Senate Bill 3074, introduced in the U. S. Senate on June 16, 2016, would, if enacted, authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to establish a climate change education program.
NCSE's archives house a unique trove of material on the creationism/evolution controversy, and we regard it as part of our mission to preserve it for posterity — as well as for occasions such as Kitzmiller v. Dover, where NCSE's archives helped to establish the creationist antecedents of the "intelligent design" movement. And we are beginning to amass a similar trove of material on disputes over climate change education.
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Here are some tips for appearing at school board meetings.
Although most of the battle against creationism has focused on the political and legal battles over textbooks and curriculum development, it is important to remember that public opinion plays a major role in determining the material actually taught in biology classrooms. One inexpensive and effective way to educate the public on the nature of science in general, and evolution in particular, is through the editorial pages. Letters to the editor are widely read, and fundamentalists have long used letter campaigns to push their agenda.
1. In 1968, in Epperson v. Arkansas, the United States Supreme Court invalidated an Arkansas statute that prohibited the teaching of evolution. The Court held the statute unconstitutional on the grounds that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not permit a state to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any particular religious sect or doctrine.
After the Portland, Oregon, board of education adopted a resolution on climate change education that called (PDF) for the elimination of instructional material "that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its root in human activities," NCSE's Josh Rosenau wrote a column for the Portland Tribune (June 2, 2016) to put the resolution in context.
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Many leading scientific and educational groups have expressed support for teaching climate change in college, high school, grade school and informal settings. Here are some of their statements:
What can you do to support climate change education in your local community?
Even with the decreasing importance of print media, letters to the editor of your local newspaper are a good way to help to defend climate change education. Following are a few time-tested principles for writing effective letters to the editor.
A controversy over climate change education may involve a public hearing before policymakers — a meeting of a local school board or of a legislative committee, for example. Following are a few time-tested principles for effectively testifying before policymakers.