Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Kansas Bill Would Require Teachers To Misinform Students About Climate Change

Last week, the Kansas House Education Committee introduced a bill that mandates teachers question the scientific basis of global warming, becoming the latest state to take up one of American Legislative Exchange Council’s “model bills” aiming to misrepresent climate change in schools.

Kansas would join Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Oklahoma as the fifth state to cast climate change as a “controversial” topic. But climate change is only controversial in political and polluter circles, not the scientific community. 97 percent of climate scientists actively publishing in the field agree climate change is human-caused.

As National Center for Science Education executive director Eugenie C. Scott explained, “The only effects of enacting such a misguided bill would be to discourage responsible teachers from presenting climate science accurately and to encourage irresponsible teachers to misrepresent it as controversial.”

Read the text of the bill:

The bill resembles an ALEC “model bill,” written for corporate lobbyists. ALEC’s model bill mandates “a range of perspectives presented in a balanced manner,” “instruction in critical thinking so that students will be able to fairly and objectively evaluate scientific and economic controversies,” and present climate change “in language appropriate for education rather than for propagandizing.” At the same time ALEC’s legislation has gained ground in other states, the similarities to Kansas’ bill are striking, even though the state battles a destructive drought made more likely and severe in a warming climate.

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