MetroFocus: September 15, 2022

ERASE Racism recently released a research report titled “Unequal Resources for Students in New York State Based on Race,” which examines the extent to which school districts in New York State have different levels of educational resources and funding based on their district’s racial composition.  The report states predominately white districts are getting more funding, offering more Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and having more guidance counselors for their students.  Elaine Gross, President of ERASE Racism, joins us to discuss the report and what we can do to finally make some progress in desegregating our schools and fostering a more equitable learning environment for all New Yorkers.

FRONTLINE’s first-ever book titled, “Miseducation: How Climate Change is Taught in America”  by Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Katie Worth reveals that in much of the country, children learn that climate change may or may not actually be happening — even when alarming evidence that it is can be found in their own backyards.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT A DISTURBING REPORT ON SEGREGATION IN NEW YORK SCHOOLS.

AND THE VASTLY DIFFERENT LEVEL OF FUNDING DISTRICTS RECEIVE BASED ON THEIR RACIAL MAKEUP.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

NEW YORK STATE HAS SOME OF THE MOST SEGREGATED SCHOOLS IN THE NATION, LEADING TO MAJOR DISPARITIES ACROSS DISTRICTS.

THAT ACCORDING TO A NEW REPORT FROM THE LONG ISLAND GROUP ERASE RACISM, TITLED, UNEQUAL RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS IN NEW YORK STATE BASED ON RACE.

>. THE REPORT EXAMINES THE EXTENT TO WHICH SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN NEW YORK RECEIVE DIFFERENT LEVEL OF EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES AND FUNDING BASED ON THEIR RACIAL COMPO COMPO COMPOSITIONS, AND THE RESULTS ARE SIGNIFICANT.

THOUGH SCHOOL SEGREGATION IS A PROBLEM ALL ACROSS NEW YORK STATE, THE REPORT INDICATES THE COUNTIES WITH THE GREATEST NUMBER OF INTENSELY SEGREGATED SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE NASSAU COUNTY, WEST CHESTER, BROOKLYN, AND THE BRONX.

WHILE THIS REPORT CONTAINS IMPORTANT NEW INFORMATION ON SEGREGATION IN SCHOOLS, IT HAS LONG BEEN A MAJOR PROBLEM IN NEW YORK.

WE HERE AT 'METROFOCUS' HAVE BEEN COVERING THIS VERY ISSUE FOR YEARS AND UNFORTUNATELY THERE HAVE BEEN VERY FEW CHANGES TO REPORT ON.

JOINING ME TONIGHT TO BREAK DOWN THIS SEGREGATION REPORT AND EXPLAIN WHAT WE CAN DO TO FINALLY MAKE PROGRESS IN DESEGREGATING OUR SCHOOLS AND FOSTERING A MORE EQUITABLE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL IS ELAINE GROSS.

THE PRESIDENT OF ERASE RACISM.

WELCOME BACK TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU.

I'M GLAD TO BE HERE.

SO, FIRST I JUST WANT TO START WITH THE FACT THAT WE'VE SPOKEN BEFORE AND THAT VERY LITTLE SEEMS TO HAVE CHANGED OVER TIME.

IT SEEMS AS IF THE COUNTRY HAS GONE THROUGH THIS INTENSE RACIAL RECKONING BUT NOT A WHOLE LOT OF RACIAL CHANGES.

CORRECT.

AND I THINK PART OF THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE PROBLEM IS NOT A SIMPLE ONE THAT PEOPLE CAN UNDERSTAND WITHOUT SOME RESEARCH.

SO I THINK THAT WE WERE VERY PLEASED TO BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT THE INTENSELY SEGREGATED DISTRICTS, THOSE THAT ARE 90% TO 100% NON-WHITE, AS COMPARED TO THE PREDOMINANTLY WHITE DISTRICTS, THOSE THAT ARE AT LEAST 85% WHITE, THOSE INTENTIONALLY SEGREGATED DISTRICTS DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE SAME LEVEL OF RESOURCES, FOR EXAMPLE.

