Will Schools Be Teaching Science Fact or Science Fiction?
Feb 14, 2012
Should global warming be taught in schools as science fact? As proponents and opponents of the idea clash, the subject certainly seems to be heating up. The debate has even drawn comparisons to those waged over the teaching of evolution. Will cooler heads prevail?
Theory or Fact?
It has largely been proven that burning coal, gas and oil is directly leading to global warming...or has it? Some would say no, and for this reason, it is argued, schools should not teach the subject as hard science. Instead, some suggest that the topic shouldn't be taught at all, or should be taught only as a theoretical situation.
In 2008, Sen. Joe Simitian of California said, 'You can't have a science curriculum that is relevant and current if it doesn't deal with the science behind climate change. This is a phenomenon of global importance and our kids ought to understand the science behind that phenomenon.'
But not everyone is on the senator's side. Despite scientific evidence, many experts do not agree on the specific causes of global warming; some say the science is largely unproven. Some states are acknowledging that a controversy exists, and are demanding that teachings reflect this controversy.
A Cloudy Subject
In 2009, Texas stated that public teachers had to 'present both sides' when discussing climate change. In South Dakota in February 2010, legislators passed a resolution calling for 'balanced learning' when it comes to global warming.
Basically, curricula must stress that climate science, as it is called, is theoretical. Schools must teach the positive effects of carbon dioxide, for instance, rather than simply emphasize its seemingly detrimental effect on the global climate.
In Los Alamitos, California, science teachers are required to present the curriculum about climate change to the school board to show that it is including both sides of the story.
The Forecast for Climate Science
As legislators become more involved, it would seem that there will be no easy solution when it comes to teaching students about what might be causing global warming.
Should the subject be added to science textbooks? Should it be presented as fact? Does teaching the subject not only heighten awareness but alarmism as well?
As the teaching of climate science is relatively new, it can be expected that these issues will continue to be addressed. For now, the forecast for climate science seems to be: partly controversial, with a good chance of debate.
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