Michael Gove is concerned about teachers promoting science in schools. Yes, really

The Daily Mail reports today that education secretary Michael Gove has expressed “concern” about a study which accuses “activist” teaching staff of trying to turn pupils into “foot soldiers of the green movement”.

According to the study carried out by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a climate change denying think-tank set up by former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson, “eco-activists” in the education system are urging children to use “pester power” to force parents to adopt green lifestyle choices.

“We find instances of eco-activism being given a free rein within schools and at the events schools encourage their pupils to attend,” the report claims.

Gove “read the report with concern”, according to a spokesperson for the education secretary.

Schools should not teach that a particular political or ideological point of view is right – indeed it is against the law for them to do so,” the spokesperson added.

Unlike most of the content found in the Daily Mail, it’s actually worth taking a closer look at this piece, if for no other reason than to understand just how loopy some on the right have become over the issue of man made climate change.

What exactly is it that the GWPF- and by extension Micheal Gove – are objecting to here?

According to the GWPF, telling kids to “avoid polluting the world”, “recycle” and “reduce their carbon footprint” is “brainwashing” carried out with the express intention of turning children into “foot soldiers of the green movement”.

But hang on a minute. What exactly is objectionable about teaching children to safeguard the environment? If you can avoid doing so, don’t go around polluting the world – it’s hardly revolutionary advice.

And perhaps, when the GWPF talk about “brainwashing”, they ought to consider who is attempting to brainwash who here.

Read the rest of this report about Michael Gove’s most recent freakishness, on Left Foot Forward.

47 thoughts on “Michael Gove is concerned about teachers promoting science in schools. Yes, really

  1. Dave Rowlands

    They want all and everyone to become believers in, well, whatever they say. Breed them right and they will obey.

  2. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic hate the Green movement with a passion because it puts limits on the freedom of industry. They also see it as a way of introducing Socialist redistributive taxation by the backdoor. Hence the attacks on global warming, and the establishment of fake ‘astroturf’ anti-Green groups in the US, like Wise Use. This group campaigns for industry’s freedom to trash the environment in the name of profit.

  3. Barry Davies

    Much as I abhor Gove, as a person and most of what he stands of just for once he is correct, Science teachers should be teaching proven science, and the myths of global warming certainly are not science.

    1. Mike Sivier

      … in your opinion. These youngsters will be growing up in a world where that debate will not only continue but intensify; what’s wrong with telling them about it so they can go into it with at least a little understanding of the issues?

      1. Barry Davies

        Little understanding is what you are basing the myth of man made global warming on, indeed the phrase has been made redundant and climate change inserted because it proved impossible to prove that there was Global warming at all. The blip was caused by the eruption of Mt St Helens which pumped millions of tons of dust into the atmosphere and the temperature has since reduced, not because of green interventions but because of natural circumstances. I don’t object to what the greenies want of finding renewable energy, just the fear factor they are instilling so that governments can over tax the people once again for the benefit od private commerce.

      2. Mike Sivier

        Then you should not object to school pupils having the arguments put in front of them. I reiterate: They will be living in a world where this debate will be ongoing – the very least our education system can do is educate them on what it’s about!

      3. Barry Davies

        I have no objection to teachers teaching facts, propaganda is another story entirely, that isn’t education in the way most people expect it to be that is education not spreading unproven myths as if they have validity.

      4. Mike Sivier

        I would object if it was propaganda; but it’s not propaganda to say that there is a debate going on and laying out the grounds of that debate. That would be teaching the facts. Banning the subject from being mentioned in a school would be unjustifiable.

      5. J. Stevenson

        Global warming caused by Mount St. Helens – that’s a new one. Makes a change, I suppose, from blaming Milankovitch Cycles. Still, as a geoscientist who has also studied environmental science, I can assure you that it’s utter, misinformed rubbish – it caused a temperature DROP of 0.1C.
        I will continue unabated to teach students about the facts of climate change, based on solid, peer assessed facts – nothing that that nasty little man, Gove, would understand anything about.

      6. Barry Davies

        So lets get this right you believe that someone using an inhaler can cause your global warming, but having millions of tons of pumice blown into the atmosphere makes not an iota of difference. Interesting theory that is.

      7. J Stevenson

        Fortunately, I don’t have to ‘believe’ anything, Instead I work with evidence that has been researched, documented, peer reviewed, published and scrutinised:

        Source: USGS

        The chemistry of your notion of ‘someone using an inhaler causes global warming’ is very simple:
        Source: World Nuclear Association.

        Lastly, I think your misconception is that ash clouds insulate the planet, much as aerosols, CO2, water vapour, etc., do, reflecting escaping heat back to the surface. Quite the opposite; volcanic matter reflects radiation from the Sun back into space, causing short term cooling.

