There is more than one reason Americans display a depressing lack of trust in science, but as a former science teacher I want to take part of the blame.

Evolution is part of the science curriculum, but in most schools it is not stressed by teachers because of the fear that a minority of very vocal parents with fundamentalist biblical views would make their objections known to the principal and school board.

One lesson new teachers learn is that staying below the radar is the key to a long teaching career.

At my upscale suburban school, the relevant subject of climate change was another topic that was definitely off limits. Politically conservative parents who depend upon sources like Fox News for their science information view science teachers who include climate change in their classroom discussions as liberals poisoning the minds of vulnerable children.

When world-renowned climate scientists such as Michael Mann are attacked in the press, is it any wonder that science teachers decline to mention the impending global crisis?

Unfortunately, there are not enough King Middle Schools, where parents and administrators support an environment in which kids learn to love science and where teachers are encouraged to challenge their students to be critical thinkers. Sadly, for most schools, this is the path not taken.

Thomas Mikulka, Ph.D.

Cape Elizabeth


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