science textbooks under consideration."

It isn't only in Florida that climate change denial impinges on the classroom. The article discusses the Heartland Institute's 2017 mass mailing of climate change propaganda — rebutted by NCSE — to educators across the country.

Kelly Pipes in North Carolina, Nina Corley in Texas, and Erin Stutzman in Idaho — all teachers involved with NCSE's Teacher Ambassador Program — discussed their experiences in dealing with climate change denial in their classrooms.

"Those teachers," NCSE's Director of Teacher Support Brad Hoge commented toward the end of the article, "will provide a level of care and comfort to the teachers who'd be less comfortable facing the wrath of their own communities."