Saturday, September 30, 2017

Portland School Boards Protect Fact-Based Climate Education (Video)

Portland school board is standing up to protect our children's access to the truth about climate change. The GOP has been behind consorted attempts to deny children access to a fact-based climate education. In some cases, educators are all that stand between our kids and Republican lies.

Last winter Idaho Republicans passed legislation that censors all reference to climate. However, teachers like Boise School District’s science curriculum director Chris Taylor vow to keep teaching the facts. "We will continue to teach climate change and investigate human impacts on biodiversity even though they are not mentioned in the standards," Taylor said.

Last spring a school board in Portland banned all classroom materials that cast doubt on climate change. Conservatives who deny the veracity of the science of climate change dismiss it as a theory. However, the unanimous decision by the Portland Public Schools Board requires class materials to present climate change as a fact not a theory. Human activity must also be presented as having a causal role. This applies to all materials purchased by the board.

Conservatives are picking up on the story and trying to suggest that this is some form of censorship or book banning. What they fail to realize is that censoring lies is called telling the truth and this is just what our children deserve.

Republicans are complicit in the sewing of deceit. They have actively sought to prevent our children from having access to the facts. The reason why Republicans are doing this is not only because they are misinformed. They are paid handsomly to be ignorant.

The fossil fuel industry is behind Republican climate subterfuge. Facilitated by the Citizens United ruling the fossil fuel industry pours vast sums of money into Republican campaigns. They use front groups like the Heartland Institute to disseminate pseudo-science designed to prevent kids from getting the facts.

However, people are becoming increasingly aware of the fossil fuel industry's malfeasance. In testimony to the Portland board, former teacher Bill Bigelow, told district officials, "we don't want kids in Portland learning material courtesy of the fossil fuel industry."

Portland Public Schools is also a leader in a number of other ways.  Following the devastating tropical storms in Houston and Miami, Portland Public Schools is leading a community-wide effort to help students, families, and educators to raise money and supplies for recent storm victims.

Portland Public School Board is also a leader in race relations. Long before race relations in the US descended to their current low Portland School Board launched a Critical Race Theory coarse. In 2014 Portland Public Schools teachers participated in a training session for a controversial curriculum. Some of the topics covered in this course include "Racial Identity Models," "The Dominant White Culture," and "Institutionalized Racism" in the United States.


Make sure to see the article titled, "Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources." It contains links to over 350 posts covering everything you need to know about sustainable academics, green school buildings, student eco-initiatives, and college rankings as well as a wide range of related information and resources.


Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics) said...

I'm a scientist and certainly not employed by the fossil fuel or climate industries or "paid handsomely to be ignorant." I have a Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate in Physics, all from the University of Chicago. My primary interest in the climate debate is that science survive the onslaught of political interference.

When those who are profoundly ignorant of climate science and science in general (such as those on the Portland School Board) try to pass their ignorance onto future generations by dictating that science has to be taught as they see fit, it is time for real scientists to speak up.

"Global Warming" is one of the most controversial topics in science and one that provides all sorts of real opportunities for teachers to teach students how to think. Merely teaching them what to think is very backward. It is in fact reminiscent of the attempts to teach an "old-time religion" in place of Evolution nearly a century ago.

Children need to learn that science is not a popularity contest or even one based on authority. As the great physicist Richard Feynman said, "Science is a belief in the ignorance of the experts." Science is all about logic and evidence. Real scientists with real training love to discuss how we know that certain things are true and how we know others are not. If students only learn the political talking points that their elders want them to learn, they will never become competent scientists. They MUST learn how to think for themselves.

The climate controversy provides a great way for students to learn to think for themselves. For instance, some are saying that the two recent Category 4 hurricanes to strike the USA were unusual. Only about once in 50 years do we get two massive strikes in a single hurricane season. That happened in 1954 with Hurricanes Hazel and Carol. But only about once in more than 500 years do we go 12 years without a major hurricane making landfall in the USA, as we did from 2005 to 2017.

2005 was the year when we saw the greatest "Accumulated Cyclone Energy" at 250, but 1950 and 1893 were close behind at 243 and 231 respectively. And 1950 had the most hurricanes on record. As to deaths, the Category 4 'Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900' took 8,000 to 12,000 lives.

So what should a student conclude from all of this? First of all, hurricanes are cyclical, with far more occurring in some decades than others. Every hurricane is unique but massively destructive hurricanes have been observed since records have been kept. While there is a strong correlation with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (an ocean cycle), there is no correlation with rising atmospheric CO2.

Students who are merely taught that massive hurricanes are the result of carbon dioxide and 'Global Warming' miss the real science entirely.

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Corbett, Oregon USA

Richard Matthews said...

If you are advocating an evidence based review then I agree. If you are suggesting that climate denial be presented as a co-equal to anthropgenic climate change than you are not respecting the evidence.