School Standards Wade into Climate Debate

“I’ve taught other subjects—evolution and sex-ed—without as much pushback.”

The Wall Street Journal reports:

After many years in which evolution was the most contentious issue in science education, climate change is now the battle du jour in school districts across the country.

The fight could heat up further in April, when several national bodies are set to release a draft of new science standards that include detailed instruction on climate change.

The groups preparing the standards include the National Research Council, which is part of the congressionally chartered National Academies. They are working from a document they drew up last year that says climate change is caused in part by manmade events, such as the burning of fossil fuels. The document says rising temperatures could have “large consequences” for the planet.

Most climate experts accept those notions as settled science. But they are still debated by some scientists, helping to fuel conflicts between parents and teachers.

When Treena Joi, a teacher at Corte Madera School in Portola Valley, Calif., last year showed her sixth-grade students the global-warming movie “An Inconvenient Truth”—a documentary in which former Vice President Al Gore issues dire warnings about climate change—the drama quickly spread beyond the classroom.

A father filed a formal complaint accusing Ms. Joi of “brainwashing” the students. He demanded that she apologize to her students or be fired, according to the complaint. The local school superintendent settled the matter by requiring parental permission before students viewed the movie in the future and prohibiting teachers from talking about ways to address climate change.

Ms. Joi said she knew the movie had stirred controversy but was surprised by the extent of the response. “I’ve taught other subjects—evolution and sex-ed—without as much pushback,” she said…

Read the entire article.

2 thoughts on “School Standards Wade into Climate Debate”

  1. I asked Treena whether she had used the movie as a platform to teach her students about skepticism, which would have been a valuable and well-justified reason to show it. She didn’t appreciate the question.

  2. This is one of the reasons our high school graduates do so poor in comparison to students from other countries. We have cluttered up their studies with baloney at the expense of time spent on basic core materials–reading, writing, mathematics, history, civics, physical education, etc,

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