AND ONE MIGHT SAY, WELL, WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT?

BECAUSE A.P. COURSES ARE NOT AN EXTRA.

A.P. COURSES ARE PART OF A QUALITY EDUCATION.

AND SO WHEN YOU SEE DISPARITIES IN SOMETHING THAT IS POOR, YOU HAVE TO ASK -- SO WE SHOULD GET THAT INFORMATION FROM THE NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, FOR EXAMPLE.

SHOULDN'T BE ERASE RACISM HAVING TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THIS RESOURCE DISPARITY.

AND THE DISPARITY IS PRETTY INTENSE BECAUSE -- SO, NEW YORK STATE HAS -- LET'S SEE.

LET ME GET THE NUMBER RIGHT.

721 SCHOOL DISTRICTS, AND FOR NEW YORK CITY HAS ABOUT 40 OF THOSE DISTRICTS.

LONG ISLAND HAS ABOUT 125 OF THOSE DISTRICTS.

SO IF YOU JUST LOOK IN THIS AREA, YOU BEGIN TO SEE THAT IT MATTERS.

AND IN THE CASE OF NEW YORK CITY, ALMOST HALF OF THEIR DISTRICTS, 18 ARE INTENSELY SEGREGATED.

SORRY, I DON'T MEAN TO INTERRUPT, BUT I DO WANT TO MAKE SURE WE'RE CRYSTAL CLEAR FOR OUR VIEWERS.

WHEN WE TALK ABOUT INTENSELY SEGREGATED OR PREDOMINANTLY WHITE INSTITUTIONS, WHITE SCHOOLS, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN TERM OF A NUMBERS BREAKDOWN?

I'M SURE THERE'S A WILL THE OF PARENT WHO IS MIGHT LIVE ANY WAY SUBURB OR AFFLUENT DISTRICT AND SAY, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

THERE'S KIDS OF COLOR AT MY SCHOOL.

MM-HMM.

SO, APPROXIMATELY THE SAME NUMBER OF STUDENTS ATTEND THE INTENSELY SEGREGATED DISTRICTS IN THE STATE, AND THAT'S 481,761 STUDENTS.

AND THAT'S 85% WHITE OR ABOVE.

AND WE HAVE A SIMILAR NUMBER FOR INTENSELY SEGREGATED DISTRICTS.

AGAIN, APPROXIMATELY THE SAME NUMBER OF STUDENTS ATTEND BOTH THOSE GROUPINGS.

BUT BECAUSE THE INTENSELY SEGREGATED DISTRICTS ARE LARGER, ESPECIALLY IN NEW YORK CITY, WE HAVE 37 SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT ARE INTENSELY SEGREGATED THROUGHOUT THE STATE COMPARED TO THE 366 PREDOMINANTLY WHITE DISTRICTS.

SO, SAME NUMBER OF STUDENTS, BUT THE NUMBER OF DISTRICTS IS FEWER THAT ARE INTENSELY SEGREGATED.

SO MOST PEOPLE JUST IGNORE THOSE DISTRICTS.

IT'S LIKE THEY DON'T EXIST.

BUT WE KNOW THAT THEY HAVE A VERY LARGE IMPACT ON THE STUDENT POPULATION BECAUSE SO MANY STUDENTS ATTEND THOSE DISTRICTS.

DOES THAT --

OH, I'M SORRY, AND WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THOSE DISTRICTS, THE OTHER THING THAT COMES TO MIND, THOUGH, THE OTHER BIG ISSUE FOR A LOT OF NEW YORKERS, ESPECIALLY NEW YORK HOMEOWNERS IS PROPERTY TAXES.

SO, THERE IS GOING TO BE THE PUSH BACK THAT WAIT A SECOND, I INTENTIONALLY PAID GOBS AND GOBS OF MONEY TO LIVE IN A VERY GOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT.

I PAY INCREDIBLY HIGH PROPERTY TAXES.

WHY SHOULD THAT NOT GO TO THE SCHOOL DISTRICT WHERE I SEND MY CHILD?

