Dear NCSE members and friends of science,
I’m writing in a profound state of shock, as I’m sure you’ll understand. You are no doubt in the same state. For the National Center for Science Education, of course, the election of someone who thinks climate change is a hoax and whose running mate once denounced evolution from the floor of the House of Representatives, is frightening and deeply depressing. It is more than possible that the sweeping Republican triumph at the national level may embolden local efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution and climate change. These are worrying signs for science education.
We have a choice in how we respond. We could certainly get out there and gin up our base with outrage. We’d probably see a spike in donations. But I think that would be a profound mistake. Science offers an opportunity for building bridges. It’s not hard to make the argument that a good science education might be one of the most important tools for bringing hope and opportunity to all those people whose votes for Trump reflect deep concern about their economic future.
But we can only make the case for science if we’re not condescending. We can’t make our case if we send a signal that people who reject evolution and climate change are ignorant and stupid. That’s a stance that just further alienates people.
Fortunately we have another choice. We can continue to support teachers through our teacher network. We can continue to partner graduate students with teachers to bring authentic science to classrooms. And we can expand the NCSE Science Booster Club program, which has been proven to work, even in red country. In just 18 months, Booster Clubs in Iowa have reached over 50,000 people with fun, accessible, and respectful hands-on science activities focused on climate change and evolution. And it’s working.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at this essay on making sure that children’s first encounter with evolution is positive and non-divisive, or this one, on the community energy for science education in a poor, rural, and deeply religious district. And also, perhaps most importantly, this one, about how Science Booster Club activities are actually improving science literacy.
NCSE can make a difference in parts of the country where a difference absolutely has to be made.
But we need your help. Please donate to NCSE today, and help us make sure that every child, in every community, gets a good science education and a hope for a better future.
Let’s get out there and get to work,