"Teaching global warming in a charged political climate"

Photo: Nick Oxford for The Hechinger Report

Melissa Lau, an NCSE Teacher Ambassador from Oklahoma, was highlighted in a story headlined "Teaching global warming in a charged political climate," which appeared in the Hechinger Report (July 6, 2019) and in the Washington Post (July 6, 2019).

"Schools across the United States are wrestling with how to incorporate the study of climate change into the classroom as its proximity and perils grow ever more apparent," the story observed, citing the NCSE/Penn State survey of climate change educators (PDF). NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch commented, "Lots of teachers feel that they don't have the content knowledge or pedagogical know-how to teach climate change effectively."

And "especially in ruby-red Oklahoma" politics plays a factor, including through pushback from parents and legislative attempts to undermine the integrity of science education. "Every year we have to fight one or two bills," Lau explained. But she added, "I don't get the resistance [to teaching about climate change] I got at the beginning of my career because it's getting harder and harder to deny."

The story ended with Lau's describing the need to teach about climate change "compassionately but head on," with the aim of getting students "to understand the severity of it but at the same time leaving them hopeful."

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.