SO, THE PROPERTY TAX -- YOU KNOW, WE COULD HAVE SEVERAL PROGRAMS TALKING ABOUT THE WHOLE PROPERTY TAX ISSUE.

IN FACT, THE -- AND OF COURSE NEW YORK CITY, IT'S DIFFERENT.

SO WE'RE TALK ABOUT ALL THE PLACES THAT ARE NOT NEW YORK CITY WHERE THEIR SCHOOLS ARE FUNDED PRIMARILY WITH THESE PROPERTY TAXES.

YES, IF YOU HAVE A HOME, A HIGHER PRICED HOME, YOU ARE GOING TO PAY MORE TAXES ON THAT HOME.

BUT THE REALITY IS THAT IN THOSE SEGREGATED DISTRICTS, THEY ARE TAXING THEMSELVES AT A HIGHER RATE.

THEY'RE NOT COMING UP TO THE SAME DOLLAR AMOUNT, YOU KNOW, THAT YOU HAVE IN THE WEALTHY DISTRICTS, BUT PEOPLE SOMETIMES FORGET THAT THE TAX BURDEN IS HIGH IN THOSE DISTRICTS AS WELL.

AND THE OTHER THING TO KEEP IN MIND IS THAT IF WE'RE TALKING ABOUT EQUITY OF EDUCATION IN NEW YORK STATE, IT SHOULDN'T BE THAT WEALTHY PEOPLE SHOULD GET MORE AND THAT LOWER INCOME PEOPLE SHOULD GET LESS.

AND IN FACT, THE RESEARCH TELLS US THAT IF YOU HAVE DISTRICTS WITH PREDOMINANTLY LOWER INCOME, PREDOMINANTLY STUDENTS WHERE PERHAPS THE PARENTS DO NOT HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION, WHERE THERE ARE A RANGE OF ISSUES, A LOT OF STUDENTS THAT ARE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS, THOSE STUDENTS NEED MORE RESOURCES, NOT FEWER RESOURCES IN ORDER TO PROVIDE THE EDUCATION THAT IS NEEDED.

AND SO WE ARE NOT EVEN PROVIDING THE SAME RESOURCES, NOT TO MENTION PROVIDING THE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES THAT WOULD GET US TO THE POINT OF AN EQUITABLE EDUCATION.

SO, THE ARGUMENT THAT SAYS, WELL, I'M PAYING MORE AND SO THEREFORE I SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HOARD RESOURCES FOR MY STUDENTS DOES NOT HOLD WATER WHEN YOU REALLY ARE LOOKING AT IT FROM AN EQUITY STANDPOINT.

WELL, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT EQUITY, CAN YOU SORT OF EXPLAIN WHAT IS THE BENEFIT FOR PROVIDING EQUAL ACROSS THE BOARD?

FREQUENTLY -- I MEAN, YOU MENTIONED HOARING, AND I THINK THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO THINK THEY DON'T ENGAGE IN RESOURCE HOARDING, BUT WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF PROVIDING TRUE EQUITY, AT LEAST AS ERASE RACISM WOULD DEFINE IT FOR STUDENTS IN NEW YORK STATE?

MM-HMM.

SO, FIRST I WOULD SAY YOU AT LEAST HAVE TO PROVIDE EQUAL.

AND SO OUR REPORT SAYS WE'RE NOT PROVIDING EQUAL.

BUT THE REASON FOR LOOKING AT IT FROM AN EQUITY STANDPOINT IS THAT YOU CAN'T EXPECT THE SAME PERFORMANCE.

YOU KNOW, IF YOU WANT TO TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF LONG ISLAND'S POPULATION AND OF THE STUDENTS THAT WOULD BE AVAILABLE, LET'S SAY, GOING INTO OUR JOBS, ET CETERA, YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL OF THOSE STUDENTS GET WHAT THEY NEED TO SUCCEED.

