Letters from Sixth Grade Students Reveal Global Warming Indoctrination

Published June 1, 2008

If you doubt some teachers are trying to brainwash schoolchildren with global warming alarmism, take a look inside the sixth grade classroom of teacher Michael Steria at David A. Brown Middle School in Wildomar, California.

Twenty-five sixth graders teamed up to write eight letters to The Heartland Institute describing what they had been told about global warming. Steria sent the letters to the institute in March.

(The letters themselves are posted here.)

The students said they learned about global warming by reading 10 articles about it. None of the articles, however, was about the science of global warming. Many described terrifying consequences that supposedly will result, convincing the students all living things–including all human beings–will be dead in 10 years.

Steria’s Teachings

Global warming “means that if we don’t fix the climate, everything will be destroyed and we won’t be able to survive,” two students wrote. Others found their global warming lessons similarly frightening (all transcriptions are as the students wrote and sent them, uncorrected):

  • “I think your fools for denying G.W. you know it could kill us all & you’re just adding to it. I want you to help stop G.W. not increase it.”
  • “We are going to tell you about global warming. I don’t care if you don’t want to read, but I’m making you read it you horrible people.”
  • “We feel that it is wrong what you are doing. We know that you know that global warming is NOT we repeat NOT a myth, And we think it is selfish that you would take money over yours and your peers lives.”
  • “We feel upset because you are making Global Warming worse instead of helping it. We know that almost half of the country knows that G.W. is a crisis. We know that you could help the environment with the $800,000 you have.”
  • “We feel that they are destroying our planet by saying G.W. is not a crisis. You think GW is not a crisis but it is; you know deep down that it’s a real thing that’s happening. Everyone has a part in helping GW, and you’re making worse.”
  • “I do not think that what you are doing is right because you are telling people that global warming is not a crisis. If this is not a crisis, how come floods have occurred in asia, Mexico, and India. Plus, how can you explain why the glacier glaciers are melting. they can’t melt themselves, because they are in the coldest region in the world.”
  • “Air pollution shrinks fetus size, 31 states target global warming, World must fix Climate in 10 years-UNDP, National disasters have quadrupled in two decades, and Global Warming Denier Group funded by Big Oil Hosting Climate Change Denial conference.”

Off-Topic Articles

The students say they read 10 articles about global warming; their letters describe and identify seven of them.

Three of the articles have nothing to do with global warming or greenhouse gases. Two are dire predictions from non-scientists at the United Nations disaster relief agency, the U.N. Development Programme, and nongovernmental organizations engaged in disaster aid. One article relates state efforts at monitoring greenhouse gases.

Ad Hominem Attacks

The last article is an ad hominem attack on a small percentage of Heartland’s funding sources.

Responding to these false claims, Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast said, “Donations from energy companies have never amounted to more than 5 percent of Heartland’s budget in any year.”

“There are certain attitudes about science and scientists that a teacher must foster in students. Scientists are deeply knowledgeable about their fields of study but typically are willing to admit that there is a great deal they do not know. In particular, they welcome new ideas that are supported by evidence. In doing their research good scientists do not attempt to prove that their own hypotheses are correct but that they are incorrect. Though somewhat counterintuitive, this path is the surest one to finding the truth.”

Science Framework for California Public Schools
Kindergarten through Grade Twelve

Heartland receives more money from individuals than corporations, and far more money from energy consumers than energy producers. Any bias due to funding source would clearly cut against energy producers, Bast noted.

Nevertheless, several students reprimanded Heartland for its activities. One said:

“I am very unhappy with your disgracing actions to the world, because you guys and woman are trying to hide the facts about Global warming so you can make more money. Well you guys aren’t going to fool anybody except yourself. The reason is because if you were to look at a picture of Glacier National Park 50 years ago, you would see that there is less ice now then there was fifty years ago.”

Unjustified Certainty

Particularly troubling about the students’ letters, in light of the principles outlined in the official Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, by the California State Board of Education (2004), is the children’s utter certainty that they know everything there is to know about global warming, that there is nothing left to learn.

One wrote, “We’ve read article about global warming. And we know all the facts.”

Another said:

“Natural disasters have quadrupled in 20 years, 53 bird species face extinction, World must fix climate in 10 years, Air pollution shrinks fetus size. THIS IS CAUSED BY GLOBAL WARMING!!!”

Maureen Martin ([email protected]) is senior fellow for legal affairs at The Heartland Institute.

For more information …

Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, California State Board of Education, 2004): http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/allfwks.asp

“California Elementary School Teacher Encourages Political Activism by Middle School Students”: http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22921