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Climate change coverage in high school text books: more, less or better?

Oregonlive.com, the website hosting our main newspaper's content, has been getting a heapin' helpin' of debate on how climate change is being taught to Portland Public high school students. Granted, I've still got wee ones, and we don't really talk about that serious business, since I don't think its age-appropriate yet. But I don't want to say it's all academic -- because I find the debate fascinating.

It all started when Portland Public School teacher Bill Bigelow published an op-ed piece in the Sunday Oregonian detailing the skeptical and minimal text-book discussion of climate change/global warming (you say non-GMO potato, I say non-GMO poh-tah-toe!). I thought Bigelow's piece was interesting, well written and it taught me something I didn't already know. How sad that fairly new textbooks being used across this large metropolitan school district are so scant in their coverage of what many consider the biggest issue of our times.

Some writers of letters to the editor agree with me. Others think we've all drunk of the Al Gore koolaid -- that human-caused global warming is a crock, and if you follow the money, it's all about who is going to become rich off of our fears. There are about a bajillion other opinions in between (some of which have been added to the website, and others published in the print paper). Many miss the point about the opportunity for more in depth text-book coverage on this important topic for our high schoolers.

Like I said, my kids are elementary-school aged. This doesn't affect us yet, but I'm interested because it affects kids who can be making a difference now. What about you? Are your kids learning about climate change in school? Do the text books and school lessons do the topic justice? Or is there room for improvement in your school district too?


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