AND WE HAVE -- I CAN SPEAK CERTAINLY FOR LONG ISLAND, AND YOU I KNOW THIS IS -- A VARIATION OF THIS IS TRUE ELSEWHERE.

WE HAVE BUSINESS PEOPLE WHO ARE CONSTANTLY COMPLAINING ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO GET PEOPLE TO FILL THE POSITIONS THEY NEED FILLED FOR VARIOUS POSITIONS.

AND SO THE JOB MARKET IS SUCH THAT WE CAN'T AFFORD TO BE IGNORING A SIZABLE CHUNK OF THE POTENTIAL PEOPLE TO TAKE THOSE JOBS IN THE FUTURE.

THOSE ARE OUR STUDENTS.

OUR STUDENTS ARE GOING TO BE THE ONES WHO ARE MOSTLY AVAILABLE FOR THE POSITIONS.

YOU CAN'T JUST BE COUNTING ON SOMEONE FROM SOME PLACE ELSE WHILE YOU IGNORE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WRRIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, THE STUDENTS WHO ARE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.

SO REALLY IT'S A SHORTSIGHTED STRATEGY TO SAY THAT, WELL, THE -- YOU KNOW, MOST OF THE DISTRICTS, LET'S SAY, THEY'RE DOING OKAY, BUT WE'RE GOING TO IGNORE THOSE OTHER DISTRICTS.

AND AGAIN, IT'S A SIZABLE NUMBER OF STUDENTS, EVEN THOUGH IT'S A FEWER NUMBER OF DISTRICTS, THAT WE'RE GOING TO IGNORE THE DISPARITY THAT THOSE DISTRICTS ARE EXPERIENCING.

UNFORTUNATELY WE'VE COME TO THE END OF OUR TIME TOGETHER.

WE HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT.

BUT I JUST WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON WHAT IS THAT IS BEING RECOMMENDED?

WHAT SHOULD SCHOOL DISTRICTS, WHAT CAN PARENTS, ET CETERA, WHAT CAN BE DONE TO AT LEAST ADDRESS THIS SO WE DON'T COME BACK AND HAVE THIS EXACT SAME CONVERSATION AGAIN?

SO, FUNDING IS IMPORTANT.

AND WE NEED MAKE SURE WE HAVE THE FUNDING WE NEED, THE EQUITABLE FUNDING WE NEED TO HAVE THE EDUCATION THAT WE WANT.

WE ALSO NEED TO FIND WAYS TO SHARE RESOURCES.

WE USE AS AN EXAMPLE THAT A.P.

COURSES CAN BE MADE AVAILABLE REMOTELY.

I MEAN, WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH COVID.

WE KNOW THAT WE CAN DO THAT WHEN WE NEED TO, AND SO IF SOME DISTRICTS AREN'T ABLE TO HAVE THOSE COURSES, LET'S MAKE THEM AVAILABLE TO THE STUDENTS.

AND THEN FINALLY, WE NEED TO STOP IGNORING THE FACT THAT OUR SCHOOLS ARE SO RACIALLY SEGREGATED.

IT'S MUCH EASIER TO DENY RESOURCES IF YOU HAVE THE STUDENTS LITERALLY IN DIFFERENT DISTRICTS.

WELL, UNFORTUNATELY ON THAT NOTE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE IT.

BUT ELAINE GROSS, PRESIDENT OF AN ERASE RACISM, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US FOR THIS IMPORTANT CONVERSATION, AND HOPEFULLY THNEXT TIME THERE WILL BE PROGRESS FOR US TO DISCUSS.

YOU'RE VERY WELCOME.

GLAD TO BE HERE.

> ARE AMERICAN SCHOOLS MISLEADING CHILDREN ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?

AND IF SO, WHY?

THOSE QUESTIONS ARE THE SUBJECT OF A NEW BOOK BY AWARD-WINNING FRONT LINE INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST KATIE WORTH.

THE BOOK CAN CALLED 'MISEDUCATION, HOW CLIMATE CHANGE IS TAUGHT IN AMERICA.'

