by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There is nothing wrong, in principle, with teaching schoolchildren the theory behind climate change, discussing the extent of climate change and the effect it may be having on the environment, the extent to which those changes are over or understated, what could or should be done (or not done) in response and so on.
Somehow, I don’t think that’s what Connecticut has in mind.
“Starting next July, Connecticut will become one of the first states in America to mandate climate change studies across its public schools as part of its science curriculum.”
“The new law passed earlier this year comes as part of the state’s attempts to address concerns over the short duration – and in some cases, absence – of climate change studies in classrooms.” …
… So (at least as the Guardian describes Connecticut’s scheme) children must be protected from the “wrong” sort of opinions about the climate.
I wonder what sort of marks will be handed out to the student who comes out with a carefully reasoned argument suggesting that current climate orthodoxies (particularly, perhaps, those relating to policy options) are unsound.
Well, when I say “wonder,” that’s an exaggeration.
Much of this change to the curriculum is due to the efforts of Connecticut State Representative Christine Palm.
“The conservative turn in our country … often starts at a very hyper-local level of local town boards of education. There is this push towards anti-intellectualism, anti-science … anti-reason, and I didn’t want local boards of education to have the power to overturn the curriculum and say, ‘climate change is too political.’” …
… “We absolutely have got to face it head on, and it starts when children are very young. We need to arm them with the tools to be part of a solution to a problem they had no hand in creating.”
That last sentence sounds to me uncomfortably like a mission to indoctrinate, not educate.