Reaction to The Heartland Institute’s Climate Change Curriculum

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The Will Steger Foundation Educator Resource Binder

It is quite alarming to learn that The Heartland Institute, a conservative think-tank, is planning to create educational materials that contradict the established science on climate change.

Several of The Heartland Institute’s confidential documents were leaked this week which shows a variety of initiatives to discredit climate science. The Heartland Institute has released a statement declaring that some of the leaked documents are fake, but the planning for this educational initiative is clearly underway.

The documents show a plan to develop a curriculum for teaching about climate change in K-12 schools. Dr. David Wojick, who is not a climate scientist and received his PhD in epistemology, will develop a set of modules on topics he deems to be “controversial” when in fact there is no controversy, Curriculum modules include the role of humans causing climate change (science concludes humans are a major driver of climate change so yes, it is us!); how climate models work (science proves their models are reliable) and if CO2 is an air pollutant (which it is).

Wojick will receive $5,000 per module, with twenty modules produced a year.

James M. Taylor, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute said they are developing the curriculum because “we are concerned that schools are teaching climate change issues in a manner that is not consistent with sound science and that is designed to lead students to the erroneous belief that humans are causing a global warming crisis. We hope that our efforts will restore sound science to climate change education and discourage the political propaganda that too often passes as ‘education’.”

This shows an ever-increasing coordinated effort to undermine the teaching of climate science in U.S. classrooms. According to The Heartland Institute’s documents, this new curriculum will “focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.” So, their goal is to dissuade American teachers from teaching science!

The Heartland Institute is funding an effort to discredit the teaching of climate science in schools. How can that ever be justified or considered democratic, let alone judged to be in students’ best interests?

Further reading:


Blog Update as of February 23:

Dr. Peter Gleick’s admission of being the source of the leaked Heartland documents has stirred up a lengthy debate on the eithics of climate science, education and roles we should play.  Climate Central has been doing a great job of compiling reactions.  They can be read here.


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