Important: Kochs, Climate Change Denial Infiltrating Nation's Classrooms

One of the papers being published in the next issue of Geophysical Research Letters pinpoints the cause of the "Little Ice Age," which started in the 13th century. It was triggered by a series of volcanic eruptions that cooled the planet, and was sustained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Unfortunately, scientific evidence is at a low ebb of acceptance in our nation’s classrooms. Many of our students today wouldn’t believe a volcano could alter the climate, just as they wouldn’t believe humans can alter the climate.

Teachers are shying away from the subject of climate change in high school. Science teachers have received so much pushback on evolution vs. creation that they’re reluctant to invite more controversy.  

Last year, in a poll of its 60,000 members, the National Science Teachers Association found that a whopping 82% face skepticism about climate change from students and 54% face it from parents.

The National Center for Science Education, which has been working for 25 years to keep creationism out of public schools, is now also working to protect teachers from intimidation around teaching climate change science.  

State boards of education in Texas and Louisiana have introduced standards that require teachers to present climate change denial as a valid scientific position. Legislators in Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Kentucky have introduced bills to require equal time for climate change skeptics.

Attacks on the teaching of climate change often go hand-in-hand with efforts to insert creationism or "intelligent design" into public schools. In 2009, the Texas Board of Education mandated that teachers present all sides of the debate on both evolution and climate change. Leslie Kaufman of The New York Times wrote that the linkage was a canny legal strategy: 

Courts have found that singling out evolution for criticism in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state. By insisting that global warming also be debated, deniers of evolution can argue that they are simply championing academic freedom in general. 

Meanwhile, billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are getting attention for trying to directly influence what’s taught in American
colleges and universities.

They offer "strings attached" donations. What are those "strings’? A Koch Advisory Board decides which professors get hired and
fired, they oversee curriculum, and can withdraw the grant if the contract isn’t kept. They currently have financial agreements with 150 colleges and universities.  Watch this IMPORTANT video at the link below.

Read the LA Times article.

Read the full Alternet article.

Here’s Brave New Film’s video on the Koch Bros: 


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Comments on “Important: Kochs, Climate Change Denial Infiltrating Nation's Classrooms”

  1. klem

    “Last year, in a poll of its 60,000 members, the National Science Teachers Association found that a whopping 82% face skepticism about climate change from students and 54% face it from parents”

    I know a lot of children in their early teens and pre-teen age that completely reject ACC. They accept climate change but not the anthropogenic version. You might think that they have been indoctrinated perhaps at school, but nope, you’d be wrong. All of them go to liberal public schools which have been showing “An Inconvenient truth’ over and over with no opposing films or opinions, the teachers openly blaming humans for climate change, and they ridicule any opposing views from their students. As a result most of the students have had enough and reject it all. I have been an environmentalist since 1970, and I have never seen anything like this. I have been saying for years that AGW alarmism will kill the environmental movement in the end. And now I’m seeing how. There is a whole new generation of kids who will not fill the ranks of the green movement in the future. They reject environmentalism. This is a slow motion disaster in the making.

  2. Sean T

    “I have been an environmentalist since 1970”

    i love how the deniers always begin their manifestos with that phrase.

  3. Daniel L

    There’s a high school that keeps showing a movie, over and over, every year. It shows Newton sitting beneath a tree and an apple falling on his head. They’ve never shown a film illustrating an opposing view. Wonder why?

  4. Bill744

    Perhaps the way the teachers approach it is flawed. School kids will always challenge authority to some degree. It they are merely lectured and some are ridiculed, they will react and reject. If they are involved in experiments that demonstrate the basic science, they will see and understand. If they experiment and then present, they will own the understanding. Start with a reproduction of Svante Ahrennius’ experiments to measure the ability of various gases to absorb and re-radiate infrared. Have someone research GCMs, another look at the paleo record, etc. You have to get them to experience the science.

  5. Zyxomma

    Children must be taught critical thinking skills. Why, for example, do they think the national planting map has just been altered, because the north is warmer than at any time since there’s been such a thing? Discuss!

  6. D. Anon.

    I live in a suburban area of Nashville that is supposed to have some of the best public schools in the state. They do teach evolution as science, but they don’t teach human evolution (in high school). When my older son (high school) asked when they would cover human evolution, the teacher said that they don’t teach anything controversial. I couldn’t believe that human evolution is considered controversial here. Even the textbook, which covers many aspects of population genetics and evolution, quickly glosses over the subject in one tiny paragraph. So the issue here is not just whether evolution is taught versus creationism. Even where evolution is being taught, it is being taught selectively, so that non-human, microevolution is taught rather than the full spectrum of the science. This was the first that I had heard that an entire scientific field, physical anthropology, is considered controversial.

    There is no climate change curriculum. My son is faced with very high levels of climate change skepticism from his classmates. I’ve helped him learn the science so that he can reply to the questions, and he ended up doing a paper on it.
    So living here has its teachable moments. But when he went to the high school library, the books were overwhelmingly by skeptics/deniers.

    The level of infiltration of anti-science thinking even in otherwise good suburban public schools is astounding. There are apparently even creationists on the science teaching faculty and in the administration. It is part of a general culture that is oriented toward evangelical churches and the Republican Party. My younger son is afraid to express liberal political views, even support for Democrats, because he thinks he might get beaten up. Racism and anti-semitism are not obvious among adults, but it is interesting what comes out on the school bus, where one gets a less filtered view of what is going on inside homes.

    It is very sad. I feel like we have moved to another country. I just hope this is not the future of the whole country.

    I read your news everyday. This web site is a great resource, and I want to thank you.

  7. Rona Fried

    D. Anon, thank you for your thoughtful comment as much as it’s frightening to read. I too hope this isn’t the future of our country and it’s just a depressing phase. Thank you for your kind words about our news, I greatly appreciate it. We’re here for you.


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