Trouble Maker of the Year: Zack Kopplin

March 7, 2013

Climate Deniers and Creationists are anti-science comrades in arms. The very same laws that climate deniers have been pushing to suppress climate science (also known as “science”) in public schools, are designed to impose theistic dogma on students as well.  Zack Kopplin is a 19 year old college student who has been pushing back against the creationist tide in the south, since he was in high school.

Meanwhile, science educators are being given new tools and programs to make earth’s climate a larger part of the school curriculum.


 New national science standards that make the teaching of global warming part of the public school curriculum are slated to be released this month, potentially curtailing climate skepticism in the nation’s classrooms.

The Next Generation Science Standards were developed by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nonprofit Achieve and more than two dozen states. They recommend that educators teach the evidence for man-made climate change starting as early as elementary school and incorporate it into all science classes, ranging from earth science to chemistry. By eighth grade, students should understand that “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),” the standards say.

They’re “revolutionary,” said Mark McCaffrey, programs and policy director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), a nonprofit that defends evolution and climate education and opposes the teaching of religious views as science.

The 26 states that helped write the standards are expected to adopt them. Another 15 or so have indicated they may accept them—meaning climate change instruction could make its way into classrooms in 40-plus states.

James Taylor, a senior fellow at the conservative Heartland Institute, which is developing a school curriculum that promotes climate skepticism, said the standards’ stance on climate change is based on “unscientific speculation and hype.” But he also said the group has no plans to fight their adoption by the states.

Many teachers have been skipping the subject altogether to avoid confrontations with conservative administrators or parents. Others teach it as a controversial theory, either because they don’t understand the evidence for global warming or because they reject it, educators told InsideClimate News.

In more than a dozen states, “academic freedom bills” have been introduced to mandate the teaching of dissenting views on global warming. Some of them have passed, bolstered by conservative groups that oppose efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. These groups have also developed teaching materials that challenge the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change.

According to strategy documents leaked last year, the Heartland Institute is spending $200,000 to develop K-12 curriculum designed to question the accepted science that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and to cast doubt on the reliability of climate change models. The curriculum is being written by David Wojick, a consultant who has authored dozens of articles, editorials and reports that promote skepticism about global warming.

These efforts to foster climate skepticism among today’s youth could have lasting impacts on our ability to address global warming, said Frank Niepold, the climate education coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Climate is a topic that generations to come will have to deal with,” said Niepold. “Students today will have to be skillful and knowledgeable about the topic to be able to address the challenges it will present. If we don’t educate them now, chances are we never will.”


6 Responses to “Trouble Maker of the Year: Zack Kopplin”

  1. rayduray Says:

    Unbelievably to me, Secretary of State John Kerry argues for the right of Americans to be stupid. You can’t make this stuff up:

    • I thought that was a good tactic to make light of our First Amendment right. Please put this into context.

      If you remember in her last trip, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to defend the First Amendment after a U.S.-produced film depicting the Prophet Muhammad inflamed the Arab world.

      “I know it is hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from ever seeing the light of day,” she said. “In today’s world with today’s technologies, that is impossible. But even if it was possible, our country does have a long tradition of free expression which is enshrined in our constitution and our law. ….
      “And we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be.”

      Look at his speech in France.

      Speaking in French and then joking that he needs to start speaking English or they would not let him come home.
      I thought it was more a dig at the nut jobs as being stupid and he is right.

      He is a smarter and clever Secretary of State the Hillary Clinton was.

      • rayduray Says:

        OFF TOPIC

        Re: “I thought that was a good tactic to make light of our First Amendment right. Please put this into context. ”


        OK. Here’s some context:

        I miss the good old days. When I was a kid, John Kennedy would hold a press conference and there was a display of real wit.

        Now we get displays of mendacity and worse from so many of our so-called leaders.

        You will not convince me that we should take any pride in Kerry’s words. To me they are a foreboding indicator of a society in a state of decadence and decline.

        We may have peaked about 50 years ago:

        • uknowispeaksense Says:

          I think you are both right. Kerry’s little speech there may not have been right up there in the wit stakes, but he was lamenting the fact that you do have the right to be stupid if you want to be. He was making fun of the idiots who do choose that, but at the same time it is an indicator of the type of social decline in many western civilisations. Kerry is acknowledging that and you can see it in his non verbal queues.

  2. […] In more than a dozen states, “academic freedom bills” have been introduced to mandate the teaching of dissenting views on global warming. Some of them have passed, bolstered by conservative groups that oppose efforts to …  […]

  3. […] 2013/03/07: PSinclair: Trouble Maker of the Year: Zack Kopplin […]

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