I like the idea of Giving Tuesday—a little, one-day noodge in the middle of the holiday gift-giving spree to think about devoting some of our resources to the causes we hold near and dear. I’ve gotten reminders from many of the organizations I regularly support, and you probably have too. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to ask you for one more gift: to NCSE.
Why give to NCSE?
I’ll give you two reasons:
1. Because what NCSE does is really important.
And, 2. No other organization in the country does what we do.
Lots of people work on science education. STEM education is big these days. Lots of people work on scientific literacy, science communication, improving diversity in science, and more. I’m thankful for all of those people, and NCSE works with many of them. But only NCSE focuses like a laser beam on making sure that what kids learn in science class is science – not creationism, not climate change denial, not false equivalencies or inappropriate debate.
Why is this important? Because sometimes the problem goes way beyond devoting more time to science, or teaching science more effectively, important though those things are. Some topics face extra challenges because casting doubt on scientific evidence—when it is politically or ideologically inconvenient—is unfortunately all too common in our society. And when topics such as climate change and evolution, for which the scientific evidence is overwhelming, become politicized and socially controversial, there are consequences in our classrooms.
For example, school boards, local and state legislators, parents, and others, may demand that “both sides” be taught—but there aren’t two sides to the science. Science standards on these topics may be watered down or eliminated in response to pressure from science deniers. Textbook publishers may succumb to pressure to avoid or dilute coverage that might offend certain constituencies. Teachers end up in the hot seat and find themselves asking: “Should I avoid this topic altogether? Or accommodate the social controversy by presenting the topic as a debate? What if someone complains? Could I be fired?”
Whenever any of these things happen, NCSE is there. Over the decades, NCSE has helped local citizens block scores of attempts to legislate the inclusion of creationism or climate change denial in science class. We have counseled hundreds of students, parents, and teachers when faced with specific problems in their own schools or communities. Often NCSE’s role in resolving these problems is never publicly acknowledged, but rest assured—we are the first place people call for help. Recently, we’ve started going further than waiting for people to call us. We’ve started the NCSEteach network to provide direct support to all science teachers who cover evolution or climate change, and the NCSE Science Booster Club program to empower communities to support their local science programs.
Our goal is simple: we want every science teacher to feel confident and unafraid to give their students the undiluted and unambiguous science education they deserve. Your gift, big or small, will go directly toward meeting that goal. Thanks for visiting ncse.com/donate and helping us defend the integrity of science education.