Los Alamitos School Board orders global warming class to teach the controversy, push disinformation

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Before Los Alamitos High School science teachers can tackle topics such as global warming, they will have to demonstrate to the school board that the course is politically balanced….

Concerned that “liberal” faculty members could skew lessons on global warming, the board of education unanimously voted to make teachers give an annual presentation on how they’re teaching the class….

Although there is a consensus among scientists, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, that global climate change exists, the board of education said the topic is controversial enough to require a change in the district’s policy….

“We define a topic to be controversial if it has more than one widely held view,” said Assistant Superintendent Sherry Kropp,

Darn you liberal faculty members who teach science and “skew” their lessons towards scientific facts!  We demand “politically balanced” science.

Anyone can see the AAAS has an agenda:  They want the “advancement” of science.  No doubt so they can line their pockets with all that science money out there.

The guy pushing this effort knows what’s what:

“I believe my role in the board is to represent the conservative voice of the community and I’m not a big fan of global warming,” said board member Jeffrey Barke, who led the effort. “The teachers wanted [the class], and we want a review of how they are teaching it.”

… The new class will be the first for which district teachers must prove political balance to the school board. “Most teachers are left to center, and if we leave it to teachers to impose their liberal views, then it would make for an unbalanced lesson,” Barke said. “Some people believe that global warming is a crock of crap, and others are zealots.”, since some people believe that cigarette smoking is good for you, we should give cigarettes to the kids who take this class, so they can see for themselves whether or not they cause cancer in a few decades.  That’s how science is done, you know.  With field tests, not some liberals repeating what those zealous scientists tell them.

The good news for Los Alamitos is that Kropp who “will take the district’s helm when Superintendent Gregory Franklin steps down at the end of the school year,” has precisely the right temperament to oversee the education of young minds:

“There are many issues regarding the environment that have become politicized these days and we want kids to be exposed to all sides.”

… “An unbalanced lesson would portray only one side. All we want is to have teachers teach the various scientific theories out there.”

Hey, someone on FoxNews said the EPA has been politicized, so we want kids exposed to all pollutants, too.  How else will we figure out which ones might harm them — and which might be good for them?

Doonesbury sums up the right-wing ‘education’ strategy:


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35 Responses to Los Alamitos School Board orders global warming class to teach the controversy, push disinformation

  1. Colorado Bob says:

    The radar est. says between 10 and 5 inches of rain has just fallen Southwest of Waco, Texas.

  2. Sad but true. Most people in this country don’t understand science and just think it’s some kind of magic if they like what it says, or something evil if they don’t. Then again, many just don’t care.

  3. dhogaza says:

    “Yeah, since some people believe that cigarette smoking is good for you”

    And, in the case of Lindzen, beliefs that smoking is harmless and global warming is a crock co-exist in the same MIT-tenured mind …

  4. caerbannog says:

    If the wingnut school board members get their way, the University of California should refuse to recognize the class as an Advanced Placement course. That will get the board’s attention!

    A few years ago, the University of California came down hard on the Murrieta Calvary Chapel private school for watering down its biology curriculum; UC told the Calvary Chapel folks that their biology courses did not would not fulfill UC admission prerequisites; the Calvary Chapel then sued UC in court and lost, big-time.

    If the Los Alamitos school board refuses to come to its senses, a strongly-worded nasty-gram from the University of California may be in order here.

  5. scas says:

    One of my English university profs tried to debate at length that GW was unsettled and controversial. I told him he is doing a disservice to the people in his class who are hearing of this for the first time, and argued at length why he was wrong.

    None the less, someday I hope all these people get punched in the jaw. Bam. Broken. Maybe i’ll do it myself.

  6. caerbannog says:

    Oops — copy/paste goof in my previous post: “did not would not” should just read “would not”.

  7. Joan Savage says:

    Unfortunately, for the course in question, “Our goal is to have every high school student complete at least one AP course, and this is a good one to take because it is not heavily math-based,” said Kropp. “We are excited to offer it.”

    “Not heavily math-based.” Ah, therein lies a clue.
    If the course is not strictly science, but has hybridized with a class on government, that would be worth clarifying.

    In a class on government, yes, it is appropriate to discuss alternatives in public policy. Such a class would best be left to a later semester, after a class on the physical evidence.

    That’s just a preference, but we don’t have a heck of a lot of time.

  8. Lazarus says:

    Teach the controversy – Now where have I heard that before? …

  9. Thanks Joe for presenting a humorous skewering.

    These anti-science whack-jobs do real harm and deserves our derision.

