New AGU endorsed climate survey for educators – a bit odd

People send me stuff. This arrived today in my inbox. This anonymous survey (open to anyone) was announced via the American Geophysical Union mailing list, done by the National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA, and also available at their website) and is rather telling.

IMHO many of the questions are rather leading, and based on some news headlines we’ve seen in the past, and in my opinion these lead the survey to a predetermined outcome. That said, I know we have many K-12 educators who read WUWT, and I encourage them to take the survey and give it your best honest answers. For non-educators, there’s a question to declare that as well. (link to survey follows below the Continue reading line).

Some of the questions test knowledge of climate systems, GHG’s and other basic science. I’m sure our WUWT readers will score quite high on those questions. There are a few trick questions too, like the one about Earthquakes causing global warming (insert eye rolling emoticon here). There’s also a question about which nation per capita emits the most GHG’s and the one that is actually in the lead (Qatar) is oddly not listed but instead wants you to answer USA I think. That’s just a couple of the oddities I noticed.

Unfortunately, none of the multiple choice questions had an option to check [ ] This question is ridiculous which I probably would have checked a few times if it were available.

Though, looking at the NESTA website, I see they are pushing a card game from the Union of Concerned Scientists (where you need only a credit card to join, no scientist credentials required) called “Cool it” so I suppose we’ll have to give them points for being silly with this survey, which is about on par with the UCS card game.

Here’s the AGU notice to members and the link to the survey:

Dear Members,

The National Earth Science Teachers Association has developed an anonymous survey to gather information about climate change education underway in the K-12 classroom today.

1.       If you are a K-12 educator, please take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N5ZHKFJ .

2.       Please consider forwarding this notice about the survey to your networks of teachers through emails, listservs, and other postings.

The survey will be available through September, and results will be made available through the NESTA website at http://www.nestanet.org in November of this year.

Bethany

[AGU Website]<http://www.agu.org>

Bethany Holm Adamec

Education and Outreach Coordinator

American Geophysical Union

[email deleted as a spam courtesy]

AGU galvanizes a community of Earth and space scientists that collaboratively advances and communicates science and its power to ensure a sustainable future.

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pat
August 21, 2011 3:13 pm

Union of Concerned Scientists should be called Society of Fruitcakes. Whe is the MSM going to recognize this?

August 21, 2011 3:30 pm

That survey was certainly… a biased crock… of something that would get bleeped here.

Karen D
August 21, 2011 3:49 pm

I looked through the survey and my heart goes out to high school kids who face a curriculum like this every school day and have to somehow navigate their way through to graduation without going either insane or brain-dead!

Doug in Seattle
August 21, 2011 3:50 pm

This is better than most as it has other (real) selections beside the AlGore ones.

John W
August 21, 2011 3:54 pm

What a cr[***]y survey, why can’t a survey just ask:
Which is most likely?
A: Aliens are altering the Earth’s atmosphere.
B: Humans are the dominant force in climate change.
C: Humans are a significant variable among many in climate change.
D: Climate change is natural and cyclical to which human impact is barely discernible if at all.
E: No comment. (Code for I work for RC and can’t tell you what I really think.)
F: Humans are evil and must be eradicated under whatever guise available.
G: Who can tell! Agenda driven “climate scientists” have so corrupted the data that it will take years for real scientists to sort it out.

Kev-in-Uk
August 21, 2011 4:06 pm

Did it for a laugh – but it really wasn’t any fun – very unscientific in the wording of the questions and often making the supposition that ‘global warming’ is a fact and that it must be linked to human activity – at least, that was my impression……..
It struck me that the survey was more akin to trying to see if folk had been ‘influenced’ by the media and how much of that MSM hype they had retained?

C. Shannon
August 21, 2011 4:17 pm

Took the survey, there are a LOT of questions that I was thinking “All of these are wrong!” or at least “None of these options represents my views.”.
Anyways, if at all possible could you put up an article in November when the results are made public? I’m probably not the only one like to forget by then, so hopefully someone with a better memory can remind us around that time as I’m definitely interested to see the results.

