By the book on warming

Some of the science curriculum in this country’s schools would be better described as junk environmentalism. At an early age, kids are taught that Earth is in peril, that most of the cute animals that filled their first picture books are dying off — and that their wasteful standard of living is to blame. Such unbalanced lessons, devoid of economic or political context, help churn out waves of young eco-soldiers who believe capitalism and property rights are evil; that job-killing, heavy-handed regulation is needed to save the planet.

This type of instruction had crept into every classroom long before the greens grabbed global warming as their principal cause. Now the environmental lobby and their allies in politics are trying to stuff their climate change dogma into textbooks and lesson plans.

California state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, is building support for his bill to put “climate change” in the state’s core curriculum and mandate that future science textbooks purchased with taxpayer money have chapters that address global warming.

“This is a phenomenon of global importance and our kids ought to understand the science behind that phenomenon,” Sen. Simitian said.

Given the attention paid to the issue in the media, it makes sense that science students should have some discussions on the issue. In addition to the data driving climate change science, those debates should examine whether the planet is experiencing a normal climatic shift or whether human activity is warming the planet; whether tearing down industrial economies and ratcheting back the Western world’s quality of life would make any difference in global temperatures; whether a warmer Earth would bring more benefits than calamities; and whether politicians who want to spend billions of dollars on government interventions and subsidies for “green” causes might be able to fix more solvable — and less hypothetical — global problems with the same amount of funding.

“Climate change” is an ever-evolving theory that, if given substantial space in a textbook, would require annual revisions at great expense to schools — assuming those textbooks took an even-handed approach to the subject.

But school textbooks are written by college professors, and colleges routinely ostracize global warming “deniers” and anyone else who doesn’t subscribe to political correctness. In their minds, a “balanced” chapter on climate change would be titled, “The Debate is Over.”

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Sen. Simitian’s bill become law in California, where global warming is gospel and Al Gore is a high priest. But Nevada schools face too many achievement challenges to follow this lead. The Silver State doesn’t need another expensive, politicized mandate in its schools.

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