Climate Change Debate Brewing in American Classrooms

Judy Hartnett's picture
Monday, January 30, 2012

There’s a new battle brewing in America’s classrooms, and while it doesn’t have the religious implications of the evolution vs. creationism debate, it has prompted several state legislatures and local school boards to get involved.

Climate change — that topic that makes you bang your head against the wall when talking to your obstinate brother-in-law — is the new battleground in science education in middle and high schools in the U.S., Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.

State boards of education in Texas and Louisiana have established standards to require the presentation of climate change denial as a valid scientific position, while legislators in Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Kentucky have introduced bills to mandate equal time for climate change skeptics’ views in the classroom, according to OPB. Earlier this week, we told you about an Oklahoma bill that would cover teaching climate change in the same way it covers evolution — require that alternate theories be presented.

While courts have held that some criticism of evolution in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state, deniers of climate change argue that they are simply pushing academic freedom.

Last May, a school board in Los Alamitos, Calif., passed a measure — which was later rescinded — that classified climate change as a controversial topic that required special instructional oversight, the L.A. Times reported.

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