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Promoting Global Warming Lessons, at NSF

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Congressman Mike Honda, a Democrat from California, is introducing a bill titled "The Global Warming Education Act." The legislation would create an education program on global warming at the National Science Foundation, an agency based in Arlington, Va., that is heavily involved in sponsoring research on math and science teaching and curriculum. Honda, a former high school science teacher, says the bill aims to provide a range of school materials for students on climate change, including formal and informal learning opportunities about topics such as new technologies, and incentives related to energy conservation, renewable energy, and greenhouse gas reduction. The measure would also create competitive grants for "innovative projects" to expand climate science education and create curriculum and education materials on the topic. Honda said in a statement. He introduced a version of the measure in 2007.

There's a strong and growing interest in schools for lessons on renewable energy. But discussions of climate change have come somewhat more slowly, as I've reported. Teachers are sometimes afraid to touch a topic they believe is politically loaded, even though the science evidence for climate change is quite strong. Another issue is that many state standards are only now being revised to include discussions on global warming, which means that textbooks tend to have only limited discussions of the issue. As a result, teachers end up having to cobble together materials on their own. That may not be a bad thing, as long as they're reliable materials.

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I believe this is absolutely key to an "all of the above" strategy to dealing with climate change. We must involve our schools. "Eco-literacy" has to be added to the traditional three R's. But, importantly, we should not equate "science education" with climate change education. Addressing the pressing needs ahead of us will also take studies in ethics, social studies, and history to name a few. See my Blog: Environmental Education, Climate Change, and Obama's Failure of Imagination http://tinyurl.com/c8ezol

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