August 21, 2011 4:19 pm

I am an educator, although not K-12 (I teach a vocational course to ages 18-50). Among the courses I teach is meteorology, and I have a degree in Earth Sciences, so I feel I can judge some of this and I answered the questionnaire.
I have to agree that some of the questions were very frustrating. Some I wanted to answer “a tiny amount” or “no answers valid” instead of saying “yes” or “no” or have to say “I don’t know” when I do. I know for a fact that Canada has higher CO2 output per person than the USA now (your list ends in 2008, I believe Canada overtook the USA in 2009 or 2010), and it seems that the USA is not even close to the highest.
What a terrible piece of propaganda.

Tim Clark
August 21, 2011 4:26 pm

Most of the answers were skewed towards attributing warming to co2. Or you had to answer “Don’t Know”. They’ll get the results they wanted.

4 eyes
August 21, 2011 4:38 pm

Anthony, I reckon the desired outcome is to use the results to work out where they have to increase the indoctrination pressures. I don’t think the results will be used to say “See, there’s even a consensus amongst lay people.”

Dr A Burns
August 21, 2011 4:39 pm

Just completed it. Incredibly biased rubbish.

u.k.(us)
August 21, 2011 4:40 pm

“Dear Members,
The National Earth Science Teachers Association has developed an anonymous survey to gather information about climate change education underway in the K-12 classroom today.”
===========
If I’m not mistaken, the questions in the poll always referred to “global warming”, not “climate change”.
FWIIW, before finding WUWT I wouldn’t have had any idea how to answer most of the questions.
The questions seemed to be rather “deep”, especially for a kindergarten teacher ?

Taphonomic
August 21, 2011 4:46 pm

Some questions were just stupid. For example, the one about how much certain things contribute to global warming. It includes the sun. Fine, Without the sun how warm would the earth be? So, the answer should be “a lot” for the sun, but I bet it won’t be when the survey results come out.

August 21, 2011 4:47 pm

@Pat.
The article mentions American Geophysical Union, not Union of Concerned Scientists.

August 21, 2011 4:56 pm

Pretty lame survey. You would think they’d at least run it by a well respected AGW critic before publicly posting it. I had to skip one large section entirely because the loaded questions were clearly designed to maneuver the respondent into a politically correct corner.

Jenn Oates
August 21, 2011 5:01 pm

I had some serious fun with that survey. I expect that they’ll think me completely unfit to teach Earth Science.
Heh heh heh

August 21, 2011 5:10 pm

I did the survey as a home school teacher. It is a bit biased but they at least allowed for the possibility of the sceptical position.
Some of their general knowledge questions were very slanted but most had a “don’t know” option.
Plus are a few “essay” questions which offer opportunity for fun.

Editor
August 21, 2011 5:16 pm

I think it must have been a logic test….. they wanted to know if the fact that the climate has changed naturally in the past proves that man is not responsible now. They kep using that word. I don’t think it means what they think it means. Taking that survey left me a bit nauseous.

jmbnf
August 21, 2011 5:53 pm

It’s really sad that these polls are actually that bad. What was with “Energy Independence” as an option in science questions. It has absolutely nothing to do with science. As a thought experiment lets suppose that China creates a watershed scientific achievement in solar panels, should we not buy theirs and build more expensive less efficient solar panels or windmills ourselves? It just shows how politically and economically ignorant the activist are who create these polls.

August 21, 2011 5:54 pm

There are a few trick questions too, like the one about Earthquakes causing global warming (insert eye rolling emoticon here).

But earthquakes do cause global warming (if you believe in the GHG theory.
– Japanese earthquake damages nuclear power plants
– Germany shuts down all nuclear power plants
– More coal must be burnt to meet poser needs
– More GHGs.
See?
(Yes, I’m joking — in case that isn’t clear)
🙂

Brian H
August 21, 2011 5:59 pm

A few spots actually contained more accurate skeptical positions than I expected. Just a few.

Scott
August 21, 2011 6:31 pm

Did the survey, can’t really believe they’re teaching this stuff in schools. It really brings home the message from the documentary “Searching for Superman”.
This stuff does nothing to prepare children for the real world.

ChE
August 21, 2011 7:08 pm

24. If we were to stop burning fossil fuels today, global warming would stop almost immediately.

Begging the question…

ChE
August 21, 2011 7:11 pm

Any recent global warming is caused by the sun.

Are these people really this dopey? Of course, the sun is the root cause of all warming. And these are educators? Science fail, and English fail.