IN IT, SHE ARGUES THAT POLITICS, MORE THAN SCIENCE, DETERMINES WHAT MILLIONS OF STUDENTS ARE BEING TAUGHT AND THAT THE RESULTS COULD INDEED BE CATASTROPHIC.

JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT HER BOOK AS PART OF THE PROMISE AND PEARL INITIATIVE, REPORTING ON THE HUMAN STORIES OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS SOLUTIONS IS AUTHOR AND INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER KATIE WORTH.

KATIE, WELCOME.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING.

I'M SO GLAD TO BE HERE.

LET ME START WITH WHERE YOU START IN THE BOOK.

IN THE INTRODUCTION YOU TALK ABOUT GOING BACK TO ONE OF YOUR SCHOOLS.

TELL ME WHY YOU WANTED TO START WITH THAT AND WHY IT WAS SO SIGNIFICANT.

WELL, SO I HAVE BEEN REPORTING -- I STARTED THIS REPORTING PROJECT ABOUT WHAT KIDS LEARN IN SCHOOL ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, AND THEN IN NOVEMBER 2018 ACTUALLY -- HAPPENS TO BE THREE YEARS AGO TODAY -- THE TOWN OF PARADISE BURNT DOWN IN THE CAMPFIRE.

YOU MAY REMEMBER IT.

IT WAS DEVASTATING IT BURNT 90% OF THE BUILDINGS IN THAT TOWN.

AND I'M FROM THE COUNTY WHERE PARADISE IS.

I'M FROM A TOWN CALLED CHICO.

SO OF COURSE ONE OF MY FIRST THOUGHTS ONCE THE FIRE WAS OUT WAS, WHAT ARE KIDS IN THIS COMMUNITY LEARNING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE WHEN THEY HAVE ARGUABLY -- THEIR LIVES HAVE ALREADY BEEN SHAPED BY IT?

SO I WOUND UP GOING TO MY ALMA MATER, CHICO JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL, AND TALKING TO A SCIENCE TEACHER THERE WHO IS VERY INTEREST IN THE TEACHING CLIMATE CHANGE, AND SHE TOLD ME THIS STORY ABOUT HOW ONE YEAR A COUPLE YEARS AGO SHE WAS WORKING WITH HER STUDENTS ON SOLUTIONS PROJECTS.

THEY HAD ALREADY HAD A WHOLE CLIMATE LESSON AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY STARTED COMING IN AND NOT KNOWING -- OR SAYING, LIKE, THIS ISN'T REAL ANY WAY.

AND IT TURNED OUT THAT THEY HAD BEEN LEAVING HER CLASS WHERE THEY WERE LEARNING CLIMATE SCIENCE AND WALKING INTO A HISTORY TEACHER'S CLASS WHO WAS SHOWING THEM VIDEO -- YOUTUBE VIDEOS ALLEGING THAT THE CLIMATE CRISIS WASN'T REAL, THAT IT WAS A HOAX, THAT IT WAS ABOUT SCIENTISTS WHO WERE GRABBING FOR POWER.

AND SO THEY WERE GETTING THESE TWO -- THESE WERE 11-YEAR-OLDS, SIXTH GRADERS WHO WERE GETTING REALLY MIXED MESSAGES FROM THE ADULTS IN THEIR LIVES THAT THEY TRUSTED ON THIS ISSUE.

AND THERE WAS JUST SO MANY POINTS OF TENSION OVER THIS ISSUE.

THAT WAS A REALLY -- LIKE ONE EXAMPLE OF MANY THAT I CAME ACROSS IN MY REPORTING.

TELL US ABOUT IN TERM OF YOUR REPORTING, BECAUSE YOU SPENT A LOFT TIME AND TRAVELED.

TELL US SOME OF THE THINGS YOU DID, JUST QUICKLY, TO PUT TOGETHER THE INFORMATION THAT FORMED THE BASIS OF THE BOOK.

