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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2018/03/02

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

NCSE is seeking a Director of Communications in the wake of Robert
Luhn's departure. The New York Times relies on NCSE to answer a
question about climate education. Nature looks at the legislation in
Florida. And there's encouraging news from Idaho.


NCSE is seeking to hire a Director of Communications. The full-time
position involves providing the strategic vision for NCSE's external
communications and enhancing the organization's effectiveness by
promoting its work to diverse audiences, including members, the media,
education and scientific communities, local communities, and the
general public. The Director will be responsible for strategic
direction, online communications, media relations, and print
communications. Further information about duties, qualifications,
benefits, and the application process is available from NCSE's job

For NCSE's job page, visit: 


NCSE bids farewell to Robert Luhn, who joined NCSE as its first
Director of Communication in 2008. Bringing his decades of expertise
as a technology and environmental journalist to the job, Luhn was
instrumental in raising NCSE's profile among traditional and new media
and in connecting journalists with NCSE staff. He also oversaw NCSE's
expansion to social media platforms, starting NCSE's Facebook page and
Twitter feed, and converting vast amounts of video for posting on
NCSE's YouTube channel. Much of his work was behind the scenes, and
only occasionally was his wry sense of humor on public display, as in
NCSE's "Don't Diss Darwin" video -- produced in reaction to a
creationist campaign in 2009 to give away a misleadingly edited
version of On the Origin of Species -- which he wrote, produced, and
starred in. All of us at NCSE wish him the best in his new endeavors.

For the "Don't Diss Darwin" video, visit: 


NCSE was featured in Climate Fwd: -- The New York Times's e-newsletter
"with stories and insights about climate change" -- for February 21,
2018: "climate change is presented as a controversial subject in a
significant number of American classrooms, according to research from
the National Center for Science Education."

Responding to a reader question's "How are American schools addressing
climate change?" the e-newsletter relied on the 2016 NCSE/Penn State
survey that surveyed 1500 public middle and high school science
teachers. NCSE's Glenn Branch commented, "They're teaching about
climate change ... but a substantial portion of them are saying it's a

Discussing the importance of climate change to state science
standards, Branch explained, "the districts that do get affected are
going to be the smaller, more rural[,] and more conservative ones,
where the teachers are going to take the pulse of their community and
realize, 'I'm going to get blowback if I teach about climate change.'"

For the article in Climate Fwd:, visit: 

And for NCSE's report of the survey (PDF), visit: 


Florida's House Bill 827 and Senate Bill 1644 -- similar bills that
would make it easier for creationists and climate change deniers to
smuggle instructional materials they favor into public school
classrooms -- were front and center in a recent report (February 23,
2018) in the journal Nature on legislation targeting the integrity of
science education.

"They would make it easier for creationists, climate-change deniers
and -- who knows -- flat-Earthers to pester their local school boards
about their hobbyhorse," NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch was
quoted as saying. He noted that key terms in the bills such as
"balanced" and "noninflammatory" are not defined.

Also mentioned were Florida's House Bill 825 and Senate Bill 966,
which would, if enacted, require "[c]ontroversial theories and
concepts ... [to] be taught in a factual, objective, and balanced
manner," while allowing local school districts to use either the state
science standards or alternatives "equivalent to or more rigorous
than" them.

Here, too, Branch was wary of key but undefined terms in the bills,
noting that "we're not told how to measure rigour" (in comparing
alternative standards to the state science standards), and asking,
"When we teach that the Earth is round, are we imbalanced if we don't
teach that the Earth is flat?"

Both HB 827 and SB 1644 were passed by the education committees of
their respective houses in February 2018; HB 827 is apparently
scheduled for a second reading on the House's calendar, while SB 1644
is in the Senate Rules Committee. Neither HB 825 nor SB 966 has yet
received a hearing in committee.

For the report in Nature, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Florida, visit: 


"After three years of resistance at the GOP-dominated Idaho
Statehouse, including more pushback from House Republicans this
session, the Senate Education Committee voted 6-3 on Thursday to
approve revised school science standards as-is -- with no parts
relating to climate change deleted," reports the Idaho Statesman
(February 22, 2018).

As NCSE previously reported, on February 7, 2018, the House Education
Committee -- which in 2017 removed passages referring to climate
change and human impact on the environment from the then proposed
standards -- deleted a standard referring to climate change as well as
all of the "supporting content" material throughout the standards.

According to the Idaho Statesman, "the Senate panel’s decision on
Thursday nullified the House's move because the science standards were
submitted to lawmakers as a proposed administrative rule and not a
bill. Therefore changes could be enacted only if the panels in both
chambers agreed to them."

For the story in the Idaho Statesman, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Idaho, visit: 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612-2922
fax 510-788-7971 

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