ChE
August 21, 2011 7:15 pm

Golly. At the end of the survey, I get a chance to … send them money!

Randy
August 21, 2011 7:35 pm

I toughed it out with honest answers.
Need to shower to get the slime off.

Theo Goodwin
August 21, 2011 7:37 pm

All in all, pretty goofy. When asked what are the three most important things you could do to improve your course, I wrote “interview Holdren, Lisa Jackson, and Gavin Schmidt.”

HaroldW
August 21, 2011 7:40 pm

Question 22: Which statement best describes the rate of change of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the past 500 years?
Answer choices are: a) No change; b)Linear increase; c)Linear decrease; d)Exponential increase; e)Exponential decrease; f)Don’t know
I’m presuming they’re expecting the answer “exponential increase” — certainly none of the other choices are anywhere close over that time range. [Perhaps they intended 50 years, that is, since Mauna Loa measurements have been made?] But ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_gr_gl.txt indicates that while the rate of change has generally been increasing, it’s not very close to an exponential trend.
Needs an answer option — “None of the above.”

wermet
August 21, 2011 7:59 pm

As the parent of middle and high school students in the US, I have had to educate my children with two sets of information. The first is the correct scientific position that man is not the main cause of GW, that our current scientific understanding is extremely limited, and that the current data sets are incomplete (, unreliable, and possibly completely corrupted). The second set of information I give them is the politically correct one that they are expected to “regurgitate” on the tests in order to get a passing grade.
What my kids have learned most from this experience is that those in authority over them cannot be trusted to act in their best interests and that it is not always prudent to loudly express the truth. (I really wish I was joking, but I am not.)

Therapist1
August 21, 2011 8:24 pm

I want to thank this website for the opportunity to answer these questions with some semblance of actual knowledge.

socalmike
August 21, 2011 8:43 pm

I don’t know what to say. I used to be a member of NESTA, and there are some really nice people in the group. But, they drank the Kool-aid, and it’s not fun talking to them any more.

August 21, 2011 11:15 pm

“Galvanize” is the right word…it concerns scientists, journalists and educators who respond to calls to action like Galvani’s dead frog legs. They act like the real thing but everybody can see there’s no brain activity involved.

Joe Horner
August 22, 2011 3:23 am

53. Please list the top three things you need to do a better job teaching about climate change science:
Keep an open mind
Listen to all views
Remember that consensus does not a science (nor scientist) make

John Trigge
August 22, 2011 3:36 am

I liked the question about which country has the highest per capita CO2 emissions. In Oz, it has been drummed into us ad nauseum that we need a carbon tax because we have the highest – we were not in the list so I might have to send the survey to Julia so that she can cancel the tax.

Dr. John M. Ware
August 22, 2011 3:39 am

I took the survey and did my best, but (as others have said) there were far too many questions for which the correct answer did not appear. Disgusting. Granted, the subjects I taught during my 40 plus years of teaching were music, real estate, and English; I still have a research doctorate and can usually tell good information from claptrap. The survey assumes a moderate level of knowledge, appropriate for an informed layman as well as a climate scientist; what it doesn’t assume is an objective viewpoint. Disgusting. [Did I say that before?]

Mike Monce
August 22, 2011 5:53 am

I got the sense taking the survey that all the “sceptical” questions were designed to root out those sceptics who happened to take the survey, and then eliminate them from the final tally. I hope I’m proven wrong, but these people have proven themselves in the past to not be above such shenanigans.

August 22, 2011 7:20 am

Is this the same survey that Yale put out last year? HaroldW noted the strange question about “exponential” CO2 increase. I examined in great detail how foolish this question was in a Compuserve SCIMATH forum thread last October:
http://community.compuserve.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=ws-sciencemath&tid=129885

Taphonomic
August 22, 2011 7:48 am

HaroldW says:
“Needs an answer option — “None of the above.””
That’s true for many of the questions.

Stu Miller
August 22, 2011 7:57 am

Actually, I didn’t think the survey was that bad. Having been exposed to psychological type questions on numerous “team building” exercises while working for large organizations, I seem to be used to a certain amount of ambiguity in surveys. I thought it gave me a fair chance to choose an answer that reflected my opinion on most matters. Sure, some question answers were a bit ambiguous, but you would expect that on any format except essay questions. You have to keep in mind that real global warmers are unhappy with the answers that didn’t properly express their extreme views just as you are unhappy with some of the choices you had to settle for to represent your view.