YEAH, SO I TRAVELED TO A COUPLE DOZEN CLASSROOM -- I OBSERVED A COUPLE DOZEN CLASSROOMS IN A COUPLE DOZEN COMMUNITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY.

I BUILT A 50-STATE DATA BASE.

I READ THROUGH DOZENS OF TEXTBOOKS.

I REALLY DID BOTH QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THIS, AND YOU KNOW, AS I SAID, WHAT I FOUND WERE THERE WERE -- THIS WAS A POINT OF FRICTION IN A LOT OF COMMUNITIES.

AND WHAT I -- AND ESPECIALLY IN PRETTY CONSERVATIVE COMMUNITIES.

SO IN KIND OF THE REDDEST STATES AND THE BLUEST -- OR THE REDDEST PARTS OF THE BLUIST STATES EVEN.

I'M IN CALIFORNIA AND THAT'S WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN MY HOMETOWN.

THERE'S REALLY A RED/BLUE DIVIDE.

YOU CAN KIND OF ROUGHLY GUESS WHAT A KID IS GOING TO LEARN ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE JUST BY KNOWING WHETHER THEIR STATE LEGISLATURE IS RUN BY REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS.

THERE'S SO MUCH IN HERE.

IT'S A MARVELOUS BOOK, WELL RESEARCHED, AND PEOPLE SHOULD READ IT.

IT'S IMPORTANT.

LET ME TALK ABOUT SOME OF YOUR FINDINGS.

THE OVERARCHING QUESTION IS, ARE TEACHERS KNOWINGLY PROVIDING MISINFORMATION TO THEIR STUDENTS, OR ARE THEY DOING THIS WITHOUT KNOWING THAT THEY'RE DOING IT?

I THINK IT'S FAR, FAR MORE COMMON THE LATTER.

I MEAN, I THINK, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF TEACHERS DIDN'T LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE THEMSELVES WHEN THEY WERE GROWING UP, AND THEN THEY'VE HEARD, YOU KNOW, FROM THEIR NEWS SOURCES, FROM THEIR POLITICIANS, THAT THIS MAY OR MAY NOT BE HAPPENING, AND YOU KNOW, SO THEY AREN'T -- THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO PASS ON TO THEIR KIDS.

TEACHERS ARE ALL OVER THE SPECTRUM SOME IT'S NOT SOME KIND OF -- FROM THE TEACHER'S POINT OF VIEW IT'S NOT AN INTENTIONAL MISEDUCATION, IT'S JUST KIND OF PASSING ON MISINFORMATION THEY THEMSELVES HAVE ABSORBED A LOT OF THE TIME, OR JUST COMPLETELY LEAVING IT OUT OF THE LESSON PLANS BECAUSE THEY KNOW IT WILL BE A POINT OF CONTENTION.

OR IT'S A MATTER OF NOT HAVING TRAINING IN HOW TO TEACH IT.

YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT'S OFTEN DESCRIBED AS THE PROBLEM OF A BOTH SIDES-ISM APPROACH TO THIS IN THE CLASSROOM.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT, AND WHY IS THAT CONCERNING TO US?

YEAH, SO THE -- THERE HASN'T BEEN A TON OF RESEARCH INTO HOW TEACHERS TEACH CLIMATE CHANGE, BUT THERE HAVE BEEN A COUPLE OF SURVEYS, AND THEY FIND THAT ABOUT A THIRD OF TEACHERS TEACH IT AS A DEBATE.

AND YOU KNOW, IT'S -- THAT'S NOT -- DEBATE IS ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD PEDAGOGY IN CLASSROOMS BECAUSE IT ENGAGES KIDS AND MAKES THEM THINK AND THINK CRITICALLY AND PAY ATTENTION, BUT IF YOU'RE HAVING KIDS DEBATE SOMETHING THAT'S NOT A DEBATE.

SO, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE NOT HAVING KIDS DEBATE, YOU KNOW, MITOSIS OR, YOU KNOW, THE ROLE -- THE CELL THEORY, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE THERE'S THIS ABUNDANCE OF EVIDENCE FOR IT AND DEBATING IT MIGHT MAKE THEM THINK THAT THERE ISN'T.