        But I do love your comparison of one person with an inhaler against the eruption of Mt St Helens (or Pinatubo). Lovely imagery, I may well use it in class.

      8. J Stevenson

        “Science is not always correct and it has been shown that the so called global warming is no such thing at all.”

        “Proven science”,

        Please provide references for these comments (as I have), so I can be better informed, otherwise both are invalid – as mentioned earlier, research is not valid unless published and peer reviewed.

        “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.”
        Source: NASA http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

        By the way, my pupils certainly wouldn’t agree with you.

      9. Barry Davies

        Well if you are misinforming them, and only marking as correct what you believe, of course they will agree with you, they have no choice to do otherwise.

      10. Mike Sivier

        What are you saying – that teachers are saying climate change is proven, rather than under discussion? Well, consider this: There is a UK government organisation called the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Despite what Michael Gove might believe, climate change is officially recognised. Therefore it seems to me that teachers approving student work that is well-researched and based on current scientific papers would be permissible, as would teachers approving student work that discusses the issue without supporting it – as a matter of ongoing discourse.
        The worst eventuality would be ignoring the issue altogether, of course.

      11. Barry Davies

        That depends on which experts you believe, the ones that the governments use to add tax or the ones that say that the science used is incorrect. Educationalists set the parameters and if a student goes outside the parameters they are marked down so no it isn’t the even handed “discussion” that you claim because the teachers are not working from an even handed base and it is human nature that they will be offended by a student telling them they are wrong. Despite the “official” recognition by people with no scientific education or knowledge, there is no outright proof that man made climate change actually exists. The worst outcome is the use of propaganda to mislead the students entirely.

      12. Barry Davies

        Well you could use the same reply for your comments Mike, you are assuming the scientists you choose to believe are correct and the other ones incorrect.

      13. Mike Sivier

        No, because I’m saying I don’t mind teachers telling their pupils there’s a debate going on; you’re the one who wants to tell everyone what they can and can’t do.

      14. Barry Davies

        Not at all Mike you are saying teachers should be able to teach what they like, including one would assume their own political dogma, i’m saying that teachers should only be teaching proven facts and where there is no evidence to support the facts, also the evidence that is against that position, should there be an argument, you are the one saying you would tell teachers what they can and can not teach, and clearly you only want the unproven political dogma to be taught.

      15. Mike Sivier

        I’m not saying they should be able to teach what they like – not at all. I’m saying they should give pupils a grounding in what they are likely to have to deal with when they go into the world outside school, and one of those things is the climate change debate. What is a teacher supposed to do if a kid comes in and asks about it – say, “I’m sorry, Barry Davies says I’m not allowed to talk to you about that”?

      16. J Stevenson

        ” i’m saying that teachers should only be teaching proven facts and where there is no evidence to support the facts, also the evidence that is against that position, should there be an argument, you are the one saying you would tell teachers what they can and can not teach, and clearly you only want the unproven political dogma to be taught.”
        So, nothing from The Bible, or any religious texts, nothing on the Big Bang, evolution, quantum physics, to name a few more theories? We have plenty of evidence for much of these, but no solid proof. There are nearly 14,000 separate papers on evidence of anthropogenic climate change; 98% of all work on it agrees, 2% doesn’t – much of that sponsored by oil companies or ultra right wing US politics (I don’t believe UKIP can quite afford to sponsor their own, however desperate they are to ignore all the evidence).
        We teach many theories in science – there are other theories for the Big Bang and evolution, for example, and we teach both the Solid State theory and Lamarckian evolution. But the evidence substantiates the Big Bang and Darwinian theory, but as the evidence for anthropogenic climate change.

      17. Barry Davies

        But the evidence is that climate change is something that has occurred throughout the history of the planet, even before man walked the earth, so it is rather surprising that a blip in the temperature which happened when there was a massive volcanic eruption should be considered to be man made at all. In fact there is plenty of evidence that the ice packs have grown and receded many times over the last 5 million years. Or doesn’t that fact fit in with your view.

      18. Mike Sivier

        We’ve already seen evidence that the Mt St Helens eruption caused temperatures to drop by reflecting heat away from the planet, rather than holding it in, so your theory here is flawed. You are ignoring that because it doesn’t fit in with your view.

      19. J Stevenson

        You’re confusing weather with climate – the weather around Washington State may have warmed short term, but climate is long term, and in this case, global. When Krakatoa erupted in the 1800s, the average global temperature went down. I haven’t the time or energy to check the change in weather around Mt St Helens in May 1980, so I can’t verify it, but then, facts obviously mean nothing when compared to ill informed opinion.

