Idaho’s Science Curriculum Exhibit 1 for ESSA’s BIGGEST Flaw
Think Progress writer Natasha Geiling reported in a post today that Idaho lawmakers just adopted a new science curriculum that makes no mention whatsoever about climate change. Why?
Republican legislator, Rep. Scott Syme, argued that the original standards, which included five paragraphs about climate change, did not teach “both sides of the debate.”
In reality, there is little to no debate about whether climate change is occurring, and whether human activity — primarily through the burning of fossil fuels — is the primary contributor. There is a 97 percent consensusamong actively publishing climate scientists that climate change is both happening and that humans are the primary cause — about the same consensus among medical professionals that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer.
My concern is that if you shared the second paragraph of this reportage with Mr. Syme, he would argue that the lack of 100% agreement is NOT a “consensus”… that there are two sides to the issue… split 97-3… but NOT a “consensus”. And here’s the bad news: Idaho is far from the only state taking this position:
Idaho is not unique in omitting accurate climate science from its curriculum. According to a survey published last February in Science, 30 percent of teachers that teach climate change tell students that it is “likely due to natural causes,” and another 31 percent teach the issue as unsettled science. States like Wyoming have gone so far as to pass a ban barring schools from teaching that climate change was caused by humans, though that ban was later repealed.
So our legislators are worried that our children are doing poorly on international science examinations while simultaneously having 61% of the science teachers in the nation teaching misleading or wrong information regarding global warming. And I am willing to hazard a guess that at least a handful of legislatures will adopt curricula that incorporate Creation Science before the end or Mr. Trump’s first term.
There are some states, however, who are adopting a realistic and accurate science curriculum:
Other states, however, are choosing to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, which were put crafted by 26 states and a number of science and education organizations, and include accurate climate science information. So far, 15 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards.
How can we ever hope to agree on a way to address climate change when nearly half of the legislatures in the country deny that it even exists? How can we get people to believe in its existence if they are not taught about it. How can we hope to be the UNITED States of America when we are not getting uniform instruction in science?