Republicans are escalating efforts to bar or water down climate change education


The Washington Post notes a new escalation in the number of anti-climate science education bills being brought up in multiple state legislatures. Already there have been more than a dozen, ranging from demands to repeal educational standards that mention climate change to requirements that “controversial issues” in science be taught with “balanced and noninflammatory viewpoints”, language that just happens to require fair-and-balanced protections of whatever flat-eartherisms have gotten stuck in conservative craws on any particular day.

None of this is new, of course, but the raw number of bills being drafted marks a significant uptick from past years.

Glenn Branch, the deputy director at [the National Center for Science Education], which tracks the measures, told me the organization has seen more activity on this front in 2019 than it usually tracks in an entire year — Branch usually expects to see a half dozen to a dozen of bills annually aimed at changing how science is taught in elementary and secondary school classrooms.

The escalation may be alarming, but it makes logical sense. Top national Republicans have spent two devoted years insisting that any news they personally do not like is now “fake,” a rhetorical device stolen directly from Donald Trump after Trump proved, unequivocally, that you could get very, very far in conservative circles by just lying to the public outright. It stands to reason that of course state lawmakers would themselves seize the moment to double down on their own insistence that unpleasant facts can be legislated out of existence.

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