    Let’s not forget that many of these doubters also challenged continental drift and plate tectonics. Many of them signed on with the fraudulent Oregon Petition.

  10. Andy says:

    I’m not a big fan of global warming either Mr. Barke.

  11. JK says:

    According to the linked article, Los Alamitos intends to call this an AP Environmental Science class. What does the Advanced Placement Program and The College Board have to say about the school board’s desire to interfere with the course? The AP Program has standards. Here’s an excerpt from the AP materials:

    “AP Courses
    More than 30 AP courses in a wide variety of subject areas are now available . A
    committee of college faculty and master AP teachers designs each AP course to cover
    the information, skills, and assignments found in the corresponding college course .
    AP Exams
    Each AP course has a corresponding exam that participating schools worldwide
    administer in May . Except for AP Studio Art, which is a portfolio assessment, each AP
    Exam contains a free-response section (essays, problem solving, oral responses, etc .)
    as well as multiple-choice questions .
    Written by a committee of college and university faculty and experienced AP
    teachers, the AP Exam is the culmination of the AP course and provides students with
    the opportunity to earn credit and/or placement in college . Exams are scored by
    college professors and experienced AP teachers using scoring standards developed by
    the committee .
    AP Course Audit
    The intent of the AP Course Audit is to provide secondary and higher education
    constituents with the assurance that an “AP” designation on a student’s transcript is
    credible, meaning the AP Program has authorized a course that has met or exceeded
    the curricular requirements and classroom resources that demonstrate the academic
    rigor of a comparable college course . To receive authorization from the College Board
    to label a course “AP,” teachers must participate in the AP Course Audit . Courses
    authorized to use the “AP” designation are listed in the AP Course Ledger made
    available to colleges and universities each fall . It is the school’s responsibility to ensure
    that its AP Course Ledger entry accurately reflects the AP courses offered within each
    academic year.” More at:

  12. Lisa Boucher says:

    See now … the problem is all those socialist CO2 molecules that are conspiring to polargate a big government takeover.  Patriotic CO2 molecules don’t cause any “warming” because they love freedom.

    If we’re going to stop the government takeover, then we need to uproot all the commie CO2 molecules.  They tend to hind in dark places, like Planned Parenthood … or under beds.  So it’s always good to check there.

  13. dhogaza says:

    Richard Pauli:

    Let’s not forget that many of these doubters also challenged continental drift and plate tectonics.

    Given that plate tectonics proved that the theory of continental drift was wrong, why would one complain about those that challenged the former but were swayed by the latter?

    Remember that continental drift was a proposed *mechanism* to explain the oft-noted phenomena that the continents appear to fit like a jigsaw puzzle, and that *mechanism* was physically impossible. The continents don’t drive their way through the sea floor like ships through the sea. The sea floor moves, carrying the continents with them.

    There was never an argument over whether or not the continents appear to fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, that’s obvious from a quick glance at a good global map and was noted long ago before the theory of continental drift was proposed as a mechanism to explain it.

    Those who insisted the continents don’t move and the fit is just coincidence were more wrong than those who insisted they moved via a physically impossible mechanism, but not *that* much more wrong.

    Denialists like to bring up continental drift as an example of consensus science squashing a new, innovate theory (much as consensus science squashes Lindzen’s iris effect, etc). They’re right – like Lindzen’s iris effect, continental drift as proposed early in the 20th century was squashed because it was *wrong*.

  14. Celia Schorr says:

    Maybe the American Coal Foundation is providing the curriculum:

    – Celia

  15. The right wing has moving this way for years: there is no such thing as a fact…if there were, they wouldn’t be able to distort reality to the degree they need to to stay in office to help the rich get richer.

  16. catman306 says:

    @Beamer Scotty: Maybe a fact is a belief held by 67% or more of the people? Advertising, propaganda, and the media can easily change beliefs. Facts shift for the non-scientific.

  17. Aaron Lewis says:

    Barke should be careful what he asks for.

    If I were teaching the course, I would show the students ( and ask them to write a paper on why Barke does not accept AGW. And, yes in tradition of scientific data gathering, I would expect each and every student to interview Barke.

  18. madcitysmitty says:

    Depending upon how this is handled it may result in an opportunity to litigate “global warming” in federal court as happened when the Dover, Pennsylvania school district required “balance” in teaching evolution. Judge Jones’s decision in that case was one of the best defenses of science I’ve ever read. The difference between federal courts and most legislative bodies is that courts are not “fact-free” zones.

