There was disturbing report published this week from the Global Warming Policy Foundation about the way climate change is taught in our schools.
It gave extensive examples of misleading claims being presented as facts and adds:
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.
The National Curriculum has recently been reviewed by the government, but the proposed changes seem unlikely to prevent such practices. Surveys show that many children are upset and frightened by what they are told is happening to the climate.
Teachers and administrators have a fairly free hand to choose textbooks, other materials, visiting speakers and school trips for pupils provided they fit in with curricular goals.
This raises the risk that some may select alarming and politically loaded sources in order to win children over to the ‘environmental cause’.
This ’cause’ is often presented through the notion of ‘sustainability’, a poorly-defined catchword covering political and personal actions for which fundamental criticism is rarely entertained.
Many campaigning NGOs and other organisations with vested interests such as energy companies proffer teaching materials and other resources for use in schools. Some of it is presumably being used.
The good news is that pupils with intellectual curiousity will be able to find alternative opinions and information on the internet.
The bad news is that bias is not confined to environmental issues. The Institute of Economic Affairs could doubtless mount an equivalent examination of the way the market economy is presented.
Furthermore there are only so many hours in the day. By spending time pushing their opinions teachers are able to avoid instilling basic geographical knowledge.
Michael Gove has made clear that for schools to promote a particular political or ideological viewpoint is against the law.
It is now for parents to ensure that schools obey the law.