Heartland Institute Experts React to Release of Next Generation Science Standards

Published April 10, 2013

The so-called Next Generation Science Standards, released Tuesday, offer school districts guidelines for establishing new science curricula. Drawn up by committees of education officials and advocacy groups across the United States, the standards include guidelines for the teaching of the controversial subject of climate change.

The Heartland Institute has been a leader among public policy think tanks in advancing scientific rigor in the multi-disciplinary examination of global warming and global cooling. It has hosted eight international conferences on climate change, and produced two volumes – Climate Change Reconsidered, and Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report – containing more than 1,000 pages of peer-reviewed studies questioning the “consensus” that a man-made climate change crisis is a plausible scenario. A third volume of Climate Change Reconsidered is due for publication in October.

The following statements from environment and education policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

 “The Next Generation Science Standards convey an anti-human message regarding human activities, population growth, and environmental impacts that is not scientifically justified. They certainly convey an environmental activist bias.

“These final Standards are an improvement over earlier draft versions, and are not as environmentally radical as many other proposed curricula and standards I have seen. Nevertheless, being somewhat better than environmentally radical propaganda is not the same as being objective, balanced, and scientifically accurate.”

James M. Taylor
Senior fellow for Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Although the final draft of the Common Core science standards is much improved over the previous two drafts, it is still objectionable for two main reasons. The first is that it pushes scientific activities on students while stripping much of the knowledge base essential for science and scientific literacy, which research has shown is a failed teaching method. Children need both core knowledge and practical experience in every subject.

“The second failure is that the standards impose alarmist global warming ideas on children from kindergarten forward, and assume people are a net negative for the Earth while ignoring the truth that humans have both positive and negative effects on the environment. This manifests itself in standards attempting to tell children that overpopulation is a grave danger, a 1970s false alarm that has been thoroughly debunked.

“The truth is, the Earth has not gotten warmer in the past 15 years, and a good deal of evidence suggests a slightly warmer planet means a greener planet. These and other scientific facts are important for children to know about the global warming debate, which the Common Core standards pretend is settled with a negative verdict for humans. I do commend the standards committees, several of which were directly influenced by federal agencies, on their ability to simplify scientific knowledge into some very compact K-12 course requirements.” 

Joy Pullmann
Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, School Reform News
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 29-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.