Tag Archives: denial

Scientists create their own ‘teacher-friendly’ book to counter climate denial in schools

For two years in a row, lawmakers in Idaho have successfully removed climate science from the state’s public school curriculum despite overwhelming public support from teachers and students. This year, when lawmakers successfully voted for a second time in February to remove key references to climate science from education standards, one representative defended the move by arguing that the decision didn’t prohibit teachers from teaching the science — only that it was no longer required for teachers to do so.

But critics of removing the climate references argued that the lack of statewide standards would leave teachers — especially those in more rural districts, where climate science is considered more politically controversial — without meaningful resources to help teach kids about climate change.

“We are here today not just for those students in classrooms across our state, but for tomorrow’s nurses, farmers, lawmakers, teachers, bankers, and citizens who deserve the very best science, and science education, not some watered down, censored version,” Dick Jordan, a retired high school science teacher, told legislators during a public hearing before the state’s House Education Committee in early February. “We can’t ignore science even when it makes us uncomfortable.”

Now, one group is working to bring climate science to the students no matter what. On February 13, one week after lawmakers approved the climate science-less standards, every public high school in the state will begin receiving The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change — a resource that a group of former science teachers hope will help educators combat misinformation about climate change at a time when lawmakers seem intent on censoring climate science from schools.

As we look forward to the coming decades, the most important challenges that we as a society face are grounded in the very connected issues of climate, energy, water, and soil,” Don Duggan-Haas, director of teacher programs at the Paleontological Research Institution and an author of the book, told ThinkProgress. “If we don’t understand what we’re doing with, and to, those resources, then we are in serious trouble.”

Aside from high-profile cases like Idaho, where lawmakers or education boards have specifically stepped in to quell what kind of climate science teachers are required to cover in their curriculum, students across the United States are generally exposed to at least some climate science during middle and high school. According to a 2016 survey by researchers at Penn State University and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), three out of four science teachers spend at least one hour of their annual curriculum teaching climate science.

But the survey found that while 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by human activity, that consensus didn’t make its way into teaching — 30 percent reported teaching students that climate change is “likely due to natural causes,” while another 31 percent reported teaching climate change as an unsettled science. Less than a third of teachers surveyed knew that the consensus surrounding human activity and climate change was between 81 to 100 percent.

Organizations that routinely peddle climate misinformation have seized upon that gap in teacher understanding of the scientific consensus in an attempt to weaken climate science standards throughout the country.

Last May, the Heartland Institute — a think-tank that routinely challenges the consensus on climate science and counts Exxon and Koch-funded organization among its donorsmailed out 25,000 copies of a book titled Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming, along with an accompanying DVD, to science teachers around the country. The book and DVD asks teachers to “consider the possibility” that climate science isn’t settled, and encourages educators to teach about a “vibrant debate taking place among scientists.”

The goal, according to Heartland, was to eventually get a copy of the book to every science teacher in the country.

The move elicited vocal criticism from both science and education groups, with both the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) issuing statements in opposition to the book.

At the time, scientists at the Paleontological Research Institution were already working on a book, funded by the National Science Foundation, that would help make climate science accessible to teachers across the country. But with the news that the Heartland Institute was working to disseminate their version of climate science to every teacher in the nation, the work took on a renewed kind of importance.

What was supposed to be a short-run project for maybe 100 teachers suddenly became a campaign to counter the Heartland’s climate misinformation. After launching a crowdfunding campaign this summer, Duggan-Haas and his colleagues have been able to print thousands of books, with plans to ship them to every science teacher in New York, Idaho, Florida, North and South Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada. If the crowd-funding campaign is successful enough, they, too, want to send books to every science teacher in the country.

It’s not a middle school or high school curriculum but rather a resource for the teacher to get them up to speed both on the physical science and the social science that makes teaching climate change a different kind of challenge than teaching photosynthesis for example,” Duggan-Haas said.

Duggan-Haas and his colleagues hope that by getting The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change into public schools around the country, teachers can begin to feel more comfortable with teaching a subject that has become so politically-charged in recent years. The guide is written specifically for teachers that might have a background in science but lack direct experience with climate or earth science, and even includes a Frequently Asked Questions section aimed at addressing persistent climate “myths,” like the idea that there has been no measured increase in global temperatures.

“While there is no shortage of credible science information that teachers can access (NOAA and NASA for example), this guide is different in that it speaks directly to teachers. It shares advice for what educators and students really need to know, and why,” Karin Kirk, a science education consultant who has worked with the authors of the book on separate projects, told ThinkProgress via email. “I love that this book is being used as the antidote to the Heartland Institute’s unwanted mailings, and even more than that I love the idea of an energized generation of students growing up with a solid understanding of this topic.”


Five Things: Arsenal boss in denial, Man City striker the star of the show, Newcastle dig in for big win

Five Things: Arsenal boss in denial, Man City striker the star of the show, Newcastle dig in for big win – originally posted on Sportslens.com

It was another fun-packed weekend in the Premier League, with plenty of areas for discussion at both ends of the table.

Manchester City’s victory over Leicester City left them eleventy million points clear at the top of the standings and they could have things wrapped up by the end of March.

Sportslens takes a look at five talking points from over the weekend.

Wenger in denial about his defence

Arsene Wenger hit back at Martin Keown’s criticism of Arsenal’s defence after Saturday’s derby defeat, but the club’s former centre-back was spot on with his assessment.

Harry Kane was given a free header for the winning goal, but the Spurs striker could easily have had a hat-trick against the Gunners’ flaky backline.

Arsenal look dangerous going forward, but they are still an accident waiting to happen at the back. The first step in solving a problem is recognising there is one. Wenger’s continued denials are a joke.

Hernandez proving his worth with West Ham

Javier Hernandez’s goal against Watford on Saturday was his third in his last four games for West Ham and he’s beginning to show his true form for the club.

Hernandez struggled to hit it off with Andy Carroll, but he is thriving with the big striker out injured once again.

The Mexican looked to be on his way out of the club during January, but in this sort of form West Ham would be silly to let him go.

Aguero the star of the show

Kevin De Bruyne has picked up many of the plaudits for Manchester City this season, but Sergio Aguero demonstrated his own value to the team against Leicester City on Saturday.

City were off the pace in the first half, but Aguero’s four-goal haul after the break perfectly showcased his finishing ability.

His fourth was a touch of magic, taking a pass 25 yards from goal and unleashing a spectacular shot that rattled the upright and went straight in. Simply breathtaking.

Benitez can keep Newcastle up

It’s been a frustrating season for Newcastle United fans, especially with the ongoing uncertainty over whether owner Mike Ashley will ever sell the club.

Manager Rafa Benitez has made no secret of his frustration over what he believes to be a lack of investment in the squad, but Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United certainly boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation.

The Red Devils created enough chances to win the game, but Newcastle were competitive throughout and this result could be crucial in their fight for survival.

Aldridge off target with striker comments

There’s a few questionable pundits around the Premier League at the moment and John Aldridge is pretty high up the list.

Aldridge claimed Liverpool’s potential title challenge this season has been hampered by the lack of a recognised striker, but one thing you can’t accuse the Reds of is a shortage of firepower.

Robert Firmino and Mohamed Salah have both broken through the 20-goal barrier in all competitions and the former Liverpool striker’s views are laughable.

Unresolved defensive issues remain Liverpool’s biggest problem, while a creative midfielder also wouldn’t go amiss. Scoring enough goals is the least of their worries.

Aldridge was a superb finisher during his playing career. Punditry? Lousy.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog