NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2017/02/24
(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)
Dear friends of NCSE, Ben Santer appears on Late Night. Victory in South Dakota! NCSE is seeking to hire a Director of Teacher Support. And congratulations are in order for NCSE's Emily Schoerning.
BEN SANTER ON LATE NIGHT Ben Santer, a member of NCSE's board of directors, appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers on February 22, 2017. Asked to comment on the federal government's shift in attitude to the reality of climate change, Santer said, "It feels tough. Imagine, if you will, that you spend your entire life trying to understand one thing, and that thing is the cause of change in the climate system, to the best of your ability. ... And then someone comes and dismisses everything you've understood, all of that scientific understanding, as a hoax, as a conspiracy, as worthless, as a contrived, phony, mess. You have a choice. What do you do with that? You either can retreat to your office, close the door, and be silent -- or you can choose to push back against ignorance, and say, hey, this is not our understanding. We know something about the causes of climate change." Throughout his interview, he consistently recommended the latter reaction, seeing, in the renewed attacks on climate science, a series of teachable moments. A noted climate researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Santer was appearing on Late Night in his capacity as a private citizen. For the video of the interview (starting at about 33:00), visit: http://www.nbc.com/late-night-with-seth-meyers/video/terry-crews-leighton-meester-dr-ben-santer/3471196 SOUTH DAKOTA'S ANTISCIENCE BILL STOPPED South Dakota's Senate Bill 55, which would have empowered science denial in the classroom, was defeated in the House Education Committee on February 22, 2017. A motion to pass the bill was defeated on a 6-9 vote, while a subsequent motion to defer further consideration of the bill to the forty-first legislative day -- effectively killing it -- passed on an 11-4 vote. Among those testifying against the bill were representatives of the state department of education, the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, the School Administrators of South Dakota, the South Dakota Education Association, and Climate Parents, a national movement of parents, grandparents, and families mobilizing for clean energy and climate solutions. In the days before the hearing, there was a groundswell of opposition to the bill, as NCSE previously reported, from both state and national organizations, including scientific, science education, civil liberties, and environmental groups. And a petition organized by Climate Parents garnered almost 1450 signatures from South Dakotans opposed to the bill. The day before the vote, the Associated Press (February 21, 2017) reviewed the controversy over the bill, quoting teachers, parents, and scientists with concerns about SB 55, and citing a letter from Governor Dennis Daugaard in which he told a group of Augustana University professors that he views the bill as unnecessary. A story in the University of South Dakota student newspaper The Volante (February 21, 2017) quoted a state department of education staffer as describing SB 55 as "attempting to fix a problem that doesn't exist" and a number of professors at the university as expressing opposition to the bill -- one describing it as "weasel-worded." SB 55 reads: "No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48." SB 55 was one of four similar bills active in 2017, along with Indiana's Senate Resolution 17, Oklahoma's Senate Bill 393, and Texas's House Bill 1485; South Dakota's was the only of them to have been passed by a chamber of the legislature but is the first of them to die. About seventy such bills have been introduced across the country since 2004. For information about South Dakota's Senate Bill 55 from the legislature, visit: http://www.sdlegislature.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?File=SB55P.htm&Session=2017 For the stories from the Associated Press and The Volante, visit: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_XGR_TEACHING_SCIENCE_SDOL-?SITE=TXADT&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT http://volanteonline.com/2017/02/usd-professors-denounce-recent-science-bill/ And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in South Dakota, visit: https://ncse.com/news/south-dakota HELP WANTED: DIRECTOR OF TEACHER SUPPORT NCSE is seeking to hire a Director of Teacher Support. The full-time position involves overseeing NCSE's current teacher support programs, NCSEteach and Scientist in the Classroom, as well as developing and implementing new programs that provide tangible and practical support to as many science teachers as possible. The Director will also be expected to deepen NCSE’s ongoing relationships with teacher associations, climate change education groups, and the education departments of scientific societies. Further information about duties, qualifications, salary and benefits, and the application process is available from NCSE's job page. For NCSE's job page, visit: https://ncse.com/about/jobs NCSE'S SCHOERNING ELECTED TO NSTA RESEARCH POST Emily Schoerning, NCSE's Director of Community Organizing and Research, was elected as the National Science Teachers Association's Research Division Director. Schoerning is perhaps most familiar for her efforts at community organizing, having overseen the pilot of NCSE's Science Booster Club program in eastern Iowa and, lately, its national expansion, with new clubs starting in ten states. But all along she has been conducting the program also as a research study, in close association with the University of Iowa. She continues to accumulate data, and research studies showing the effects of the program are slated for publication. "Research is a crucial tool for guiding teaching practice," Schoerning wrote in her candidacy statement for the post. "I will work to promote cost-effective, high-impact research, and to make such research accessible and meaningful to classroom teachers." Schoerning will serve a three-year term as NSTA's Research Division Director, from June 2017 to May 2020. For information about NSTA, visit: http://www.nsta.org/ WHAT'S NEW AT NCSE'S BLOG? Have you been visiting NCSE's blog recently? If not, then you've missed: * Glenn Branch discussing creationism and evolution in a new book of quotations: https://ncse.com/blog/2017/02/creationism-evolution-1001-quotations-0018467 For NCSE's blog, visit: http://ncse.com/blog Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them. -- Sincerely, Glenn Branch Deputy Director National Center for Science Education, Inc. 1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600 Oakland CA 94612-2922 510-601-7203 fax 510-788-7971 firstname.lastname@example.org http://ncse.com Check out NCSE's blog: http://ncse.com/blog Read Reports of the NCSE on-line: http://reports.ncse.com Subscribe to NCSE's free weekly e-newsletter: http://groups.google.com/group/ncse-news NCSE is on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/evolution.ncse http://www.youtube.com/NatCen4ScienceEd http://twitter.com/ncse NCSE's work is supported by its members. Join today! http://ncse.com/join