NCSE Weekly Update – 7.24.15: NO SENATE RESOLUTION ON CLIMATE EDUCATION

logo_new_final_medDear friends of NCSE,

A proposed resolution on climate science education fails to reach the Senate floor.

When the United States Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 on July 16, 2015, a proposed resolution acknowledging the scientific evidence for climate change and affirming the importance of climate science education was not included.

The resolution (SA 2175), proposed by Edward Markey (D-Massachussetts), described the scientific evidence for human-induced climate change as “overwhelming and undeniable” and affirmed that “instruction in climate science is important for all students and should not be prohibited by any unit of State or local government.”

The resolution never reached the Senate floor. Two further amendments concerning climate change education were proposed, but as NCSE previously reported, one (SA 2176) was rejected on a floor vote and one (SA 2144) was withdrawn without a vote.

For the three amendments, visit:

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2175

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2176

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2144

And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events at the national level, visit:

http://ncse.com/news/national

Thanks for reading. And don’t forget to visit NCSE’s website— http://ncse.com — where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them.

Sincerely,

Glenn Branch

Deputy Director

National Center for Science Education, Inc.

420 40th Street, Suite 2

Oakland, CA 94609-2509

510-601-7203 x303

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Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program

Announcing the launch of the 2016-2017 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching (DA) Program Online Application for K-12 teachers! dafy11sachristieblick

Are you a U.S.:

  • Primary and/or secondary classroom teacher?
  • Guidance counselor?
  • Curriculum specialist?
  • Curriculum head?
  • Talented and Gifted coordinator?
  • Special Education coordinator?
  • Media specialist/librarian?

You may be eligible to participate in a unique international professional development opportunity for 3-6 months through the Fulbright Program!

By conducting educational research abroad, U.S. teachers gain new skills, learn new instructional methods and assessment methodologies and share best practices with international colleagues and students. Teachers also have the opportunity to expand their understanding of other cultures and international education systems that will enrich their U.S. schools and local communities with global perspectives.

Teachers may travel to:

Botswana, Chile, Finland, India, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Palestinian Territories, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam

*Countries are still pending and may change. Please visit the program website for updates.

CLICK HERE TO START YOUR APPLICATION TODAY!

Application deadline: November 4, 2015

Eligibility Requirements: www.fulbrightteacherexchange.org

This program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the Institute of International Education.

 

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Evolution and Climate Change Update – 7.17.2015

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UPDATE FROM THE SENATE

Two of the three amendments concerning climate change education under consideration are out of commission as the United States Senate continues to discuss a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

A proposed amendment (SA 2176) to establish the Climate Change Education Act, which would have instituted a competitive grant program aimed in part at developing and improving educational material and teacher training on the topic of climate change, was rejected on a 44-53 vote on July 15, 2015.

The amendment was proposed by Edward Markey (D-Massachussetts), who was quoted by the Washington Post (July 15, 2015) as saying, “The children of our country deserve the best scientific education they can get on this topic … They are the future leaders of this country and the world. They must be equipped.”

Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), however, argued against the federal government’s involvement in curriculum and instruction, warning, “Just imagine what the curriculum on climate change would be if we shifted from President Obama to President Cruz and then back to President Sanders and then to President Trump.”

Meanwhile, a proposed amendment (SA 2144) that would have directed the administrators of EPA and NOAA to provide state and local educational agencies with “balanced, objective resources on climate theory,” proposed by Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), was withdrawn without a vote on July 15, 2015. Wicker was the sole dissenter to a resolution “that climate change is real and not a hoax” that was before the Senate in 2015, as National Public Radio (January 23, 2015) reported, and among dozens of senators that dissented from a similar amendment that acknowledged human influence on climate change.

Still under consideration is a resolution (SA 2175) that refers to the scientific evidence for human-induced climate change as “overwhelming and undeniable” and holds that “instruction in climate science is important for all students and should not be prohibited by any unit of State or local government.”

“Passage of SA 2175 would put the Senate on record as firmly supporting climate change education,” NCSE’s executive director Ann Reid commented. “I urge you to get in touch with your senators and express your support for the resolution.”