  19. Merrelyn Emery says:

    As he is not a big fan, perhaps the next big wind should just fan him off the planet, ME

  20. MarkB says:

    Some people believe evolution is a crock of crap. Others are “zealots”. Therefore, we must teach creationism because many people doubt evolution. And if we do so, maybe more people will doubt evolution, which will give us more reason to teach creationism.

  21. Tony O'Brien says:

    So we teach;
    George Bush organised 9/11,
    The moon landing was a fake,
    The CIA killed Kennedy,
    Pi = 3,
    Smoking is good for you,
    Creation theory,
    Flat Earth,
    Communism is really good and also evil, at the same time for the same reasons.

    This list was about to go places not suited for this site. There are some rather horrific beliefs held by some groups, that cannot possibly be taught as an acceptable alternative.

  22. Chris Winter says:

    “We define a topic to be controversial if it has more than one widely held view,” said Assistant Superintendent Sherry Kropp.

    How to interpret this? I see two possible ways:

    a) To be controversial, the topic must be regarded or understood in two or more ways, each way “widely held,” that is, supported by a large percentage of people.

    b) To be controversial, the topic must be regarded or understood in two or more ways, at least one of which is widely held.

    The second way, of course, fits global climate change. But it does no credit to the Los Alamitos BoE, since by that standard any scientific topic would be controversial.

    However, polls being what they are, it would not be hard to find a poll that says a large percentage of people don’t think GCC is happening. I guess the thing to do would be, first, to find out which interpretation the BoE supports, and second, to pin them down on the numbers: How big a percentage qualifies as “large”? That’s the straightforward approach. I don’t hold out a lot of hope for it, since the BoE (Mr. Barke) is motivated by ideology.

    Evidence that Barke is an ideologue? It’s right here in his own words:

    “Most teachers are left to center, and if we leave it to teachers to impose their liberal views, then it would make for an unbalanced lesson,” Barke said. “Some people believe that global warming is a crock of crap, and others are zealots.”

    In other words, “some people” doubt global warming; they (Barke and his ilk) are the clear-headed ones. All others are “zealots” pushing their “liberal views.”

    There’s no tolerance for science in such an outlook.

  23. Bill W says:

    And this is in “liberal” California!

  24. Oale says:

    Take two similar bottles, throw some dry ice in one, cap those with thermometers attached to the cork, let the temperatures even out overnight, carefully even the pressure to atmospheric pressure in both of them while keeping them upright, cap again, check the T, make sure they stay in the shade, begin heating with one candle in the middle of these, measure T against time, if measurements are false, open the methane gas nozzle beside the candle, listen the students debate if adding nitro to an unmodified engine is possible, go see if it flames up.

  25. Anna Haynes says:

    Tangential Q – would happen if a junior-college biology department wanted to teach creation science?
    (Anyone know if your accreditation takes a hit, if you start teaching anti-science in a science class?)

  26. David says:

    I graduated from that high school (long time ago). It’s bad enough these idiots run the town (the mayor resigned after sending a racist Obama email, complete with watermelons on the White House lawn ). But now they do exactly what they accuse teachers (who they clearly hate and distrust) of doing – brainwashing kids with unsubstantiated, politically-motivated pseudoscience. BTW: Hurray for science teachers on the front line of the culture, and climate, wars.

  27. Sime says:

    …”The new class will be the first for which district teachers must prove political balance to the school board.”

    So I take it that when this school teaches race relations it will be inviting the Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan over to present the klans view point, after all one has to make the discussion fair and balanced.

    Are Sherry Kropp and Jeffrey Barke being force fed stupid pills at the moment or what?

  28. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘Situational science’ is beautiful, a real bobby dazzler. In real life it’s ‘Faith Based Science’ and it derives from those two diseases of the mind, fatal to rationality and cognition-fundamentalist religious faith and the fundamentalist capitalist pseudo-religion. How these two came to work in tandem, when my reading of the gospels puts the Nazarene a good deal closer to the ‘socialist’, collectivist end of the ideological spectrum, than the libertarian, ‘every man for himself, and the Devil take the hindmost’ school, has always had me befuddled.

