Common Core and K-12 Science Education — Could This be a Start to Climate Youth?

Published May 24, 2014


At a Chicago fundraiser May 29, 2013, President Obama  said “I don’t have much patience for people who deny climate change.”  At his swearing in ceremony May 21, 2013, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz declared he is “not interested in debating what is not debatable.”  These remarks echo long-standing pleas of climate alarmists the “science is settled” with regards to burning fossil fuels causing catastrophic global warming. 

Would these statements come from true scientists interested in pursuing truth about whether carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel is a global threat?  The remarks are very clear about United States government policies with regard to education or research on climate science.  If proposed education materials or research don’t support abandoning fossil fuels, go somewhere else for financial support and airing your views.  Close the door on the way out.


From the preceding remarks it is apparent bias toward accepting as fact carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is the driver for climate change the past century.  Support for carbon dioxide threats are a series of 5 Assessment Reports by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC) released since 1990.  To counteract omissions, half-truths, and false statements in these reports, the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) was formed in 2003.  Since 2009, the NIPCC has released 6 Reports that give authoritative, easily-read information about vast amount of experimental data showing negligible influence of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels on climate, benefits of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, financial losses from mitigation, and proper role of adapting to climate change.  The NIPCC is supported by three non-profit organizations—Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Science and Environmental Policy Project, and The Heartland Institute.


The science portion of Common Core called “A Framework for K-12 Science Education:  Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas” is written from material provided by The National Academy of Sciences (NAS).  The report is 400 pages and I examined PART II: Dimension 7 dealing with Earth and Space Sciences from pages 169 to 201.  The coverage is cursory due to the shortness of material.  Part ESS3.D:  Global Climate Change covers global warming from pages 196-199.  The coverage mentions computer models are used for predicting future climate and weather conditions for the planet.  The report claimed, “However, it is clear not only that human activities play a major role in climate change but also that impacts of climate change—for example, increased frequency of severe storms due to ocean warming—have begun to influence human activities . The prospect of future impacts of climate change due to further increases in atmospheric carbon is prompting consideration of how to avoid or restrict such increases.”  There is insufficient coverage that computer models fail to replicate what happens in the future when data for comparisons are available.  In my opinion climate models should not be included in K-12 education because our understanding of forces influencing climate is incomplete and model’s failure to be validated.  Material in the book does not make this clear. 

Four references are cited at the end of the discussion.  One is the 2009 Report “Climate Literacy:  The Essential Principles of Climate Change” by the United States Global Change Research Project (USGCRP) which contains scary predictions for the future of the world because of global warming.  One example is “C.  The impacts of climate change may affect the security of nations.  Reduced availability of water, food, and land can lead to competition and conflict among humans, potentially resulting in large groups of climate refugees.”  The material says carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is causing global warming which is a highly controversial topic. 

No doubt numerous copies of the 2009 USGCRP Report will be sent to schools as reference material showing fossil fuel use should be abandoned in order to save the planet.  This report, and other U. S. government printed reports, provides numerous reference materials to indoctrinate students to accept catastrophic climate change is occurring unless fossil fuel use is abandoned.  This all confirms political bias on climate change shown by remarks of President Obama and Energy Secretary Moniz.

The 32 pages of a 400-page report convinced me global warming science should not be used in education of students at the K-12 level.  More material of this nature could be in the NAS Report.  This is sufficient reason to abandon the science education portion of Common Core. 

The official website for the PUBLIC BROADCAST SERVICE provides discussions of the following features of Common Core:  (1) Climate Literacy:  The Essential Principles of Climate Science, (2) National Science Education Standards,  (3) A Framework for K-12 Science Education, and (4) Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Properties.  The threat of catastrophic global warming due to carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is again emphasized in areas outside the science portion of Common Core.

More climate science education material is provided by the NAS, in conjunction with The Royal Society, with the February 27 release of Climate Change:  Evidence and Causes.  This booklet is highly criticized for inaccuracies and ethical lapses in a paper by James Rust “U.S. National Academy of Sciences: Doubling Down on Climate Alarmism (and taking science down a notch with it)“.

On April 15, NAS released an interactive version of Climate Change:  Evidence and Causes booklet with the following announcement:  “Attention teachers, NGOs, and other organizations with public interfaces. The National Academies has developed a new sharable, interactive version of “Climate Change: Evidence and Causes”, the booklet produced jointly with The Royal Society that was released in February 2014. Users can click on any one of the 20 questions in the document and jump to related information throughout the document. The interactive is embeddable on third party sites. Explore the interactive and find the embed code here.”

More reasons to assume NAS plans to be a major source of information for the science portion of Common Core.

On May 6, 2014, USGCRP issued its third National Climate Assessment that predicted a scary future for the United States broken down into regions.  No attention is given to history showing no increases in hurricanes, tornados, ocean level rise, wild fires, droughts, floods, etc. over the past century when atmospheric carbon dioxide increases were not taking place.  This report most likely will be additional reference material for Common Core.