For the three amendments, visit:

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2176

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2144

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2175

For the story in the Washington Post, visit:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/the-specter-of-president-trump-dooms-climate-change-ed-grants/2015/07/15/8a969df2-2b28-11e5-a5ea-cf74396e59ec_story.html

For the story from National Public Radio, visit:

http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/01/23/379242432/senate-says-climate-change-real-but-not-really-our-fault

And for NCSE’s action alert, visit:

http://ncse.com/taking-action/tell-your-senators-support-climate-change-education

DAVID M. RAUP DIES

The paleontologist David M. Raup died on July 9, 2015, at the age of 82, according to a press release from the University of Chicago (July 14, 2015). The press release explains, “Raup was widely known for the new approaches he brought repeatedly to paleontology, such as extensive computation, modern evolutionary biology, theoretical ecology, and mathematical modeling.” Raup was also a pedagogical innovator: Principles of Paleontology (1971, 1978), his textbook coauthored with Steven M. Stanley, focused on paleontological methods rather than adopting a systematic or historical approach. To the public, he was famous for his popular books explaining his views on periodicities in mass extinctions: The Nemesis Affair (1985) and Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck? (1991).

A vivid and candid writer, Raup was often misleadingly quoted by creationists. For example, a supposedly antievolutionary phrase from a 1979 essay of his—“we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transitions than we had in Darwin’s time”—is still in circulation, although in context it is clear that Raup was talking about such evolutionary transitions as driven by natural selection alone; in the same article, he writes, “This record of change pretty clearly demonstrates that evolution has occurred if we define evolution simply as change; but it does not tell us how this change took place, and that is really the question.” Raup contributed a chapter on “The Geological and Paleontological Arguments of Creationism” to Laurie R. Godfrey’s Scientists Confront Creationism (1984), in which he commented, “[Duane] Gish … has popularized the notion that the rocks and the fossils say NO to evolution. As I will show here, the rocks and the fossils say YES to evolution!” Later in his life, Raup was apparently intrigued by the “intelligent design” movement, reportedly having a better opinion of Phillip Johnson’s scholarship than did his colleague Stephen Jay Gould.

Raup was born in Boston on April 24, 1933. He received his B.S. from the University of Chicago in 1953 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University in 1955 and 1957. He taught at Caltech and the John Hopkins University before becoming a professor of geology at the University of Rochester from 1966 to 1978. Returning to Chicago, he was curator of geology from 1978 to 1980 and dean of science from 1980 to 1982 at the Field Museum of Natural History. He also joined the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago in 1980, becoming emeritus in 1995. His honors included the Paleontological Society’s Charles Schuchert Award in 1973, election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1979, and the Paleontological Society Medal in 1995.

For the University of Chicago’s press release, visit:

http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/07/14/david-raup-paleontologist-who-transformed-his-discipline-1933-2015

A PREVIEW OF DIRE PREDICTIONS

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump’s Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change (second edition, DK Publishing, 2015). The preview includes brief chapters on “Taking action in the face of uncertainty,” “Greenhouse gases on the rise,” “How does modern warming differ from past warming trends?” “How to build a climate model,” “How sensitive is the climate?” “The highway to extinction?” “Where do all those emissions come from?” “Geoengineering,” “But what can I do about it?” and “The known unknowns & unknown unknowns.”

The publisher writes, “Dire Predictions is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding global warming and climate change … Updated to include the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dire Predictions dives into the information documented by the IPCC in an illustrated, visually-stunning, and undeniably powerful way.” A member of NCSE’s Advisory Council and a recipient of NCSE’s Friend of the Planet award in 2014, Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University; Kump is Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University.

For the preview of Dire Predictions (PDF), visit:

http://ncse.com/book-excerpt

For information about the book from its publisher, visit:

http://www.dk.com/us/9781465433640-dire-predictions/

Thanks for reading. And don’t forget to visit NCSE’s website— http://ncse.com — where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them.

Sincerely,

 

Glenn Branch

Deputy Director

National Center for Science Education, Inc.

 

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NCSE Evolution and Climate Change Update – 7.10.15

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CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION IN THE SENATE

Climate change education is suddenly under discussion in the United States Senate, the National Journal (July 9, 2015) reports, with the introduction of dueling amendments to a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

A proposed amendment (SA 2144) from Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) would direct the administrators of EPA and NOAA to provide state and local educational agencies with “balanced, objective resources on climate theory,” including material on “the natural causes and cycles of climate change … the uncertainties inherent in climate modeling … and … the myriad factors that influence the climate of the Earth.”

