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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2015/07/10

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

Climate change education is under debate in the United States Senate.


Climate change education is suddenly under discussion in the United
States Senate, the National Journal (July 9, 2015) reports, with the
introduction of dueling amendments to a bill to reauthorize the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

A proposed amendment (SA 2144) from Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) would
direct the administrators of EPA and NOAA to provide state and local
educational agencies with "balanced, objective resources on climate
theory," including material on "the natural causes and cycles of
climate change ... the uncertainties inherent in climate modeling ...
and ... the myriad factors that influence the climate of the Earth."

Wicker was the sole dissenter to a sense-of-the-Senate amendment "that
climate change is real and not a hoax" that was before the Senate in
2015, as National Public Radio (January 23, 2015) reported, and among
dozens of senators that dissented from a similar amendment that
acknowledged human influence on climate change. Human influence is
conspicuously unmentioned in SA 2144, the new amendment.

"It would be marvelous for educational materials from these agencies
to be more widely used in our schools, because those materials of
course reflect the scientific consensus that humans are largely
responsible for recent climate change," commented NCSE's executive
director Ann Reid. "But I'm concerned that Senator Wicker's amendment
is intended to hijack the federal government's scientific expertise in
the service of climate denial."

Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced two amendments seemingly to
counter Wicker's. The first (SA 2175) is a sense-of-the-Senate
amendment that refers to the scientific evidence for human-induced
climate change as "overwhelming and undeniable" and holds that
"instruction in climate science is important for all students and
should not be prohibited by any unit of State or local government."

The second of Markey's proposed amendments (SA 2176) would establish
the Climate Change Education Act. Acknowledging the importance of
education about climate change "to ensure the future generation of
leaders is well-informed about the challenges facing our planet," the
amendment would institute a competitive grant program aimed in part at
developing and improving educational material and teacher training on
the topic of climate change.

NCSE's Reid applauded both amendments. "Senator Markey's
sense-of-the-Senate amendment puts the Senate in line with the best
science available, which is laudable. But the Climate Change Education
Act is simply splendid. It puts the federal government's money where
its mouth is -- and where, in a time when the effects of human-induced
climate change are becoming more visible and more disruptive, it ought
to be."

According to the National Journal, referring to Wicker's amendment and
Markey's pair of amendments alike, "It is unclear whether the
amendments will see a vote. They are not slated to be taken up when
the Senate votes on a series of amendments to the education bill
Thursday [i.e., July 9, 2015], but votes will continue next week and
the provisions could come up then." NCSE is monitoring their progress.

"Everyone who cares about the integrity of science education in the
United States needs to get in touch with their senators, expressing
their opposition to SA 2144 and their support for SA 2175 and SA
2176," Reid urged.

For the story in the National Journal, visit: 

For the text of the three amendments, visit: 

For the story from National Public Radio, visit: 

And for NCSE's action alert, visit: 


Have you been visiting NCSE's blog, The Science League of America,
recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Eugenie C. Scott wondering whether Kitzmiller might have happened in
West Virginia: 

* Glenn Branch describing a 1925 skit poking fun at Bryan's role in
the Scopes trial: 

* Josh Rosenau discussing the fate of the Neanderthals: 

And much more besides!

For The Science League of America, 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.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x303
fax: 510-601-7204

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