Feb 16, 2016 11:40 AM EST
Climate Change Education Not Catching on in Middle, High School Classrooms
A team of researchers aimed to find out how schools are educating young people on climate change and evaluated their coursework.
According to Live Science, the researchers found many students in middle and high school are not learning enough about climate change, and are also learning inaccurate information. At issue with what teachers are telling their students is the root cause of global climate change.
In 2009, 97.4 percent of climate scientists who responded to a survey published by the American Geophysical Union pinned climate change on humans. The new study, published in the journal Science, found 30 percent of teachers in middle and high school taught their students that humans are driving the world's climate upward.
"At least one in three teachers bring climate change denial into the classroom, claiming that many scientists believe climate change is not caused by humans" study co-author Josh Rosenau, programs and policy director at the National Center for Science Education, said in a press release. "Worse, half of the surveyed teachers have allowed students to discuss the supposed 'controversy' over climate change without guiding students to the scientifically supported conclusion."
31 percent do mention humans as a possible cause of climate change, but also include that some research suggests otherwise. 12 percent do not mention humans as the leading cause of climate change. The study also found the majority of teachers spent at least an hour teaching about climate change, though the median amount of time was between one and two hours.
"Not as much as we had hoped, and not enough to provide students a solid grounding in the science. Often, it's only one or two hours in the entire year," study lead author Dr. Eric Plutzer, professor of political science at Penn State, said in the release. "The good news? Few teachers were pressured to avoid teaching about global warming and its causes."
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