Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Vice reports that some US States are using new academic freedom initiatives, designed to prevent climate indoctrination, to add courses about creationism to mainstream school syllabuses. The question – who has the right to decide what lessons children learn?
CLIMATE DENIAL IN SCHOOLS
A new wave of state bills could allow public schools to teach lies about climate change.
By Emmalina Glinskis on Apr 25, 2017
Legislation proposed across the country since Donald Trump’s election threatens to bring climate change denial into the classroom under the guise of “academic freedom.”
Currently, six states have legislative measures pending or already on the books that would allow anti-science rhetoric, including the rejection of global warming, to seep its way into schools’ curricula. While these types of proposals have become fairly routine in certain states, some of the most recent crop have advanced farther than in the past.
Senate Bill 393 in Oklahoma, for example, would permit teachers to paint established science on both evolution and climate change as “controversial.” The “controversy,” however, doesn’t really exist — more than 97 percent of actively publishing, accredited climate scientists agree that global warming trends over the past century are directly attributable to human activity. And some teachers might already be misleading students.
Since its initial proposal in early February, the bill passed out of the Senate and into the House, where it circumvented the House Education Committee and now heads for a full House vote.
I believe anyone who takes a serious interest in climate science should be able to see that there are serious problems. The models don’t work, the evidence is weak, and the assurances that the science is “settled” are clearly a political construct, not a scientific conclusion.
I also believe that creationism is junk science.
The thought that creationism is being taught in mainstream schools makes me as uncomfortable as the thought that some students are being indoctrinated with climate dogma.
But plenty of people hold different views. Some people believe evolution is bogus, that creationism is a more acceptable explanation for the formation of the Earth. Some of those believers in creationism are parents.
I believe schools which teach climate dogma to students are doing those students a grave disservice.
Many people believe not teaching climate alarmism leaves students unprepared for the choices they urgently will need to make, to avoid the apocalyptic climate dystopia which looms over their future.
Yet other people think exclusively teaching evolution, not teaching creationism, leaves students with an unbalanced view of the evidence.
Some people even think children as young as seven should be comprehensively educated about all the different weird sexual preferences and “genders” prevalent in some parts of today’s world, should be educated about “gender fluidity”. I personally think confusing young children about sexuality in this way is completely insane.
Who has the right to decide what children are taught?
The answer as far as I can see, is no one group has the right to decide what children learn.
Ultimately parents have to decide what is best for their children.
If parents think the best preparation for their children’s future is a course on making voodoo dolls, or the healing power of crystals, do we really have the right to step in and demand they desist?
Freedom means having the freedom to mess up your life. Academic freedom is the freedom to mess up your children’s education.
I don’t like the choices some parents will make. I absolutely loathe the choices some parents make. I think any parent who indoctrinates their children with the idea that the world is about to end in a fiery climate catastrophe needs their head examined. I think parents who teach their kids that there is no point studying palaeontology, because god made everything just the way it is, are crippling their children’s understanding of the world.
But the alternative to having the freedom to mess up your children’s education, is giving the state the authority to mess up your children’s education.
The only sane choice is to take back power from the state, to demand and receive the right to decide what is best for our own children – however outrageous some of those choices may be. Because the only thing worse than watching other parents make bad choices for their children, is being forced to accept whatever lunacy the latest crop of government bureaucrats decide to inflict on your children.