Guest post by Steve Goreham
Originally published in The Washington Times
Man-made global warming must be taught in our schools, according to the latest release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The January draft release of the NGSS by the National Research Council is a recommendation for concepts to be used by states in kindergarten through high school. But the recommendations are filled with ideology and unproven assumptions about climate change.
The Next Generation Science Standards are based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education (Framework), established in 2011 by the National Research Council, which is a staff arm of the National Academy of Sciences. A look at the 401-page Framework reveals efforts to instruct students on man-made climate change ideology. The Framework mentions on page 43 that humans need to “address climate change” and on page 166 that humans can “stabilize” the climate. But there is little empirical evidence that humans can control weather or climate in any detectable way. For example, in 2009, the mayor of Moscow claimed that the Russian air force was able to “keep it from snowing.” Five months later, Moscow received 21 inches in a single storm, exceeding the February average by 50 percent.
The NGSS and Framework use the term “theory” many times. These documents refer to the Big Bang theory, Newton’s theory of gravity, the theory of plate tectonics, the atomic theory of matter, the germ theory of disease, Darwin’s theory of the evolution of the species, and the quantum theory of matter. But the recommendations never refer to man-made climate change as a theory. Man-made warming is to be taught as science fact.
The NGSS recommends that 5th graders be taught to “construct explanations for how humans and other organisms will be affected if Earth’s temperature continues to rise.” Much more serious would be a period of global cooling, as was wrongly predicted by the scientific journal Nature and other publications in the 1970s.
By Middle School, the NGSS recommends that students be taught that “Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (‘global warming’).” But the fact that global surface temperatures have been naturally rising for the last 350 years as Earth recovered from the Little Ice Age, long before any significant human greenhouse gas emissions, is not mentioned.
Indoctrination on energy is to be taught to even younger students. Fourth graders are to be taught “the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy.” By Middle School, they are to be taught that “renewable energy resources (e.g., hydroelectric, geothermal, biomass fuels)” and “inexhaustible energy sources (e.g., sunlight, wind, tides, ocean waves)” are good and that “non-renewable energy sources (e.g., coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear fission)” are frowned upon. This despite the fact that the world has centuries of proven reserves of hydrocarbon and nuclear fuels and that these fuels power more than 90 percent of our modern society.
Both the NGSS and the Framework recommend further injection of value judgments into the science curriculum. By the end of 12th grade, the students are meant to learn that “overpopulation” and “overexploitation” are being practiced by humanity. Further, students should be taught that Earth’s “natural capital” must be preserved.
Both documents praise the global climate models that have been used to create alarming forecasts of global surface temperature rise by the year 2100. The Framework states “Global climate models incorporate scientists’ best knowledge of physical and chemical processes and of the interactions of relevant systems.” These are the same climate models that have failed to predict the hiatus in global temperature rise over the last ten years and the 30-year expansion in Antarctic sea ice.
In a 2012 assessment of education systems by the Economist, the United States ranked 17th of 50 assessed nations. Suppose we return to instruction in empirically-based science, rather than climate change ideology?
- Why America’s Kids Need New Standards for Science Education (blogs.scientificamerican.com)