The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) sent around an email alerting us to things happening here in Michigan regarding climate change. We are putting the text of that here.
Climate change is under attack in a proposed new set of Michigan social studies standards — and now there are new opportunities for you to comment.References to climate change, among other topics, have been removed from a draft of Michigan’s new proposed social studies standards by “a cadre of conservatives,” according to a report from Bridge magazine (June 12, 2018).Particularly salient was the removal of the impact of global climate change as a suggested “Contemporary Investigation Topic” in the standards (PDF, p. 44) for sixth grade, although climate change is still mentioned there as a possible example.According to Bridge, the cadre of conservatives was led by state senator Patrick Colbeck (R-District 7), who previously offered comments on the standards arguing that climate change is “not settled science.”As a result of the controversy around the changes to the draft standards, the comment period has been extended to September 30, and six further public comment sessions at locations around the state have been added.Your help is needed.
- You can comment on the draft standards on-line here. You will be asked for demographic information, then asked a series of questions about the standards, with room for free-form comment. The deadline to comment is now September 30.
- You can attend in-person meetings held by the Michigan Department of Education and express your views there: from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m, in Kalamazoo on August 8, Ann Arbor on August 9, Detroit on September 13, Marquette on September 18, Gaylord on September 19, and Mt. Pleasant on September 20. (Details are here.)
- You can spread the word, by alerting your family, friends, and colleagues to the threat to the integrity of Michigan’s social studies standards, writing letters and op-eds for your local newspapers, and by organizing any professional and civic groups to which you belong to support improvements to the standards. Feel free to circulate this e-mail alert to them or to put people directly in touch with NCSE.We suggest:
- reviewing the revised version of the standards (PDF), paying particular attention to the alterations to the discussion of climate science (G1.1 and G1.2 on p. 39, G6.1 on p. 44, G1.1-G5.2 on pp. 55-58);
- recommending that these apparently politically motivated revisions be ignored and the original language, drafted and reviewed by subject-matter experts from around the state, be retained;
- remarking that Michigan’s state science standards recognize the reality of climate change and acknowledge human impact on climate — the social studies standards should complement, not conflict with, the science standards; and
- offering suggestions to improve anything else that strikes you as problematic or unclear, particularly in your areas of expertise and interest. (Bridge’s article lists a number of noteworthy revisions not related to science.)The more thoughtful, extensive, and documented your comments are, the more likely it is that they will be heeded. Be sure to explain the nature of your expertise, interest, and concern — if you’re a scientist, a teacher, or a parent, for example.Will you take action to defend the teaching of climate science in Michigan’s public schools and encourage others to do so? A generation of students in Michigan is counting on you to stand up for good science education.Many thanks,Glenn Branch, Deputy Director