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In a previous diary, I  wrote  about attempts by climate change deniers to create controversy around the teaching of global warming in the public schools. Now, thanks to leaked documents from the Heartland Institute, we know of a insidious new plan to create a whole K-12 curriculum to spread doubt and make teaching about global warming as controversial topic in public school classrooms as the theory of evolution.

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Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective. To counter this we are considering launching an effort to develop alternative materials for K-12 classrooms. We are pursuing a proposal from Dr. David Wojick to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools...His effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain - two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science. - January 2012
Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy
.
In a previous diary, Making Global Warming Controversial in Public School Classrooms,  I detailed efforts of climate change deniers to create controversy around the teaching of global warming in public school classrooms. Back then, climate deniers recruited scientists from non-profits that  educators would be more likely to have confidence in to cast doubt on the science of global warming, and portray it as a controversy among scientists.
Children are often confused and frightened about what the future holds for them. Some even blame themselves for contributing to climate change. - Holly Fretwell
I  wrote about one particular book for 8-12 year olds called " The Sky’s Not Falling! Why It’s OK to Chill about Global Warming", which purports to comfort children upset by alarmist"Chicken Littles" , and reassure them that the free market will find solutions. The author, Holly Fretwell, whose degrees are in political science and natural resource economics,  not a climate science,  is a research fellow at PERC, the  Property and Environment Research Center, a non-profit that promotes free enterprise solutions. Thirteen of the references listed for her book are   affiliated with the  Heartland Institute, including Robert Carter, C.R. de Freitas, Indur Golanky, P.J. Michaels, Bjorn Lomborg, and Ross McKitrick. 


There is an interconnecting web of links between global warming deniers, the right-wing think tanks they are associated with, and corporate funding from polluters, particularly the oil and coal  industry. The Heartland Institute puts on a denier climate convention every year, and has a list of global warming " experts" , many of whom have received funding from Exxon and Western Fuels. Heartland is also part of the Cooler Heads Coalition , a coalition of other right wing think tanks, including PERC.  

In an article in the New York Times,Leak Offers Glimpse of Campaign Against Climate Sciencea link takes you to a document called "The Heartland 2012 Fudrasing Plan". Item H describes the rationale for the  Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Schools project-

Many people lament the absence of educational material suitable for K-12 students on global warming that isn’t alarmist or overtly political. Heartland has tried to make material available to teachers, but has had only limited success. Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective.
The document goes on to describe a project to create a K-12 curriculum on global warming that has a "great potential for success" - a series of modules to be written by David Wojick, who according to Heartland  is a consultant to the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science, who has a Ph.D. in the philosophy of science and mathematical logic from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Tech, adding that he has "conducted extensive research on environmental and science education for the Department of Energy. In the course of this research, he has identified what subjects and concepts teachers must teach, and in what order (year by year), in order to harmonize with national test requirements. " Significantly, Heartland adds that he "has contacts at virtually all the national organizations in producing, certifying, and promoting science curricula. " In other words, educators are supposedly going to trust his work.

According to Desmogblog,  David Wojick, is a self-described journalist and policy analyst. According to a search of 22,000 academic journals, Wojick has not published any research in peer-reviewed journals on the subject of climate change. He holds a doctorate in epistemology and specializes in mathematical logic and conceptual analysis.

Sourcewatch identifies Wojick's association to the coal industry. From 1998-2001, he was a scientific advisor to the Greening Earth Society, a group funded and controlled by the Western Fuels Association, an association of coal burning utility companies. I suspect he is one of the scientists featured in a video called " The Greening of the Earth" which, as I described in my previous diary, a denier parent ( who worked for Exxon) sent me to show to my 6th grade science class. I remember a couple of highlights from the video- that climate science was "garbage in-garbage out", and that global warming would be a good thing, since the extra carbon dioxide would promote a glorious explosion of plant growth.

Dr. Wojick proposes to begin work on “modules” for grades 10-12 on climate change (“whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy”), climate models (“models are used to explore various hypotheses about how climate works. Their reliability is controversial”), and air pollution (“whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial. It is the global food supply and natural emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions”). Wojick would produce modules for Grades 7-9 on environmental impact (“environmental impact is often difficult to determine. For example there is a major controversy over whether or not humans are changing the weather”), for Grade 6 on water resources and weather systems, and so on.
Wojick will be paid $5,000 per module, about $25,000 a quarter for his work. We tentatively plan to pay Dr. Wojick $5,000 per module, totaling $100,000 for his work, and more money to finance the effort is in store. The Heartland 2012 Fundraising Plan states that "The Anonymous Donor " has pledged the first $100,000
for this project, and Hartland will circulate a proposal to match and then expand upon that investment.
Climate affects everyone, and the decisions we make today will affect generations to come. We need to teach kids now about the realities of global warming and climate change, so that they're prepared to make informed, intelligent decisions in the future. -NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott
.

Because of the efforts of Heartland and other denier groups, teaching climate change has become as controversial as the teaching of evolution. In response to attempts to make teaching global warming controversial, the National Center for Science Education has launched an initiative to defend teaching climate change, which it considers a critical issue in protecting the integrity of science teaching.

This latest effort by Heartland may wither now that it has been exposed for all to see, but there will be other attacks on the integrity of science teaching. We all need to be informed about decisions being made on science curricula in our children's classrooms so that they are prepared to be informed citizens in a warming world.

Fri Feb 17, 2012 at  7:49 AM PT: Heartland says that one of the documents " 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy" is a fake; however, the strategy to influence how climate change is taught in public school classrooms is repeated in another leaked  Heartland document " 2012 Fundraising Plan".

Fri Feb 17, 2012 at  7:57 AM PT: From the LATimes article: The author of the K-12 curriculum, David Wojick said he approached Heartland to fund his project, which would help educators “teach one of the greatest scientific debates in history. This means teaching both sides of the science, more science, not less.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy: Wojick has been “a part-time support contractor for the Office of Scientific and Technical Information since 2003, working to help the office manage and organize its electronic databases. He has never advised or conducted research for the Department on climate change or any other scientific topic, and the office he works for is not a research organization,” said Jen Stutsman, a spokeswoman for  the Energy Department.

Wojick is not a scientist, his academic credentials are “in the logic (or philosophy) of science.”

Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM PT: From Fishoutofwater's diary, currently on the dKos rec list :

"The Associated Press has verified the authenticity of leaked documents that show a leading conservative organization, the Heartland Institute, schemed to propagandize school children into becoming climate skeptics on behalf of major corporate sponsors. "

Link to AP story: http://www.google.com/...


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Originally posted to loblolly on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 05:43 PM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Science Matters, and Community Spotlight.

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