      1. Mike Sivier

        Not at all. I know that there is definitely a debate about global warming/climate change and I think it is important that school pupils should be educated about that debate, rather than have enforced ignorance inflicted upon them by people who would rather stick their heads in the sand and ignore any evidence they don’t like until it is too late to do anything about it.
        Suppose global warming turns out to be a genuine phenomenon – do you really want to wait until it can’t be stopped before admitting its existence? That’s what you’re saying.
        I watched a documentary about the Chernobyl disaster last night. It concluded that the terrible events of spring 1986 in the Ukraine ultimately led to widespread decommissioning of nuclear missiles. Do you really want another disaster to take place before we take precautions against even the possibility of a climate change disaster?

    2. Barry Davies

      Indeed they should be educated about the debate instead of just believing what the mass media claims, which these days tends to find a story sensationalise it then fail to correct all the mistakes and misdirections the story contained and instead just cut and paste the same nonsense. Should we cover the nations ever decreasing green field sites with wind farms and Solar panels, which increases the cost of power, and actually are far from green technologically with the elements of construction they require, this is another of the green myths that these things are actually green.

      1. Mike Sivier

        You’ve just reminded me of a cartoon in which a Suit, sitting behind a desk, says: “You want oil? We own all the wells”. “You want gas? We own the pipelines.” “You want nuclear power? We own the reactors.” “You want SOLAR? Solar… solar power isn’t feasible.”
        How about we cover the nation’s buildings with solar panels and do away with all the polluting plants altogether?

    3. Barry Davies

      Solar panels are not as clean and green as the greenies would have you believe, remember that they have to be constructed and positioned and maintained, they are far from the nice clean energy that people are lead to believe. You might want to teach your pupils that inconvenient truth.

      1. J Stevenson

        Barry, please substantiate your facts; you bandy about all sorts of comments, make all sorts of assumptions, without any evidence to back yourself up with. Anything from the Daily Mail or UKIP propaganda is not held to have any basis in science.

        Regarding your comment: “Well if you are misinforming them, and only marking as correct what you believe, of course they will agree with you, they have no choice to do otherwise.”

        Again, an assumption based upon ignorance. There is a 6 mark question in every GCSE Science paper, be it physics, chemistry, biology, Core or Additional, which frequently demands the citation of facts, followed by a well thought out conclusion – should I mark their practice papers incorrect because their conclusion in my eyes is wrong, I would be doing them a disservice. I have some students who are Creationists, I teach them Darwinism and Evolution, beg them to use it during their exams, but would not dream of imparting my views on theirs.

        Oh, and if you would like the statistics on CO2 emissions (including manufacture and startup) of fossil fuel power stations against solar energy, then I’d be happy to let you have them. I think you’d find them quite astonishing.

        I drove up the A1M on Saturday, past wind turbines and then the Ferrybridge Power Station. Really doesn’t take a science degree to work out which is damaging the environment, which looks appalling, and which will be a noose around our childrens’ and their childrens’ necks.

      2. Barry Davies

        Mike I suggest if you think solar panels are as clean as you think, and i’m sure you don’t consider giving them a rub down with a damp rag is what I am referring to, I suggest you research into the way they are constructed, inclusive of where all the components are sourced from scratch.

        J Stevenson Well if you are misinforming them, and only marking as correct what you believe, of course they will agree with you, they have no choice to do otherwise. Which part of that is an assumption and why do you think that teachers will mark in any other way or allow any argument against what they believe from a child or student? Your citations of facts have to be the ones you agree with or you will mark the student down.

      3. Barry Davies

        Well in that case please start to listen to the scientists, and also the engineers that build the solar panels and windmills as to just what is used and how the parts are sourced and constructed, then your green ideas may just become a little more Blue.

      4. Mike Sivier

        Nobody in their right mind would want to become more Tory in their environmental thinking. This government will be the least environmentally-friendly administration ever to blight the UK.

  4. Joan Edington

    I don’t think he or the rest of the ConDems have fully evolved into human beings yet.

  5. Barry Blust

    Science is not a convenience. Science does not appear on op-ed pages. Teaching children/all of us what science has to say about something as critical as global warming is not only proper but absolutely necessary. I demand the study be made public and that the organization who sponsored the study be brought before Parliament to explain how this group carried out such a study involving our children and our schools without our permission.

      1. Mike Sivier

        Where are you going with this? At one point you wanted pupils to be taught only some kind of rigidly-defined, widely-accepted science; now you’re accepting that exactly this kind of belief was once hugely mistaken about the nature of the world and its place in the universe.

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