ALEC Plans on Teaching Climate Denial in Schools

According to The American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) website, the organization “works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level…” While they are ostensibly committed to limiting the power of the federal government in favor of public policy that is decided upon at the local level, with collaboration between state legislators and private citizens, it sometimes seems that their efforts are not necessarily aimed at the greater good. Certainly many people would support the stated goals of this non-profit, which works with citizens and legislators to create bills that make sense for the state, but not every mandate by the federal government is something that needs to be attacked on a state-by-state basis. For example, one of their current agendas seems to revolve around reversing the current administration’s push for green energy.

Some speculate that this move has to do with the fact that fossil-fuel companies have sponsored memberships in order to push their own agenda. And when you look at the legislation the group has been churning out of late, with campaigns and even bills seeking to reverse current incentives for renewable energy, it’s not hard to see how people might get that idea. Luckily their efforts have fallen flat so far, but it doesn’t seem like they’re ready to give up the fight, not by a long shot. And their current target is not the federal government, but rather the leaders of tomorrow.

The whole thing is likely to sound like something out of a conspiracy manifesto, but it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility, especially considering the money and influence the fossil-fuel industry has at their disposal. Since their lobbies in Washington seem to have fallen on deaf ears, what with President Obama’s push for clean energy raising awareness of environmental issues (global warming) and giving incentives to alternative energy sources, it seems that purveyors of petroleum products have decided to use the President’s own strategy against him and go back to grass roots. Their campaign began by targeting rural states with an eye towards helping sympathetic politicians get elected. And now that their legislation has failed to receive approval, they’re using ALEC to push through the “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act”.

The bill is designed to create curriculums that address climate science from a “critical thinking” perspective, which you can take to mean that the validity of the current model will almost certainly be called into question. What’s truly alarming about this scenario is that children will be asked to speculate on an issue that few adults understand. In fact, there are plenty of well-informed adults who still question whether or not global warming is real, despite abundant scientific research and evidence to prove it. So how are kids supposed to suss out the truth when they’re being presented with the idea that the whole thing is only a theory? The prospect is by turns horrifying and sickening, especially considering 11 states have now introduced a version of this bill in their legislatures. But it’s not too late to stop this idiocy.

Legislators are ultimately beholden to their electorate, so if your state is one that has such a bill on the floor, don’t hesitate to engage in a letter-writing (or email) campaign to petition against it. Our kids deserve to be presented with real science, not what the oil companies want them to learn. And with fossil fuels on the way out, alternative energy is the clear path to future energy independence. Whether you plan to send your kids on to a local college likeĀ Ohio University or you’ve got your sights set on Harvard or Yale, the hope is that they will reach adulthood armed with the knowledge and critical thinking skills that will help them to succeed, both in their careers and in life. And ALEC clearly isn’t the group you want to decide what they learn.

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