Wicker was the sole dissenter to a sense-of-the-Senate amendment “that climate change is real and not a hoax” that was before the Senate in 2015, as National Public Radio (January 23, 2015) reported, and among dozens of senators that dissented from a similar amendment that acknowledged human influence on climate change. Human influence is conspicuously unmentioned in SA 2144, the new amendment.

“It would be marvelous for educational materials from these agencies to be more widely used in our schools, because those materials of course reflect the scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for recent climate change,” commented NCSE’s executive director Ann Reid. “But I’m concerned that Senator Wicker’s amendment is intended to hijack the federal government’s scientific expertise in the service of climate denial.”

Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced two amendments seemingly to counter Wicker’s. The first (SA 2175) is a sense-of-the-Senate amendment that refers to the scientific evidence for human-induced climate change as “overwhelming and undeniable” and holds that “instruction in climate science is important for all students and should not be prohibited by any unit of State or local government.”

The second of Markey’s proposed amendments (SA 2176) would establish the Climate Change Education Act. Acknowledging the importance of education about climate change “to ensure the future generation of leaders is well-informed about the challenges facing our planet,” the amendment would institute a competitive grant program aimed in part at developing and improving educational material and teacher training on the topic of climate change.

NCSE’s Reid applauded both amendments. “Senator Markey’s sense-of-the-Senate amendment puts the Senate in line with the best science available, which is laudable. But the Climate Change Education Act is simply splendid. It puts the federal government’s money where its mouth is—and where, in a time when the effects of human-induced climate change are becoming more visible and more disruptive, it ought to be.”

According to the National Journal, referring to Wicker’s amendment and Markey’s pair of amendments alike, “It is unclear whether the amendments will see a vote. They are not slated to be taken up when the Senate votes on a series of amendments to the education bill Thursday [i.e., July 9, 2015], but votes will continue next week and the provisions could come up then.” NCSE is monitoring their progress.

“Everyone who cares about the integrity of science education in the United States needs to get in touch with their senators, expressing their opposition to SA 2144 and their support for SA 2175 and SA 2176,” Reid urged.

For the story in the National Journal, visit:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/climate-change-no-child-left-behind-20150709

For the text of the three amendments, visit:

https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2015/07/08/senate-section/article/S4845-1

For the story from National Public Radio, visit:

http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/01/23/379242432/senate-says-climate-change-real-but-not-really-our-fault

And for NCSE’s action alert, visit:

http://ncse.com/taking-action/tell-your-senators-support-climate-change-education

 

Thanks for reading. And don’t forget to visit NCSE’s website— http://ncse.com — where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them.

Glenn Branch

Deputy Director

National Center for Science Education, Inc.

420 40th Street, Suite 2

Oakland, CA 94609-2509

510-601-7203 x303

fax: 510-601-7204

800-290-6006

branch@ncse.com

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OSTA Meet-ups

Calling all Science Educators! The Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA) is coming to town near you to pilot a new approach to outreach. OSTA Meet-Ups are a great opportunity to collaborate with OSTA members and other science educators from your area to develop resources and gain strategies for science teaching and learning. OSTA Meet-Ups are intended for all teachers K-12.

This year the OSTA Meet-Ups will focus on supporting science educators with implementation of the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science.

In addition to the support provided by OSTA members and fellow science educators, Tiffany Neill, the Director of Science Education from the Oklahoma State Department of Education will be in attendance to support topic groups with their work.

You won’t want to miss this exciting opportunity to connect and collaborate with science educators in Oklahoma!

Sign-up here:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1GH14xt9KkDU2Y6zGAN0GZAZiLPiwYXF3MJ63RjUzNZo/viewform?usp=send_form

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President Obama Honors Outstanding Mathematics and Science Teachers

WASHINGTON, DC — President Obama today named 108 mathematics and science teachers as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. This year’s awardees represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools. The educators will receive their awards at a Washington, DC, event later this summer.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country. The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through 6th grade and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. The awardees named today teach 7th through 12th grade.

Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also are invited to Washington, DC, for an awards ceremony, as well educational and celebratory events, and visits with members of the Administration.

 “These teachers are shaping America’s success through their passion for math and science,” President Obama said. “Their leadership and commitment empower our children to think critically and creatively about science, technology, engineering, and math. The work these teachers are doing in our classrooms today will help ensure that America stays on the cutting edge tomorrow.”

