NSTA poll on climate change education

Challenges to climate change education are common in the classroom, according to a poll of science educators conducted by the National Science Teachers Association. Although 60% of respondents to the on-line poll reported that they were not concerned about how climate change is taught in their school, 82% reported having faced skepticism about climate change and climate change education from students, 54% reported having faced such skepticism from parents, and 26% reported having faced such skepticism from administrators.

The NSTA poll also invited respondents to describe their particular concerns about how climate change is taught in their school, list specific barriers and challenges teaching climate change, and explain how they have altered their pedagogical strategies in response to criticism or skepticism about climate change; a sampling from their responses — including comments from teachers who accept, are agnostic about, and reject the idea of climate change — appears in NSTA's article (November 7, 2011) describing the poll.

NSTA's poll was informally conducted among its members, however, as was a similar survey conducted among the members of National Earth Sciences Teachers Association in 2011. (NESTA's report on its survey is expected to be published in November 2011. As NCSE previously reported, NESTA's executive director Roberta Johnson told Science, "Evolution is still the big one, but climate change is catching up.") A rigorous survey of the prevalence and nature of climate change skepticism in the classroom apparently remains to be performed.

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