Misinformed US Science Teachers Teach Climate Science to Students

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By Marzia Rahman

According to an article on takepart.com written by Taylor Hill on February 11, 60 percent of science teachers in the United States do not know enough scientifically accurate information regarding climate change and climate science.

The article, titled “Two-Thirds of America’s Science Teachers are Misinformed about Climate Science,” states that according to a nationwide survey of about 1500 middle and high school science teachers, a large majority of teachers fail to educate students on climate change with scientifically accurate information.

The nationwide survey is described in the journal Science as a paper titled “Climate confusion among US teachers” published in the current February issue.

According to Science, the results of the study found that teachers often devoted one to two hours of instructional time towards climate science, which happens to contradict current teaching standards from “leading science and education bodies.”

The paper also states that even though more than 95 percent of active climate scientists have a consensus that humans are causing the recent and current global warming, only a third of teachers stress the same thing to students. In fact, about half of science teachers neglect the topic altogether.

Researchers of the study surmise that perhaps teachers are trying to represent “both sides” of the issue and have formulated three possible explanations of such behavior.

The first possible reason is that teachers are under pressure by parents, leaders of the community and administrators of the school to not inform students on climate change.

The second possible explanation is that science teachers may lack adequate knowledge about the copious amounts of evidence for how the model of climate change functions.

The third reason is that teachers may be largely unsuspecting of the extent of scientific consensus on climate change.

The study stated, “When asked ‘what proportion of climate scientists think that global warming is caused mostly by human activities?’—Only 30% of middle-school and 45% of high-school science teachers selected the correct option of ‘81 to 100%’.”

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This article was written by a previous member of the Vector Staff, a member of the Vector who does not have staff privileges, or by multiple authors. Author credentials are given at the bottom of the article.

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