NSTA issues statement on teaching climate science

NSTA logoThe National Science Teachers Association issued a position statement on the teaching of climate science on September 13, 2018. The statement acknowledges the overwhelming scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change and calls for climate change to be taught "as any other established field of science."

In a September 13, 2018, press release announcing the statement, David Evans, NSTA's executive director, commented, "Now more than ever, we need to give educators the support they need to stand up against pressures from special interests, parents, or their state leaders to teach ideas not based on scientific evidence."

As Education Week observed (September 13, 2018), "this isn't a new position for the NSTA; rather, it's a compilation and reiteration of its beliefs." But NSTA's Evans emphasized the importance of the statement as showing that "the largest organization of science teachers responsible for opinions and policy on science education feels strongly" about the issue.

Among the references cited in the new statement are Mixed Messages (PDF), the top-line report on the NCSE/Penn State survey on climate change education, and NCSE's on-line Voices for Climate Change Education, as well as articles in BioScience and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists coauthored by NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch.

Branch told Inside Climate News (September 13, 2018) that he hoped that the statement would empower teachers. If pressured not to teach climate change properly, he said, a teacher could reply, "I'm a professional ... I have responsibilities to my profession, and my professional organization, the NSTA[,] says this is what I should be doing.'"

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