President Obama is strengthening education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields in order to fully harness the promise our Nation’s students. Investing in exemplary teachers like these awardees is vital to inspiring the next generation of explorers and innovators. That’s why President Obama launched the “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which has garnered more than $1 billion in financial and in-kind support for STEM programs. It is also why the President has called for preparing 100,000 excellent science and mathematics teachers over the next decade, leading to the creation of “100kin10,” a coalition of leading corporations, philanthropies, universities, service organizations, and others working to train and retain STEM teachers across the Nation. In addition, the President’s proposed STEM Master Teacher Corps aims to leverage the expertise of some of our nation’s best and brightest teachers in science and mathematics to elevate the teaching of these subjects nationwide.

 The recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are listed below, by state.

To learn more about these extraordinary teachers, please visit: >https://recognition.paemst.org<

Alabama

Marla Hines, Vestavia Hills High School

Sarah Lowman, Tanner High School

 

Alaska

Tasha Barnes, Wendler Middle School

Russell Walker, Romig Middle School

Arizona

Shannon Mann, Osborn Middle School

Marni Landry, Paradise Valley High School

Arkansas

Brian Leonard, Lake Hamilton High School

Amanda Jones, Poyen High School

California

Marianne Chowning-Dray, Eastside College Preparatory School

Scott Holloway, Westlake High School

Colorado

Kirstin Oseth, Cheyenne Mountain Junior High School

Mark Paricio, Smoky Hill High School

Connecticut

Jacqueline Corricelli, Conard High School

Joshua Steffenson, Glastonbury High School

Delaware

Kristin Carmen, Sussex Technical High School

Christopher Havrilla, Woodbridge High School

District of Columbia

Aris Pangilinan, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School

Florentia Spires, The Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science

Department of Defense Education Activity

Ryan Goodfellow, Vilseck American High School

Jennifer Wilson, Andersen Middle School

Florida

Robin O’Brien, Seminole Ridge Community High School

Carlos Montero, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School

Georgia

Valerie Jones, Ron Clark Academy

Pauline Henry, Luke Garrett Middle School

Hawaii

Amy Yonashiro, ‘Iolani School

Erin Flynn, Sacred Hearts Academy

Idaho

Ramey Uriarte, Heritage Middle School

Melyssa Ferro, Syringa Middle School

Illinois

Darshan Jain, Adlai E. Stevenson High School

Rebecca Vieyra, Cary-Grove High School

Indiana

Melissa Colonis, Lafayette Tecumseh Junior High School

Liviu Haiducu, Avon Advanced Learning Center

Iowa

Allysen Lovstuen, Decorah High School

Brian Reece, Central Academy

Kansas

Patrick Flynn, Olathe East High School

Jeremi Wonch, Indian Trail Middle School

Kentucky

Robyn Morris, East Oldham Middle School

Andrew Kemp, Louisville Male High School

Louisiana

Lerri Cockrell, David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy

Michael Simoneaux, Dutchtown High School

Maine

William O’Brien, Camden Hills Regional High School

Lisa McLellan, Windham High School

Maryland

Julie Harp, Easton High School

James Schafer, Montgomery Blair High School

Massachusetts

Suzanne Kubik, Middleboro High School

Susannah Cowden, Roxbury Preparatory Charter School

Michigan

Luke Wilcox, East Kentwood High School

Walter Erhardt, Battle Creek Area Mathematics and Science Center

Minnesota

Leif Carlson, Jefferson Community School

Peter Bohacek, Henry Sibley High School

Mississippi

Jenny Simmons, Saltillo High School

Betsy Sullivan, Madison Central High School

Missouri

Ruth Knop, Parkway West Senior High School

Kathleen Dwyer, Maplewood Richmond Heights High School

Montana

Daniel Bartsch, Billings Senior High School

David McDonald, Sidney High School

Nebraska

Shelby Aaberg, Scottsbluff High School

Angela Bergman, Westside High School

Nevada

Carrie Hair, Darrell C. Swope Middle School – Gifted and Talented Magnet

Jan Hrindo, Incline Middle School

New Hampshire

Stephanie Burke, West Running Brook Middle School

Jennifer Deenik, Souhegan High School

New Jersey

Kathleen Carter, North Hunterdon High School

Michael Lawrence, West Orange High School

New Mexico

Marco Martínez-Leandro, Highland High School

Karen Temple-Beamish, Albuquerque Academy

New York

Patrick Honner, Brooklyn Technical High School

Chance Nalley, Horace Mann School

North Carolina

Julie Riggins, East Forsyth High School

Jeffrey Milbourne, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

North Dakota

Cynthia Nelson, Grand Forks Central High School

Scott Johnson, Century High School

Ohio

Karma Vince, McCord Junior High School

Christopher Monsour, Columbian High School

Oklahoma

Mark Thomas, Stillwater High School (Math)