AND SAME IS TRUE WITH CLIMATE CHANGE.

THERE'S AN ABUNDANCE OF EVIDENCE, AND THERE'S NO EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.

AND SO TO HAVE KIDS DEBATE IT IS DOING A DISSERVICE BECAUSE IT PLANTS THIS IDEA THAT, YOU KNOW, EVEN AWAY ABUNDANCE OF EVIDENCE, IT MAY OR MAY NOT BE TRUE.

YOU TALK ALSO ABOUT THIS PROBLEM BEING COMPOUNDED BY MESSAGING, BY GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS WHO ARE JUMPING IN AND ACTIVELY TRYING TO MOVE THE CONVERSATION AWAY FROM THE TRUTH OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

GIVE US A SENSE OF SOME OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS.

HOW ARE THEY GOING ABOUT DOING THAT?

SO, THERE'S THIS LONG HISTORY OF FOSSIL FUEL -- THE FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY INSERTING THEIR MESSAGES AINTO CLASSROOMS.

AT ONE POINT THERE WAS A PLAN MADE TO INSERT CLIMATE DENIAL INTO CLASSROOMS IN A LEAKED MEMO THAT 'THE NEW YORK TIMES' PUBLISH IN THE 1998.

THEY SAID THAT THEY WANTED TO, QUOTE, ERECT A BARRIER AGAINST FUTURE REGULATION OF FOSSIL FUELS.

SO THERE WAS KIND OF AN ACTUAL CONCERTED CAMPAIGN BY THE FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES FOR A LONG TIME TO MAKE KIDS DOUBT CLIMATE CHANGE.

BUT THEN THAT -- YOU KNOW, FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES ARE NOW MORE OR LESS ON BOARD.

THEY'RE NO LONGER PUSHING DENIALISM.

IS THAT TRUE?

BECAUSE I SUSPECT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW THAT, BUT ARE YOU SEEING THAT GENERALLY SPEAKING THE FOSSIL FUEL BASED COMPANY ARE SAYING, OKAY, IT DOES EXIST?

YEAH.

IT TOOK A LOT OF PUBLIC PRESSURE, BUT THEY AT LEAST PUBLICLY NOW SAY CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT THEIR OWN SCIENTISTS HAVE BEEN SAYING SINCE THE '50s BY THE WAY.

BUT YEAH, THEY AT LEAST PUBLICLY ARE SAYING, YEAH, IT'S REAL, AND WE'VE GOT TO DEAL WIT.

NOW THEIR STRATEGY IS SAYING, BUT THE ANSWER TO IT ISN'T TO REGULATE US, IT'S TO MAJOR INDIVIDUALS LIKE TAKE THE BUS INSTEAD OF DRIVING TO WORK, OR MAKE IT INDIVIDUAL -- BECOME VEGAN.

THEY'RE TRYING TO PUSH ANY ACTION ON TO INDIVIDUALS RATHER THAN ON THEIR CORPORATION.

BUT -- BECAUSE THERE CAME TO BE TOO MUCH PUBLIC PRESSURE TO CONTINUE THE DENIALISM.

BUT IN THEIR PLACE, THERE ARE THESE CONSERVATIVE THINK TANKS.

ONE OF THEM IS BASED IN CHICAGO.

IT'S CALLED THE HEARTLAND INSTITUTE.

AND A FEW YEARS AGO, IT SENT OUT CLIMATE DENYING MATERIALS TO, IT CLAIMED, EVERY SCIENCE TEACHER IN AMERICA.

SO YOU CAN IMAGINE THAT A LOT OF TEACHERS RECEIVED THIS AND JUST IMMEDIATELY THREW IT AWAY.

BUT SOME RECEIVED AND IT TOOK IT IN GOD FAITH AND STARTED USING IT IN THEIR CLASSROOMS.

