Kids don’t always believe in meteorology. Are schools teaching them wrong?

Scientists agree that climate change is real and urgent. But many kids in the US aren’t sure – even those who have experienced the effects. This is what Katie Worth, a former PBS show frontline reporter, discovered while researching her new book. “Non-education“About how schools teach meteorology.

While visiting a science class at Paradise, California, A destructive pursuit In 2018 a forest fire destroyed most of the city, she made a shocking discovery. After their teachers asked them to consider the role of climate change in their lives, many students were unsure of what to write. “It simply came to our notice then. And I don’t know if that will happen. ”

This was not the only amazing discovery. For the book, she tracked down what schools in each state were actually teaching about meteorology and completely rejected the water reduction standards and climate change adopted by some states, as well as the well-funded misinformation campaign run by fossil fuel companies. .

Worth joins us this week to talk about her findings on the AdSerge podcast, as well as to talk about what the best schools are doing to integrate meteorology into the entire curriculum. Listen Apple Podcast, Cloudy, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Or you listen to the podcast anywhere or use the player on this page. Below is an edited sample conversation.

Edsurge: What inspired you to get out of this rabbit hole?

Worth: A few years ago, a colleague and I went to the Marshall Islands to do a project on climate change and a frontline for children. The Marshall Islands is an island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Its average height is only 10 feet above sea level and its highest point is 20 or 30 feet above sea level. So there is not much room for sea level rise. It is possible that in the lifetime of these children, their entire homeland may become desolate. These kids were very fluent in climate change and could speak more officially than the adults I knew.

There was one child in particular who was really into animals. He was 9 years old and he could talk about the effects of climate change not only on his island and the rocks around it, but also on the Arctic and forests and so on. His family was thinking of moving to the US because they wanted a better education. And so of course I wondered, if he went here, what would he learn about climate change?

The book is called “Misdiction”. So I think it’s safe to assume that you don’t get the most promising results from what kids are learning about climate change.

This is a good assumption. I found that there are a lot of kids who are learning weather rejection in the classroom. One-third of teachers report that they tell students that many scientists believe that climate change is natural. And that is clearly a false statement. At this point, we are 100 percent in agreement that climate change is happening and why it is happening. So to tell students otherwise is to mislead them. And it is quite common that children either have the wrong education or they do not learn anything about what is happening in the classroom.

Education is very local in this country. What do you know about those state-to-state, district-to-district differences?

There is a lot of variation in how it is handled in the classroom – class is not an ideologically neutral place when it comes to climate change and meteorology. This type has a red-blue split. Blue states are doing a much better job of teaching their students than red states. There are some red states that are doing really well. But the majority are doing worse than average.

What is the characteristic of “good” condition?

Climate change touches all sciences. You can learn about it in chemistry, biology, earth sciences, and environmental sciences. New Jersey has recently adopted academic standards that purposefully place meteorology in all the different sciences and civics classes, because in addition to being a science problem, the more important question is, ‘What are we going to do about it? ‘

What are the causes of this malpractice?

One of the threads is that children are passively learning about it from adults in their lives and that teachers, of course, reflect the political spectrum of this country. Currently, one of the two major parties in this country is in terms of ideologically extreme climate rejection. People who have this attitude, which is close to half of the people in this country, do not believe in science. And if your teacher doesn’t believe in science, you won’t learn about it in school.

But then there’s another thread – the fossil fuel companies’ intentional campaign and the interest of other money to cast climate skepticism in the classroom against future action. If you can get kids to disbelieve in science, then once they become decision makers they won’t even take action.

What was your decision on how to strengthen climate education in schools?

The state of Washington is conducting a truly incredible program where they are providing professional development seminars for all teachers प्रत्येक every science teacher in the state विशेष especially how to teach climate change. In the first two years, I think they reached out to one in five teachers and now they are expanding beyond just science teachers. Most of the teachers themselves have not learned meteorology in school and are not experts in the subject. Having a really strong professional development around this subject, and helping teachers think about how to teach children about it, is really powerful.

There is also a group called the Alliance for Climate Education, which does a nice assembly where they sing the whole song and dance about climate change and make the kids really excited about it. And then it works backwards in a way because kids go back to class and ask their teachers if they can learn more about it. It goes up from the ground instead of going down from the top.

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