Sarah Vann, Owasso Eighth Grade Center (Science)

Oregon

Mona Schraer, Grant High School

Bradford Hill, Southridge High School

Pennsylvania

Susan Higley, Hughesville Junior/Senior High School

Derrick Wood, Conestoga High School

Puerto Rico

Eric Figueroa, University Gardens High School

Maria Vicenty, Central High School of Visual Arts

Rhode Island

Michelle Way DaSilva, Kickemuit Middle School

Erin Escher, Portsmouth Middle School

South Carolina

Brooke Lance, Lakeside Middle School

Joseph Parker, McCants Middle School

South Dakota

Lindsey Brewer, Huron High School

Janet Wagner, Bon Homme School

Tennessee

Micahel Brown, Montgomery Central High School

Pierre Jackson, Middle College High School

Texas

Jessica Caviness, Coppell High School

Michalle McCallister, Robert G. Cole Middle and High school

U.S. Territories

Nneka Howard-Sibilly, Charlotte Amalie High School

Shamika Williams-Henley, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School

Utah

Nathan Auck, Horizonte Instruction and Training Center

Andrew Neilson, Logan High School

Vermont

Susan Abrams, Montpelier High School

Stewart Williamson, Peoples Academy High School

Virginia

Melanie Pruett, Bailey Bridge Middle School

Anne Moore, Robious Middle School

Washington

Michael Conklin, University High School

Gretel von Bargen, Skyline High School

West Virginia

Pete Karpyk, Weir High School

Eric Kincaid, Morgantown High School

Wisconsin

Corey Andreasen, North High School

Scott Hertting, Neenah High School

Wyoming

Kim Parfitt, Cheyenne Central High School

Thomas Smith, Dean Morgan Junior High School

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NCSE Weekly Update: 6.12.15

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THE CLERGY CLIMATE LETTER

Over one hundred clergy—including leaders of Christian, Jewish, Unitarian, and Humanist groups—have endorsed a new Clergy Climate Letter. The letter, modeled roughly on the pro-evolution Clergy Letter Project (which boasts over 13,000 clergy), was vetted by leaders from many denominations. The initial signers come from twenty-six states and four countries. The letter reads:

We, the undersigned clergy and leaders from diverse denominations and philosophical traditions, believe that the scientific consensus about human-caused climate change demands response on the part of the communities we serve. Concern for our fellow humans and for the countless members of our global ecosystem—whether we call it “creation care,” “stewardship,” or by some other name—is common to all our traditions.

As leaders within our religious and ethical communities, we believe that the teachings and ideas that guide our actions comfortably coexist with the discoveries of modern science. Human-caused climate change is a scientific truth that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny. Our beliefs and traditions compel us to accept the scientific truth and resist efforts to obscure or deny it. Humanity is conducting an unprecedented and possibly irreversible experiment on our planet, and our descendants will be living with the consequences of this experiment for centuries to come. Scientific knowledge and our faiths and philosophies can work together to heal this world.

Ann Reid, NCSE’s executive director, explained: “The National Center for Science Education has always worked across religious boundaries to build support for science and science education, and this project is no different. Climate change is a scientific matter, but clearly raises profound spiritual and moral questions. This letter’s signers can be a vital resource for people trying to understand the implications of the science for their own lives.” Clergy who support the letter are encouraged to register their endorsement at clergyclimate.org.

For information about the Clergy Climate Letter, visit:

http://clergyclimate.org/

KANSAS ANSWERS COPE AGAIN

“Kansas education officials deny standards they adopted for teaching of science in public schools endorse what critics say is … ‘a non-theistic religious Worldview,’” reports the Topeka Capital-Journal (June 8, 2015), discussing a brief submitted by the defendants-appellees in COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al.