THERE'S A FASCINATING PART OF THE BOOK HERE WHERE YOU TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT PUBLISHERS WILL DISTRIBUTE DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE SAME TEXTS TO DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.

EXPLAIN THAT TO US.

YEAH.

YOU KNOW, SO, THE WAY THAT TEXTBOOK MAKERS CONDUCT THEIR BUSINESS IS THAT THEY'RE REALLY TRYING TO -- THEY'RE TRYING TO SELL TEXTBOOKS.

AND SOME STATES, NOTABLY TEXAS AND FLORIDA AND CALIFORNIA, ALL HAVE STATEWIDE ADOPTION, SO A TEXTBOOK MAKER PRODUCES A TEXTBOOK.

THEN A COMMITTEE BASICALLY LOOKS AT THE TEXTBOOK AWAY FINE TOOTH COMB, AND THEN EITHER APPROVES IT OR REJECTS IT, AND THAT IS A MATTER OF MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO THOSE COMPANIES.

SO WHEN THEY'RE MAKING THESE TEXTBOOKS, THEY HAVE IN MIND, WILL THIS BOOK PASS THE SCRUTINY OF THE TEXAS TEXTBOOK COMMISSION?

AND, YOU KNOW, AND SO THEY KIND OF -- YOU KNOW, THEY REALLY ARE VERY CAREFUL IN THEIR LANGUAGE ABOUT POLITICAL ISSUES.

I TALKED TO SEVERAL PEOPLE WHO WORKED IN THE INDUSTRY WHO SAID THERE WERE EXPLICIT CONVERSATIONS ABOUT HOW TO PRESENT CLIMATE CHANGE IN THEIR TEX TEXTBOOKS.

AND AS A RESULT WHAT WE FOUND WHEN WE READ THROUGH ALL THESE TEXTBOOKS WAS THAT THERE'S A LOT OF CLIMATE DENIAL LANGUAGE IN IT.

SO THERE'S GOOD INFORMATION ABOUT CLIMATE SCIENCE, BUT THEN THERE WILL WBE A PARAGRAPH THAT SAYS, MANY SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS CAUSED BY HUMANS, SOME BELIEVE IT IS NATURAL AND BEING CAUSED BY SO LAR CYCLES, ET CETERA, WHICH THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR.

THERE'S NOT A SHRED OF SCIENCE.

BUT THEY'RE INCLUDING THAT SO WHEN THE CONSERVATIVE TEXAN TEXTBOOK COMMISSION LOOKS AT IT THEY'LL BE LIKE, OKAY, WELL, IT INCLUDES BOTH SIDES, RIGHT?

SO THERE'S A TEXTBOOK THAT'S MADE SORT OF WITH TEXAS AND LOUISIANA AND FLORIDA IN MIND, AND THEN THERE'S NOW A SECOND TIER OF TEXTBOOKS THAT GOES INTO MUCH MORE DEPTH ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE FOR THE CALIFORNIANS OF THE WORLD WHO REALLY DO WANT A ROBUST EDUCATION ABOUT CLIMATE SCIENCE.

KATIE, THERE IS SO MUCH IN THIS BOOK THAT IS WORTHY OF OUR CONSIDERATION, WHERE WE NEED TO BE DEALING WITH IT, ESPECIALLY AS PARENTS TO START, TO HAVE A BETTER GRASP OF WHAT YOUR CHILDREN TOWN BE LEARNING.

ONCE AGAIN, THE BOOK IS 'MISEDUCATION, HOW CLIMATE CHANGE IS TAUGHT IN AMERICA'. GO GET IT.

GO READ IT.

MAKE SURE YOU GET IT INTO YOUR SCHOOLS.

KATI WORTH, WE APPRECIATE YOUR TAKING SOME TIME TO CHAT WITH US.

YOUR RESEARCH IS COMPELLING AND SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS AND FINDINGS WITH US HAS BEEN PROFITABLE FOR US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

YOU TAKE CARE NOW.

YEAH, THANK YOU.

MY PLEASURE.

BYE-BYE.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

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