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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

About that climate change section of Florida's 5th grade science textbook ...



Florida's textbook adoption process takes months to complete, with lengthy reviews by teachers from across the state.

That doesn't mean the selected works are flawless. Ask the National Center for Science Education. The not-for-profit group, dedicated to the defense of teaching evolution and climate science, recently took on the content in one of Florida's fifth-grade textbooks, Science: See Learning in a Whole New Light. (Is your school using this book?)

The headline of its blog post: Epic Climate Change Textbook #FAIL. It begins:

"Is our children learning science?

"If those children are being taught about climate from Florida's 5th grade science textbook from publisher Scott Foresman (Pearson), then those children are learning from a text so riddled with glaring and obvious errors that it's hard to know how such a book could see the light of day, much less be adopted by Florida public schools."

The group then parses an 11-sentence excerpt on "How Climates Change," finding four "blunders" that it then aims to deconstruct. Its identified worst offender? The line that reads, "... it is hard to determine why a climate has changed. Scientists have had debates on these changes and will probably have more in the future."

Foul, the organization declares:

"Fifth grade students reading this section in Scott Foresman's Science are left with the impression that climate scientists are uncertain about their results, that they have 'debates' about the issues, and that climate may just be too hard to understand fully. Nothing could be further from the truth."

So far, there hasn't been an outcry like when some central Florida families complained about a world history textbook's pro-Islam bias. But it could happen. The next round of state science textbook adoptions comes in 2017.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 24, 2015 9:49am]


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