Following their story complaining about skeptical students and parents, which is good news, the New York Times has published a bunch of testimonials from secondary school teachers who are intent on teaching alarmism instead of science.
The Times title is rather sinister — “A Sense of Duty to Teach Climate Change.” As usual they use the words “climate change” to mean the unproven hypothesis of harmful human caused climate change, as though climate did not change naturally, which is completely false. But the sinister part is that these teachers feel they have a duty to teach this false doctrine. When science teachers teach political doctrine instead of science we have a serious problem.
The stories themselves are revealing. To begin with many are not from science teachers. The grade levels range down to 7th and 8th grades and the subjects include Civics, English, Art and Math. Clearly this is indoctrination not education, involving teachers who have neither competence in the topic nor the job to teach it.
The good news is that skeptical students seem to be a real problem for these misguided teachers. This is probably due to the fact that the majority of parents are skeptics in many school districts. That this widespread skepticism does not translate into more balanced teaching is truly unfortunate — a blight on the American education system. Skepticism and critical thinking in science need to be encouraged.
Some of the lessons cited by these alarmist teachers reveal how little understanding they have of the scientific debate. One talks about dissolving CO2 in water (think soda pop) as though this had anything to do with the mystery of climate change and the question what role, if any, that humans play in it.
Another features the CO2 levels and temperatures estimated from 400,000 year old ice cores. This data is actually often cited by skeptics because it shows warming leading, hence probably causing, CO2 increases, rather than CO2 causing warming. Yet somehow the teacher is twisting this around to teach alarmism.
There are several cases where local climate change, which may perfectly well be natural, is falsely argued to somehow demonstrate human influence. A melting glacier for example. This is just a repetition of the trick of using “climate change” to mean human caused climate change. Using this trick makes all evidence of climate change alarmist.
Even worse are cases which seem to have nothing whatever to do with climate change, such as the teacher who says this: “We have several places in our state that are sinking and as future voters and tax payers, our students need to have an awareness of an issue/problem they can hopefully solve.” This seems ridiculous, but it is being taught by a 7th grade Civics teacher, so it is far from laughable.
The simple fact is that teachers should not be allowed to teach just one side of the scientific debate over climate change. Their alarmism amounts to political action against children. Most State standards properly require some teaching about climate change in science classes, but none mandate alarmism. Teaching alarmist dogma in non-science courses is also bad.
What should be taught is the science as it is, which is a wide open debate. This is an opportunity to teach how science really works, with fierce debate between competing hypotheses. Science is about critical thinking, not mindless dogma.
It is time to take action against this disgraceful abuse of American education.