"Dude, does climate change make books swirl around like that? If only I'd learned more at kindergarten."

Shutterstock“Dude, does climate change make books swirl around like that? If only I’d learned more in kindergarten.”

New science education guidelines will formalize the teaching of evolution and climate change in American classrooms. But before they were finalized, recommended global warming lessons were watered down.

We mentioned the draft guidelines last month, noting they are expected to be adopted by the 26 states that helped draft them and that other states might also use them (not Texas, though). The final version of the guidelines was unveiled Tuesday.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

From The Guardian:

[T]he standards appeared considerably shorter than draft versions that had circulated in recent months. Unlike earlier drafts, the final standards do not propose teaching climate change until children are in middle school and high school.

Mario Molina, deputy director at the Alliance for Climate Education, said the experts drafting the guidelines had cut 35% from the sections devoted to climate change, in response to public comments. He did not believe it was political, but was response to a need to compress a great deal of material.

However, he said teachers will now need additional materials and clarifications to teach climate change in detail.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Earlier versions had proposed introducing some aspects of climate change as early as kindergarten.

The standards are also much vaguer about the causes of climate change. An earlier version for primary school students had said explicitly that human activity was a driver of climate change. “It’s not as explicit in terms of the connection between human activities and climate change,” Molina said. …

A spokesman for the Next Generation Science Standards refused to comment on the new guidelines, and hung up on the phone when asked about climate change.

Perhaps most disheartening, one notorious group of climate deniers doesn’t hate the standards. From the Los Angeles Times:

James Taylor of the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based conservative think tank, said the standards aren’t perfect — some positive impacts of climate change should have been included, he said. But they are better than most others, he said.

“They are more balanced and fair than most educational guides I have seen put out by advocacy groups or self-professed science groups,” Taylor said.

If the Heartland Institute — known for its climate denial conferences and its billboards comparing climate-concerned citizens to mass murderers — thinks the standards are “balanced and fair,” watch out.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.