Keith
August 22, 2011 8:03 am

Question 19, about attitudes to “teaching the science of climate change”. Now what do you think they mean by “positive” and “negative” attitudes?

Editor
August 22, 2011 10:39 am

If anyone can complete the survey… How is this any more scientific than the run-of-the-mill Internet poll?

Bill Parsons
August 22, 2011 11:19 am

ChE says:
August 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm
24. If we were to stop burning fossil fuels today, global warming would stop almost immediately.
Begging the question…

Yes, it creeps up on you, coming after a string of “reasonable” questions.
How often are you still beating your wife?
a) once a week
b) once every other week
c) we’re in counseling….
It’s apparently not a “stupid” survey, as some think. They want the ability to publish “results” based on one or two loaded questions like this. I skipped the question.

Joe Crawford
August 22, 2011 12:05 pm

From The Broad Foundation’s ‘Statistics on American K-12 Public Education’ here

American students rank 25th in math and 21st in science compared to students in 30 industrialized countries.

The pathetic thing is that this survey was designed/written by and for those that are currently teaching our kids science. No wonder our school system(s) gets a failing grade in math and science when compared to most other industrialized nations. While we are lucky enough to still have a few excellent educators involved in our school system(s), I’m afraid this survey is probably a good example of the knowledge and capabilities of the norm.

August 22, 2011 2:04 pm

They need to learn how to write sentences that aren’t leading, or confusing. Here’s one resource for writing science articles and statements:
http://alternativehypothesis.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/ten-lessons

Dave Worley
August 22, 2011 4:29 pm

Found myself answering “I don’t know” fairly often.
Wish the climate science community were so honest.

Theo Goodwin
August 22, 2011 7:24 pm

wermet says:
August 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm
“What my kids have learned most from this experience is that those in authority over them cannot be trusted to act in their best interests and that it is not always prudent to loudly express the truth. (I really wish I was joking, but I am not.)”
I think very few have grasped just how tragic this situation is. It is the tyranny of Political Correctness and someday we might find ourselves passing around illegal photocopies of web posts. It is valuable that kids learn that those in authority over them cannot be trusted to act in their best interests. But how much better the society in which such wisdom was unnecessary.

John Andrews
August 22, 2011 7:33 pm

Based on the other replies there may be more than one set of questions, particularly depending on if you are or are not a teacher or retired teacher. I found the questions leading much like those that I get from my representative in congress or the republican party (yes I am) or the NRA (I quit them). I did try to give my best answer, but it was hard. I think I left one blank. The bad part of participating is that I now believe that I have been manipulated to support their agenda.
John Andrews, Knoxville, Tennessee

Pamela Gray
August 22, 2011 9:08 pm

Sorry, not touching it. Any survey that is run through with bias runs counter to my proper science inquiry radar.

barry
August 22, 2011 11:32 pm

Unfortunately, none of the multiple choice questions had an option to check [ ] This question is ridiculous which I probably would have checked a few times if it were available.

I kind of agree, but I would have said that the way the question was put precluded me ticking any box that was satisfactory. Eg, a yes/no for,

“Climate changes from year to year”

Well, we have seasons, so in any given place, yes, climate changes every year, but if we’re talking global climate, then, no, climate change can only be measured in decadal trends. No tick-a-box for these distinctions, unfortunately.
Then there was;

Which statement best describes the rate of change of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the past 500 years?

Options were linear increase/decrease, exponential increase/decrease, but CO2 was steadyish up until about 150 years ago, so you have a long lead of little change and then an exponential increase. No tick-a-box really fit that description.
Then the multiple options on this question;

How much does each of the following contribute to global warming?
…Sun

A lot, some, a little, none at all? Well, it depends on the time period. Last thirty years? Little to none. Last century? Some. Can it have a major influence? Yes. The question is ill-phrased.
Other than that, the questions were ok I thought, and I’d kill to see the results. Most of the questions don’t have controversial answers, they’re basic, and I’d love to know how many K-12 teachers got the basics right.

Pascvaks
August 23, 2011 6:09 am

If you think the survey was “odd”, just wait for the results to be posted.

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