It is good to note, as the New York Times did, that educators unveiled new guidelines (called the Next Generation Science Standards) recently and called for:
" sweeping changes in the way science is taught in the United States including, for the first time, a recommendation that climate change be taught as early as middle school. "
This notable with 26 states and several national scientific organizations (including National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science) cooperating, even if as has been noted the climate change recommendation is a bit buried in the report:
"Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming),”
And as the New York Times story points out, some conservative and religious groups are challenging that inclusion, along with the teaching of evolution, which they will also be required to learn about. Lack of adequate coverage is a problem in the US curriculum. As noted by Mother Nature News in the link above "A perceived conflict between science and religion has led Americans to rank nearly last among industrialized countries in understanding evolution, educators told a major science conference this weekend."
The new guidelines comes also in response to the growing controversy over public education driven by the influence of religious conservatives sitting on State and local Ed boards in part. Empirical evidence make evolution is a validated & predictive scientific theory for the web of life we see. It is foundational for understanding biological science, yet some conservatives insist that it is just a hypothesis and other hypotheses like intelligent design also be taught in public schools ( perhaps with other theistic ideas about creation).
We'll see what the backlash and blockage to the new science standard will be. I can imagine it will be a bit like the reactionary efforts in some swing states as I noted in my blog on the state's as bizarre engines of reactionary policies.
A group called Citizens for Objective Public Education stated that the new curriculum would “take away the right of parents to direct the religious education of their children.” Its that rights vs. what Science-tells-us-is-true-and-I-don't-want-to-hear head-in-the-sand argument.
It's already getting noted in some states like (What's the matter with?) Kansas which in 1999 made the national news when the state board adopted a science standard that deleted references to evolution from the state guidelines. Sort of a State's rights thing that descended to the individual school district level where the decision to teach evolution would be made. Makes you wonder is districts will now succeed from States to protect their religious "rights". Since 99, the Kansas state board has revised the standards at least three times based on the swing in liberal vs. conservative balance of power among the 10-member State board.
As Robert A Heinlein said:
It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creeds into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.