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NCSE newsletter

December 16th, 2017 · No Comments

Dear friends of NCSE,

A new poll confirms the conventional wisdom on the relationship
between acceptance of climate change and political views in the United
States, while a new report suggests that the public is funding science
miseducation in private schools.

A NEW POLL ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND POLITICAL VIEWS

A new report from the Yale Program on Climate Communication offers new
data on Americans’ beliefs and attitudes about climate change, with a
particular emphasis on the influence of political views.

Asked “Do you think that global warming is happening?” 72% of
registered voters responding answered yes, 12% answered no, and 15%
answered don’t know. According to the full report, those answering yes
included “97% of liberal Democrats, 89% of moderate/conservative
Democrats and 63% of liberal/moderate Republicans, but only 37% of
conservative Republicans. Belief that global warming is happening has
declined among Republicans since the 2016 election.”

Presented with “Assuming global warming is happening, do you think it
is …” and asked to complete the sentence, 54% of registered voters
responding preferred “Caused mostly by human activities,” 33%
preferred “Caused mostly by natural changes in the environment,” 6%
volunteered “Caused by both human activities and natural changes,” and
5% preferred “Neither because global warming isn’t happening.” Opinion
was politically divided, with a majority of Democrats but a minority
of Republicans accepting human responsibility.

Presented with “Schools should teach our children about the causes,
consequences, and potential solutions to global warming,” 79% of
registered voters responding agreed (41% strongly, 38% somewhat) and
21% disagreed (10% somewhat, 11% strongly). Agreement was the majority
position among all political positions, except for conservative
Republicans, who split about evenly between agreement (49%) and
disagreement (50%); liberal and moderate/conservative Democrats were
almost unanimous in agreement (97% and 95%).

The data were based on a nationally representative survey of 1,304
American adults, aged 18 and older, 1109 of whom who were registered
to vote. The survey was conducted October 20-November 1, 2017. The
average margin of error for the full sample and the registered voter
subset was +/- 3%.

For a press release about and the full report (PDF) of the survey, visit:

Politics & Global Warming, October 2017


http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Global-Warming-Policy-Politics-October-2017.pdf

And for NCSE’s collection of polls and surveys on climate change, visit:
https://ncse.com/library-resource/polls-climate-change

PUBLICLY FUNDED SCIENCE MISEDUCATION IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS?

A new study suggests that textbooks that miseducate students about
evolution and climate change may be in wide use in private schools
that receive public funding through voucher or tax-credit schemes,
according to Rebecca Klein in a lengthy article in the Huffington Post
(December 7, 2017).

In researching the article, Klein explains, she and her colleagues
focused on the 42% of the 8000-odd schools participating in private
school choice programs that identify as Christian but not Catholic
(“since there is already a large body of research on the outcomes of
students who go to [Catholic] schools”).

By searching those schools’ websites and e-mailing their
administrators, they ascertained that “many of the non-Catholic
Christian schools (32 percent) were using Abeka, Bob Jones [University
Press,] or ACE [Accelerated Christian Education] textbooks in at least
one subject or grade,” with Abeka the most and ACE the least popular.

“The ideas in these textbooks often flout widely accepted science and
historical fact,” Klein observed. Creationism and climate change
denial are among those ideas: a former student told the Huffington
Post that she was told that climate change was a hoax, and the article
quotes an ACE textbook as claiming that evolution “has no real
scientific basis.”

Similar studies and critiques of the materials used in Christian
schools participating in private school choice programs have been
offered before, e.g., by Zack Kopplin writing about the Responsive
Education Solutions charter school system — which, he alleged, was
connected with ACE — in Slate in 2014.

“It is difficult to ascertain exactly how many students use taxpayer
funds to attend schools with evangelical curricula,” Klein wrote, “but
we do know that over 400,000 students nationwide currently attend
school using money from a voucher or tax credit program, according to
the education reform group EdChoice.”

For Rebecca Klein’s article in the Huffington Post, visit:
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/school-voucher-evangelical-education-betsy-devos_us_5a021962e4b04e96f0c6093c

And for Zack Kopplin’s article in Slate, visit:
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/01/creationism_in_texas_public_schools_undermining_the_charter_movement.html

WHAT’S NEW AT NCSE’S BLOG?

Have you been visiting NCSE’s blog recently? If not, then you’ve missed:

* Brad Hoge discussing how teachers can use extreme weather events as
teachable moments:
https://ncse.com/blog/2017/12/hurricane-tales-how-teachers-teach-extreme-weather-events-part-1-0018639
https://ncse.com/blog/2017/12/hurricane-tales-how-teachers-teach-extreme-weather-events-part-2-0018643

For NCSE’s blog, visit:
http://ncse.com/blog

Thanks for reading. And don’t forget to visit NCSE’s website —
http://ncse.com — where you can always find the latest news on
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


Sincerely,

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612-2922
510-601-7203
fax 510-788-7971
branch@ncse.com
http://ncse.com

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