As NCSE previously reported, after the Kansas state board of education voted to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards in June 2013, a lawsuit attempting to undo the decision was filed, alleging that the NGSS “will have the effect of causing Kansas public schools to establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview.”

The lead plaintiff is COPE, Citizens for Objective Public Education, a relatively new creationist organization founded in 2012. But its leaders and attorneys include people familiar from previous attacks on evolution education across the country, such as John H. Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network.

In December 2014, the lawsuit was dismissed, largely because the plaintiffs lacked standing to assert any of their claims, failing to establish any of the three relevant requirements for standing: injury, causation, and addressability. But COPE swiftly appealed the dismissal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

In its brief, filed on March 20, 2015, COPE contended that the dismissal was erroneous because it failed to take into consideration all alleged injuries, to recognize that the injuries were particularized, concrete, and imminent, and to comport with controlling legal precedents from the Tenth Circuit and the Supreme Court.

In their brief, filed on June 8, 2015, the defendants-appellees primarily focused on the issues of standing, but pointedly insisted, “Contrary to Plaintiffs’ claims, the Science Standards do not address religious questions such as the existence of a god or gods … Plaintiff’s description of the Science Standards as ‘atheistic’ is a gross mischaracterization.”

For the story in the Topeka Capital-Journal, visit:

http://cjonline.com/news/2015-06-08/kansas-education-board-defends-science-standards-performance-expectations

For NCSE’s collection of documents from the case, visit:

http://ncse.com/legal/cope-v-kansas-state-boe

And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events in Kansas, visit:

http://ncse.com/news/kansas

Thanks for reading. And don’t forget to visit NCSE’s website— http://ncse.com — where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them.

Sincerely,

Glenn Branch

Deputy Director

National Center for Science Education, Inc.

branch@ncse.com

http://ncse.com

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Amazon from A to Z: Anacondas to Zebra Butterflies

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Amazon from A to Z: Anacondas to Zebra Butterflies

 A Field Based Workshop in the Peruvian Amazon for Interpreters,
Naturalists, and Informal Educators
Space is limited, so reserve early! 
Visit http://www.amazonworkshops.com/2016/amazoninterp

DOWNLOAD COMPLETE SYLLABUS!

Dates: January 15 to 24, 2016  door-to-door
Program Fees:  $2195 land only
Airfare from the US to Iquitos Peru: $1200 (estimate)

Additional Costs to Consider:
Flights to Iquitos via Lima, Peru or Miami, Florida
Hotel Accommodations in Lima or Miami
Optional Extension to Machu Picchu
(See Travel Information section below for more info)

Download Registration Form.  A $400 Deposit reserves your place.
(An additional 3% processing fee will be charged for balances paid by credit card.)

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AP Biology Teacher Academy

NABT and BSCS in partnership with HHMI 

AP Biology Teacher Academy

Engage, Invigorate, Transform

The Academy is open to teachers of all biology courses. 

Registration is not limited to only those teaching AP courses.

Join leaders in biology education to

·         Focus on integrating the science practices (College Board/NGSS)

  • Strengthen how you teach AP Biology so students learn more meaningful biology and are more interested in studying biology in the future
  • Use the practices of science to help students learn big ideas and unifying concepts of biology

·         Practice scaffolding levels of inquiry into your courses

  • Analyze and enhance your current curriculum materials to better reflect the new Framework
  • Learn to use formative and summative assessment information to examine what your students understand
  • Develop a network of fellow biology teachers that supports excellence in biology teaching

Registration fee includes NABT Membership, choice of membership in CBTA, KABT or OSTA, lunch daily, opening reception, and closing dinner.

Dates: July 6-11, 2015

Location: BSCS Colorado Springs, CO

Registration: Early Bird (until 5/31) $500, Regular $550  Group rates available for multiple registrants (3+) from the same district/school

Find additional information here

Register here

Contact Cindy Gay with questions.

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NCSE Weekly Update: 5-8-15

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ANTISCIENCE LEGISLATION IN ALABAMA

House Bill 592, introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives on April 30, 2015, and referred to the House Committee on Education Policy, would undermine the integrity of science education in the state by encouraging science teachers with idiosyncratic opinions to teach whatever anything they pleased and prevent responsible educational authorities from intervening. Topics identified in the bill as likely to “cause debate and disputation” are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, and human cloning.”

