I have been following the controversy over science content standards for West Virginia schools with a great deal of interest. And it seems clear that one side of this argument wants to use the school system to indoctrinate our children while the other side wants to pursue true scientific inquiry. As the parent of two children in the West Virginia public schools, I am firmly opposed to the use of our school curriculum as a means to push propaganda as science.
State board member Wade Linger has been vilified by the left wing and its supporters in the media. He and fellow board member Tom Campbell have been accused of turning their backs on science but the reality is that it is their critics who are guilty of the very things Linger and Campbell are accused of – trying to stifle dissent and impose their political beliefs as “scientific fact.”
Let’s look at the three standards, the versions Linger and Campbell proposed and compare them to the versions being pushed by the radical left.
Here’s the first standard:Linger/Campbell Version
S.6.ESS.6 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise and fall in global temperature over the past century.
Left-Wing Environmentalist Version
S.6.ESS.6 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.Now, the Linger/Campbell version in no way limits the discussion. It includes exploration of ALL potential factors and their consequences. All it does do is include – as recent science has shown is fact – discussion of why there has been a recent leveling off of the warming trend and perhaps even a slight cooling over the past 20 years.
The version pushed by the radical environmentalists and leftists limits discussion to the “rise” of global temperatures, effectively stifling any discussion of recent evidence that brings those assumptions into doubt. In essence, it is a “our way or the highway” approach to science.Now, let’s look at the second standard:
S.9.ESS.14 Analyze geoscience data and the predictions made by computer climate models to assess their credibility for predicting future impacts on the Earth System.
Left-Wing Environmentalist Version
S.9.ESS.14 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.Again, we find that the Linger/Campbell version, contrary to media reports, is the version that most accurately conforms to the scientific method. Linger and Campbell’s version would have student explore the computer climate models that have been used to predict global climate change and project its rate. Are they reliable? Is there any reason to question their accuracy? This is true scientific exploration.
Meanwhile, the version pushed by the radical left again “assumes” that these models are correct, and only asks students to use these models to make “evidence-based” forecasts of “current rate of global or regional climate change.” In this version there once again is no room for dissent or discussion. It is merely an acceptance of the validity of the data. No questioning about how the data was collected. No questioning about potential issues with the collection methods? No questions period! Science? I think not.
Now let’s look at Linger and Campbell’s third suggestion:Linger/Campbell Version
S.HS.ENV.17 Debate climate changes as it relates to natural forces such as Milankovitch cycles, greenhouse gases, human changes in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, and relevant laws and treaties.
S.HS.ENV.17 Debate climate changes as it relates to greenhouse gases, human changes in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, and relevant laws and treaties.
Note once again that Linger and Campbell’s version opens the door to the widest possible discussion of the issues surrounding climate change. They look at all possible explanations, from natural cycles to human-caused impacts.
Meanwhile the Left-Wing/Radical Environmentalist version again limits discussion to only man-caused explanations. This is NOT free-thinking science. It is an effort to impose an orthodoxy of thought and use the school system to do so. It is propaganda of the worst sort.
Linger and Campbell’s versions are far more in tune with the true application of scientific principles — the unfettered, unbiased pursuit of knowledge through observation and experiment as noted above.
True science is the relentless effort to DISPROVE, not to prove. It is the constant search for knowledge with the recognition that everything we know is subject to change or modification at any time given some new factor.
Those who would chain our science teachers to an orthodoxy of thought as determined by ANYONE are fundamentally wrong. Science should be the broad pursuit of knowledge without constraint. When science is subjected to the thought police it is THEN that it becomes nothing more than propaganda. And our State Board of Education should simply say no to the chaining of education to any particular political philosophy. It should unanimously approve the proposals of Linger and Campbell and give our children the quality of education they deserve.
I would ask that all those concerned about our children’s futures please call the West Virginia State Board of Education and ask them to accept the Linger/Campbell science curriculum. Do it for your kids. Do it today.
NOTE: T.L. Headley is a communications professional and former journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He holds three master’s degrees, including one in teaching and is qualified for certification in West Virginia public schools in multiple subjects. He has two children in the Cabell County School System.