‘Don’t Say Climate Change!’–New Mexico Considers Revising School Science Standards (Video)

There is an all-out assault on climate science in America today.

From state governments all the way up to the Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the gears of censorship are running on all cylinders so the average citizen will not have to hear any mention of two words associated with the most existential threat facing humanity: climate change.

And what better way to make disinformation permanent than by institutionalizing it in our schools.

That way, climate deniers can continue labeling climate change a “hoax.”

It’s happening.

18 states, the District of Columbia, and the National Academy of Sciences developed the Next Generation Science Standards.

However, New Mexico Public Education Department’s science curriculum proposed alterations to those standards to lead students to doubt climate change’s overwhelming scientific consensus.

Some revisions replace references to “rise in global temperatures” with “fluctuations,” and promulgate the benefits of New Mexico’s oil and gas industry instead of the truth about fossil fuels’ role in environmental destruction.

During a hearing at the state capitol in Santa Fe last month, professor and chairman of the biology department at the University of New Mexico, William Pockman, said:

“They delete or diminish key concepts. Students trained to these standards may not be ready to keep up with their peers from states following more rigorous standards.”

Pockman presented a letter nearly 150 faculty members and department heads from the University of New Mexico signed criticizing the standards.

Also at the hearing was Melissa DeLaerentis, coordinator of a math and science learning center for Las Cruces Public Schools.

She said:

“I am appalled that the state of New Mexico would choose to disregard research-based standards in place of politically motivated and scientifically inaccurate information. By excluding scientific facts, educators would be asked to purposefully obstruct preparation for college, careers.”

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Los Alamos and Santa Fe school districts also oppose the revised standards.

Not at the hearing was Public Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski.

In a statement, he said the standards would give teachers and families “flexibility and local control around science materials, curriculum and content.”

Citing a need to keep the names of those consulted confidential, the Public Education Department refuses to name anyone behind the standards’ revisions.

The revisions’ opponents, though, fear the oil and gas industry might have something to do with them.

If approved, the new standards would be implemented by July; however, the education department has not stated if it will accept them. Some educators doubt the department would even have the money to do so.

But New Mexico is not the only state looking askance at climate change education.

The Idaho House Education Committee voted in February to approve new standards that reject references to climate change and humans’ role in it.

The ensuing backlash lead the Idaho education committee to consider reinserting climate science language, though its updated proposal urges students to merely “go and look at the evidence” to draw their own conclusions.

Also in February, the conservative and libertarian public policy think tank the Heartland Institute mailed educators across the country 25,000 packages that included the book Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming, a DVD contradicting the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, and a cover letter from Lennie Jarratt, Heartland’s Center for Transforming Education project manager, encouraging teachers to “consider the possibility” that climate science is still unsettled.

Of the Heartland campaign, the National Center for Science Education’s executive director Ann Reid, said:

“It’s not science, but it’s dressed up to look like science. It’s clearly intended to confuse teachers.”

Last week we saw the release of the fourth National Climate Assessment, which confirms what scientists have been warning us about for decades: human activity is the primary cause of global warming, and dire consequences like sea level rise of eight feet by century’s end and more catastrophic weather are guaranteed if we fail to act accordingly.

Acting accordingly means teaching students the truth.

Updates to this development are contained in the video below.

Image credit: twincitiesbusinessradio.com

 

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About Ted Millar

Ted Millar is parent, poet, and teacher. His poetry has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Liberal Nation Rising and SEIU Faculty Forward.

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