From This Weeks NCSE’s Evolution and Climate Change Update

ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO IN OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma’s Senate Bill 1742 — one of two bills attacking the teaching of evolution and of climate change active in the Oklahoma legislature during 2012 — is dead, having died in committee on March 1, 2012, when a deadline for bills in the senate to be reported from their committees passed. The other bill, House Bill 1551, remains active, having been passed by the House Common Education Committee on February 21, 2012; HB 1551 appears not to have been scheduled for a floor vote in the House yet.

SB 1742 was modeled in part on the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in 2008 as Louisiana Revised Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1; indeed, the bill itself declares, “This act is modeled on a Louisiana law which has not been invalidated by the highest court of the State of Louisiana or a federal district court.” Its sole sponsor was Josh Brecheen (R-District 6), who described a previous legislative effort of his as “requiring every publically funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs.  evolution.”

For NCSE’s previous coverage of events in Oklahoma, visit:

http://ncse.com/news/oklahoma

CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“After many years in which evolution was the most contentious issue in science education, climate change is now the battle du jour in school districts across the country,” the Wall Street Journal (March 11, 2012) reports. And the battle is likely to heighten with the release, expected in April 2012, of a draft of a new set of model science standards based on the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education; global climate change is a component of one of the Framework’s core ideas.

“Most climate experts accept those notions as settled science. But they are still debated by some scientists, helping to fuel conflicts between parents and teachers,” the Wall Street Journal observes, citing recent controversies in Portola Valley, California, and Clifton Park, New York, over the teaching of climate change. NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott told the newspaper that like evolution, climate change is “settled science,” adding, “We shouldn’t fight the culture wars in the high-school classroom.”

States will individually decide whether or not to adopt the new standards. But the Wall Street Journal predicts that “the approach to climate change could be a sticking point for some states,” citing South Dakota’s legislative resolution that climate change should be taught as a “theory rather than a proven fact.” Martin Storksdieck at the National Research Council replied that students would be misled by such a pedagogical approach: “What would be conveyed to them is not how science works—it’s how politics works.”

For the story in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), visit:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304537904577275401501628534.html

For A Framework for K-12 Science Education, visit:

http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13165

For NCSE’s illustrative list of recent controversies over climate

change education, visit:

http://ncse.com/climate/denial/denial-affecting-education

VOICES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION

NCSE is pleased to announce the debut of a new resource in the climate change section of its website: “Voices for climate change education.” Following the model of Voices for Evolution, NCSE’s unique collection of organizational statements endorsing the teaching of evolution, “Voices for climate change education” assembles organizational statements endorsing the teaching of climate change. Included so far are extracts from the National Research Council, the US Global Change Research Program, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Geological Institute, the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, the American Chemical Society, and UNESCO. The full text of these statements will be added in the future.  So will further organizational statements endorsing the teaching of climate change—so if you spot any, be sure to let NCSE know!

For “Voices for climate change education,” visit:

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

For Voices for Evolution, visit:

http://ncse.com/voices

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.

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