Modeled on Tennessee’s “Monkey Law” enacted in 2012, HB 592 would require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum framework developed by the State Board of Education as it addresses scientific subjects that may cause debate and disputation”; it would prevent such authorities from prohibiting “any teacher of a public school from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of all existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught within the curriculum framework developed by the State Board of Education.”

The bill’s lead sponsor is Mack Butler (R-District 30), who, discussing a different bill of his with Alabama.com (January 21, 2015), commented, “It takes a lot more faith to believe in evolution.” Except for a failed bill to establish a credit-for-creationism scheme in 2012, HB 592 is the first antiscience bill in the Alabama legislature since 2009, when HB 300, the last in a long string of “academic freedom” bills in Alabama, failed to win passage. The legislature will be in session for only eleven more days before adjourning.

For Alabama’s House Bill 592 (PDF), visit:

http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/ALISON/SearchableInstruments/2015RS/PrintFiles/HB592-int.pdf

For the Alabama.com story, visit:

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/01/when_lawmakers_fine_print_land.html

And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events in Alabama, visit:

http://ncse.com/news/alabama

CREATIONISM CONTINUES IN BRITISH FAITH SCHOOLS

“Creationism is still taught in dozens of faith schools [in the United Kingdom] despite Government threats to withdraw their funding,” reports the Telegraph (May 2, 2015), describing the results of a recent investigation by the British Humanist Association.

In September 2014, the Department of Education instituted a ban on the state funding of nurseries (for children 2-4) that promote extremist views. Although the main target of the ban were “nurseries linked to radical mosques or run by Islamic hardliners,” the Telegraph (August 7, 2014) noted, “Nurseries that teach creationism as scientific fact will be ineligible for taxpayer funding, under the new rules.”

Before the ban was instituted, the British Humanist Association identified ninety-one schools of concern. Subsequently, in January 2015, the BHA sent freedom of information requests to local authorities to ascertain whether those schools were still receiving state funds. Only fourteen of the ninety-one schools in fact lost their funding. Fifty-one schools still receiving funding were regarded as likely to be teaching creationism.

The BHA’s Pavan Dhaliwal told the Telegraph, “It is hugely disappointing … to discover that creationist schools have continued to receive state funds since the ban on their doing so came into force” and called on the Department of Education to address the situation.

For the May 2, 2015, story in the Telegraph, visit:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11578432/Creationism-still-taught-in-faith-schools-despite-Government-funding-threat.html

For the British Humanist Association’s press release about its investigation, visit:

https://humanism.org.uk/2015/05/02/bha-reveals-creationist-private-schools-continue-to-receive-state-funds-through-nurseries-despite-government-ban/

For the August 7, 2014, story in the Telegraph, visit:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11020356/Toddlers-at-risk-of-extremism-warns-Education-Secretary.html

And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events outside the United States, visit:

http://ncse.com/news/international

CALIFORNIA STATE PTA RAISES ITS VOICE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION

California State PTA adopted a resolution on climate change and climate change education—entitled “Climate Change is a Children’s Issue”—at its annual convention in Sacramento, California, on May 2, 2015.

Observing that there is broad scientific consensus on climate change and the role of human activity in causing global warming, the resolution  calls for the California State PTA to “urge its units, councils and districts to educate parents on the impact of climate change on children’s health and future welfare” and for school districts to “educate students on climate and energy literacy and human sustainability.”

NCSE’s Minda Berbeco spoke in favor of the resolution, saying, “It is the mission of the California PTA to positively impact the lives of all children and families. By passing this resolution, we are telling our children, their teachers, and their schools that we, as their parents and guardians, are here for them, to support them as they learn how to navigate the challenges ahead and protect their future. I can’t imagine a more important positive impact.”

California State PTA involves nearly one million Californians who support the education and well-being of children in the state. The resolution will be submitted to the National PTA for its consideration.

For the draft text of the resolution (PDF), visit:

http://downloads.capta.org/con/Business_ResolutionB.pdf

And for Voices for Climate Change Education, visit:

http://ncse.com/climate/taking-action/voices-climate-change-education

Thanks for reading. And don’t forget to visit NCSE’s website— http://ncse.com — where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them.

—-

Sincerely,

Glenn Branch

Deputy Director

National Center for Science Education, Inc.

800-290-6006

branch@ncse.com

http://ncse.com

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