  29. Buzz Belleville says:

    I teach “the science of climate change” as part of a Sustainable Energy Law class, which I teach at a law school in the heart of Appalachian coal country. It’s not a science course; it’s a class about the law and policy. But I spend one two-hour session talking about nothing but the science, and of course we refer back to the science repeatedly as we do mock post-Kyoto negotiations, debate EPA actions, explore incentives for renewables, etc. I have many students from coal families, and many who are skeptical of the science based on what they have heard from the mainstream media. I am told by even these skeptical students that I present the science in a balanced manner. Yet few of them leave the class without a better understanding of how deep and sound the basic premises of AGW theory are.

    The ‘controversy’ can be taught without undermining AGW theory. In fact, to the contrary. How can you teach Lindzen without pointing out the absence of empirical cloud observations to support his premise? How can you teach Spencer without pointing out that the PDO went negative a few years ago yet the planet continues to warm? How can you teach M & M or Watts or Pielke Jr. without pointing out that none of them are climate scientists? How can you teach Michaels and Singer without pointing out that they’re on Big Oil’s payrolls (as they were Big Tobacco two decades ago)? And how can you teach any of them without pointing out that their views are contrary to 97% of climate scientists?

    So I am of course disappointed that some skeptics (deniers), like their anti-evolution brethren, feel the need to mandate teaching a controversy that is largely trumped up. But if the ‘controversy’ is truly understood — that is you understand why the Michaels and the Singers of the world can be immediately dismissed, you can explain the true (lack of) impact of climategate and the like, and you can articulate the theories of Lindzen and Spencer in a way that prompts questions as to the lack of empirical evidence to support their hypotheses, ect. — teaching it actually leads to a deeper appreciation of the soundness of basic AGW theory. As one who believes climate change is a generational challenge, let’s turn this mandate on its head, let’s turn it into an opportunity to truly educate. Folks who are taking a class on climate science (or sustainable energy law) want to know why higher temps in the distant past don’t undermine AGW theory, why the urban heat island effect has zero impact on current temp compilations, etc. Let’s give it to them.

  30. Artful Dodger says:

    Has anyone heard that David H. Koch is demanding the right to deny Faculty appointments in exchange for large contributions to a University? I think we’re one step closer to achieving ‘Clean Coal’… just ask my Faculty!

  31. Bob Doublin says:

    @23. NO!!! this is EXTREMELY conservative Orange County. I grew up there in the ’60’s (Saddleback High Santa Ana 1971) and it was just as bad then. I guess having the population quadruple from 700,000 didn’t change much of the voting patterns. This is a bad case of the dejavu’s all over again for me.

  32. Mike Roddy says:

    This is a little discombobulating, because Los Alamitos isn’t even in Orange County, it’s right in the middle of LA. It looks like stupidity can flourish anywhere.

  33. Robert In New Orleans says:

    Artful Dodger@30

    I read an article in MSM about this. The School is Florida State University in Tallahasse.

  34. JW says:

    Los ALamitos is located in Orange County, not LA County. And yes, stupidity is alive and well in the city.

  35. I’ve just had a very productive email conversation with Jeff Barke, and he has agreed that science teaching should reflect the *balance* of scientific evidence. Now let’s see what happens:


    >>>> Dear Dr Barke
    >>>> I have just read an interview between you and Leo Hickman in today’s Guardian, and have a question that Leo either left out in the printed version or did not ask. I think it should sort this out once and for all.
    >>>> Would the school board be amenable to the science class teaching climate science based on the balance of information that climate scientists can attest to (rather than just “believe”)? In other words if, as I believe, the balance is between 100 and 1000 climate scientists being able to show scientifically that civilized humanity is the predominant cause of current climate change, for every 1 who opposes this view, then between 0.1% and 1% of the science class should relate the dissenting view, with the remaining 99% to 99.9% of time spent teaching the majority view.
    >>>> This seems like a fair and logically inarguable outcome for a science class which, I would assume, teaches according to scientific principles.
    >>>> Kind regards
    >>>> Keith Farnish

