cover image Miseducation: How Climate Change Is Taught in America

Miseducation: How Climate Change Is Taught in America

Katie Worth. Columbia Global Reports, $16 trade paper (184p) ISBN 978-1-7359136-4-3

Journalist Worth debuts with a striking look at how climate change is taught in American primary and secondary schools. Despite overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is “real, it’s us, it’s bad, and there’s hope,” she writes, the country has developed a system in which “children in some places are required by law to learn about the phenomenon... while in others, students may not hear the words ‘climate change’ in class at all.” Worth traces the history of the tensions between science and religious fundamentalism back to the controversy engendered by Darwin’s theory of evolution. In the present, textbook publishers eager to avoid upsetting school boards elide or omit climate change, and state standards rarely require coverage. Meanwhile, she notes, wealthy energy companies borrow from the tobacco industry playbook by funding “educational” materials that downplay or equivocate on the scope of the threat. Worth makes powerful use of anecdotes, as with one student who lost his home to a forest fire, but doesn’t believe climate change is real. There are no easy solutions here (though she does briefly outline the bare minimum that scientists say children should learn), but the author’s illumination of the issue digs deep. Policymakers and educators alike will find much to consider. (Nov.)