National Center for Science Education to Defend Teaching of Climate Change

“We need to teach kids now about the realities of global warming and climate change”
Science • Views: 21,821

The National Center for Science Education has long been a leader in the battle against those who relentlessly try to insert creationism into public school science classes; they’re probably most well-known for the key role they played in the Dover “intelligent design” trial. (Which didn’t go well at all for the creationists.)

As I’ve pointed out several times at LGF (e.g., ‘Teach the Controversy’ Comes to the Science of Global Warming), the tactics and ideologies of creationists are very similar to those of climate change deniers (often they’re even the same people), and I’m glad to see that the NCSE is now broadening the scope of their mission to counter the concerted effort to prevent schools from teaching the scientific evidence for climate change: NCSE’s climate change initiative launched.

Glacier via Shutterstock (click to enlarge)NCSE is proud to announce the launch of its new initiative aimed at defending the teaching of climate change. Like evolution, climate change is accepted by the scientific community but controversial among the public. As a result, educators trying to teach climate change, like their counterparts trying to teach evolution, are often likewise pressured to compromise the scientific and pedagogical integrity of their instruction. But there was no NCSE for climate — no organization, that is, specializing in providing advice and support to those facing challenges to climate change education.

With the launching of the initiative, NCSE itself becomes that organization. As NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott explained in a January 16, 2012, press release, “We consider climate change a critical issue in our own mission to protect the integrity of science education.” She added, “Climate affects everyone, and the decisions we make today will affect generations to come. We need to teach kids now about the realities of global warming and climate change, so that they’re prepared to make informed, intelligent decisions in the future.”

The response from the scientific and education communities has been enthusiastic. Alan I. Leshner, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, commented, “AAAS has long admired the NCSE’s efforts to protect the integrity of science. We are delighted to see the Center expand its activities to ensure that climate science is appropriately taught in our nation’s schools.” And Francis Eberle, the executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, added, “We applaud the NCSE for its efforts to promote the teaching of climate change in our nation’s classrooms.”

Included in the climate change initiative is a new area of NCSE’s website devoted to climate change education, with sections on “Climate Change 101,” “Teaching about Climate Change,” “Climate Change Denial,” and “Taking Action.” During the week of January 16, 2012, NCSE will emphasize various aspects of the new initiative through a series of stories on its website, excerpts from recent books on climate change and controversies surrounding climate change, and videos on its YouTube channel — so stay tuned!

For Monday, January 16, there is a press release about the initiative and a statement describing the initiative’s mission, a sample chapter (PDF) from Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s Merchants of Doubt, and a video: “NCSE tackles global warming”. Coverage in the press of the initiative so far includes the Guardian (January 13, 2012) and the Los Angeles Times (January 16, 2012). Additionally, NCSE’s Scott discusses the climate change initiative with the Lab Out Loud podcast (January 16, 2012).

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