The United Kingdom’s Global Warming Policy Foundation issued a report” Climate Control—Brainwashing In Schools “.  Statements in the Report’s Executive Summary are as follows:  “We find instances of eco-activism being given a free rein within schools and at the events schools encourage their pupils to attend.  In every case of concern, the slant is on scares, on raising fears, followed by the promotion of detailed guidance on how pupils should live, as well as on what they should think. In some instances, we find encouragement to create ‘little political activists’ in schools by creating a burden of responsibility for action on their part to ‘save the planet’, not least by putting pressure on their parents.…  Surveys show that many children are upset and frightened by what they are told is happening to the climate.”

In the main body of the report is the statement, “The chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri has suggested that a focus on children is the top priority for bringing about societal change, and that by ‘sensitizing’ children to climate change, it will be possible to them to ‘shame adults into taking the right steps'”.

An April 12, article in The Telegraph by Christopher Booker “No A-level for ‘climate change denier” criticizes climate science education in the United Kingdom being illegal because it makes a mockery of the 1996 Education Act that requires students be taught in a balanced way that allows them to form their own views on evidence.  Mr. Booker wrote, “So relentless is this brainwashing that it percolates throughout the curriculum, so that even exam papers in French, English or religious studies can ask students to explain why the world is dangerously warming up, or why we must build more wind turbines.”

Australia has a similar problem of climate science corrupting education in a paper titled “Schools places of indoctrination rather than learning“.  The report cited, “The current Australian Curriculum is full of references to “sustainability”, which is a concept without any intelligible meaning in most of the contexts in which it is used, apart from in the very short-term.”


Another approach to outcomes of teaching climate science to young people is reported by Robert Bradley Jr. in his paper “Adults Reject Climate Catastrophe, Alarmists Bring In the Children (thoughts on Hansen’s latest)”.  Mr. Bradley protested the rhetoric of climate alarmist’s labeling those who disagree with carbon-dioxide-caused global warming as “deniers” implying they are in league with those who are “Holocaust deniers”.  The Holocaust is a tragedy occurring during the reign of terror from Hitler’s National Socialism.

After a meeting with children at a Plant-for-the-Planet meeting in Seattle, Dr. James Hansen wrote “Children and Adults on Climate Policy: Evidence that They ‘Get It‘”.  The children wanted to put a “price on carbon pollution”, “pledge no new carbon pollution”, and “plant trees”.   Naturally Plant-for-the-Plant was founded in Munich, Germany.

Other exploitations of children are done by organizations like Our Children’s Trust and Kids vs. Global Warming that claim action is needed to force abandoning use of fossil fuels to save the future for children.  A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently denied oral arguments from these groups suit under the Public Trust Doctrine.

National Socialism used the Hitler Youth from 1922 to 1945 to train young men to be obedient to their goals, enforce their rulings, and provide fanatical defense of the Fatherland.  This use of propaganda and brainwashing to enlist support of the young is analogous to attempts to enlist young people in promoting climate change due to fossil fuel use is a threat to society.

A link between National Socialism and Conservation movements is reported by German historian Frank Uekoetter’s The Green and the Brown:  a History of Conservatism in Nazi Germany published by Cambridge Press in 2006.  A detailed review of this book is written by William Walter Kay.  The conservation movement started in Germany in the late nineteenth century and found easy mixing with National Socialism with conservationists having memberships in their local groups and the National Socialist Party.  Millions of trees were planted in the name of Adolf Hitler.

It is easy for teachers to be caught up in promoting teachings of the catastrophic climate change movement because of “warm feelings” from working to save the planet.  Over-zealous teachers, perhaps in concert with environmental groups, may wish to develop slogans, songs, T-shirts, and even arm bands for students to use to help spread the gospel of human-caused global warming.   An example of a song can be changes to the song “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” from the 1972 musical Cabaret.  Who can resist the words, “But somewhere a glory awaits unseen.  Tomorrow belongs to me.”  


Potentials for mischief to the country over teachings of perverted science are enormous.

Thus playing tit-for-tat, Mr. Bradley suggests we could label brainwashed youth from Common Core and other programs “Climate Youth”.  In fairness to Mr. Bradley, he correctly states this name-calling and comparisons with National Socialism should cease immediately.


Even greater dangers from science portions of Common Core are teaching people to accept the political use of science and not follow fundamental principles of scientific inquiry–propose a theory about the behavior of Nature and continually test that theory by experiment.  Never accept propositions of “science is settled”.  Additional problems are painting the planet’s future in a dismal fashion with reduced living standards and poverty for many parts of the planet.  This may lead to psychological damage to students.

The United States has vast fossil fuel energy resources; an inventive, resourceful population; and one million square miles of farm land with the best farmers on the planet.  With correct policies exploiting our superior assets, the future of the United States is bright and the nation can be of great assistance leading the rest of the planet to an enhanced life.

Our science programs should stimulate students to be adept in analysis and have an inquiring mind.  Never be exposed to ideas of “the science is settled”.  It is my opinion the science portion of Common Core is dangerous for the country.  Damage from its implementation for a few decades could harm the country for many years.

The entire Common Core program provides opportunities to instill propaganda in our young people ages 5 to 18.  Common Core should be discarded from an intellectual point of view.  The program also provides opportunity for unbelievable amounts of “crony capitalism”.   States most likely will have increased financial burdens due to greater expenses from testing, which is another strong reason for Common Core’s rejection.

James H. Rust is a retired professor of nuclear engineering and a policy adviser for The Heartland Institute