    >>> From: Jeff Barke
    >>> Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 2:28 PM
    >>> To: Keith Farnish
    >>> Subject: Re: Fair Balance re Climate Change Science
    >>> Facts are facts. I disagree with your premise. The following is a partial list of scientists who also disagree.
    >>> Global Warming Skeptics (Scientists and Thought Leaders) partial list:
    >>> Tony Abbott
    >>> Don Aitkin
    >>> Dennis Avery
    >>> Sallie L. Baliunas
    >>> Tim Ball
    >>> Robert C. Balling of Arizona State University
    >>> David Bellamy
    >>> Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen
    >>> Douglas Carswell M.P.
    >>> Robert (Bob) Carter
    >>> Ian Castles
    >>> John R. Christy
    >>> Ian Clark
    >>> Alexander Cockburn
    >>> Martin Cohen, and philosophical objections to the global warming theorists
    >>> Joseph D’Aleo
    >>> Martin Durkin
    >>> Paul Driessen
    >>> David Evans
    >>> Ray Evans
    >>> The Rt. Rev. Peter R. Forster The Bishop of Chester
    >>> Stewart Franks
    >>> George Fox
    >>> Robert Giegengack
    >>> Steve Goddard
    >>> Bill Gray
    >>> William Happer
    >>> Chris Horner, the author of “Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming
    >>> Sherwood Idso
    >>> Andrei Illarionov, chief economic adviser to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin
    >>> James M. Inhofe
    >>> Aynsley Kellow
    >>> William Kininmonth
    >>> Czech president Vaclav Klaus
    >>> Donna Laframboise
    >>> Lord Lawson
    >>> David Legates
    >>> Marlo Lewis, from the Competitive Enterprise Institute;
    >>> Richard S. Lindzen
    >>> Bjorn Lomborg
    >>> Stephen McIntyre
    >>> Ross McKitrick
    >>> Patrick J. Michaels
    >>> Christopher Monckton
    >>> Andrew Montford
    >>> Alan Moran
    >>> Luboš Motl
    >>> Alan Oxley
    >>> Garth Paltridge
    >>> Tim Patterson
    >>> Roger Pielke Jr.
    >>> Ian Plimer
    >>> Arthur B. Robinson
    >>> Frederick Seitz (deceased 2008)
    >>> S. Fred Singer
    >>> Willie Soon
    >>> Roy Spencer
    >>> Carlo Stagnaro
    >>> Bob Stallman
    >>> Philip Stott
    >>> John H. Sununu
    >>> George Taylor,
    >>> Wolfgang Thüne
    >>> Jan Veizer
    >>> Len Walker
    >>> Anthony Watts
    >>> Sammy Wilson
    >>> Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.

    >>> Hi Jeff
    >>> I’m not sure about your list. Sammy Wilson, for instance, is a politician from Northern Ireland, Tony Abbot is an Australian politician, Lord Nigel Lawson is a politician, Martin Durkin is a journalist, Bjorn Lomborg is an economist and so on. Even Tim Ball isn’t a climate scientist, even though he claims to be (he’s a geographer).
    >>> So, all I ask is that the balance of *climate scientists* be reflected in the teaching. I can’t see why you would disagree with this.
    >>> Regards
    >>> Keith

    >> From: Jeff Barke
    >> Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:17 PM
    >> To: Keith Farnish
    >> Subject: Re: Fair Balance re Climate Change Science
    >> And look at all those that signed off on the IPPC position. Certainly not all “scientist.”. Answer me this why is the majority of true believers on the left if this is not a political issue and simple just scientific fact? The IPCC is a UN political body. The list I provided you includes politicians because ultimately they are the ones that determine governmental policy. To suggest that the science is settled is intellectually dishonest.
    >> Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.

    >> Jeff, please could you just consider what science is – that is, after all, what this issue is about. Politicians, activists, businesspeople etc. on any side of the fence should not determine the balance of what is taught. Human biology for instance wouldn’t now be taught based on the writings of Aristotle, even if a large number of politicians agreed that it should, because Aristotle has been shown by modern science to be wrong on almost all aspects of anatomy. The same should stand for climate change in science: it should reflect the current view of climate science which is overwhelmingly on the side of anthropogenesis.
    >> Anyone who suggests the science on anything is settled doesn’t understand science. That’s why I said “current view”.
    >> So do you agree that climate change should reflect the views of climate scientists or not? That’s all I am asking.
    >> Thanks
    >> Keith

    > From: Jeff Barke
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:49 PM
    > To: Keith Farnish
    > Subject: Re: Fair Balance re Climate Change Science
    > Agree. But what I do not think you realize is the large number of main stream scientists that are skeptics and their work is not reported by the media.
    > Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.

    > That’s good – I hope that is reflected in your discussions with the school board. Don’t forget that there may be many mainstream scientists who are skeptics, but if their evidence doesn’t support their position then it’s not scientifically valid. In the end verifiable evidence is what counts, and there is very little around that stands up to scrutiny.
    > Best
    > Keith


    Jeffrey I. Barke, M.D.


    [JR: John H. Sununu? Anthony Watts? Leading scientists, all, no doubt!]