CLEAN Teleconference Call October 2, 2018

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Provenance: Daniela Pennycook, University of Colorado at Boulder
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NSTA Position Statement Authors (Frank Niepold, Don Haas, Eric Pyle, Cheryl Manning) - Confronts Challenges of Teaching Climate Change in Nation's Science Classrooms.

Abstract: On September 13, 2018, in the midst of increasing efforts to undermine science education and misinform the public about climate change, the National Science Teachers Association has issued a position statement calling for greater support for science educators in teaching evidence-based science, including climate science and climate change. The statement promotes the teaching of climate change as any other established field of science and calls on teachers to reject pressures to eliminate or de-emphasize climate-based science concepts in science instruction. The statement acknowledges the decades of research and overwhelming scientific consensus indicating with increasing certainty that Earth's climate is changing, largely due to human impacts. It also establishes that any controversies regarding climate change and its causes that are based on social, economic, or political arguments and not scientific evidence should not be part of a science curriculum.

The statement provides specific recommendations for the various stakeholders, school and district administrators, policy makers, parents, and others to help educators succeed in teaching quality science in the classroom. A few of the recommendations include providing full support to teachers in the event of community-based conflict, ensuring that instructional materials considered for adoption are based on both recognized practices and contemporary, scientifically accurate data; ensuring the use of evidence-based scientific information when addressing climate science and climate change in all parts of the school curriculum, such as social studies, mathematics, and reading; and supporting student learning of science at home. The imperative for teaching climate change science can be seen in state science education standards based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC 2011), which recommends foundational climate change science concepts be included as part of a high-quality K-12 science education. Many states have adopted the standards based on the Framework and are implementing them in classrooms around the country.

The statement was developed by a team of science educators, scientists, and other education experts, and adopted by the NSTA Board of Directors. According to Eric Pyle, a professor in the Department of Geology & Environmental Science at James Madison University and chair of the NSTA position statement panel, "teaching the science of climate and climate change in school lays a foundation for future citizens who will need to become resilient in the face of challenges posed by human impacts on the environment in general and the climate in particular. It is our professional and moral obligation as educators to prepare them for these challenges." Several members of the team that developed the position statement are members of the CLEAN Network.

The position statement and other climate science resources can be found at Read a Q&A with position statement panel members.

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CLEAN CollectionTeaching about Climate and Energy