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Faith, Conservation Groups Ask DPI Candidates To Pledge ‘Climate Literacy’

Group Members: Head Of DPI Can Help Set Policy And Tone

Coal-fired power plant
Charlie Riedel/AP Photo

Religious and environmental groups have sent a letter to the state schools superintendent candidates asking them to pledge the teaching of “climate literacy” in Wisconsin schools.

Fifteen groups are asking superintendent hopefuls Tony Evers and Lowell Holtz to ensure teachers are allowed to tell students the scientific consensus is that human-caused climate change is real.

One of the people who signed the letter, Dick Smith of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, said the head of the state Department of Public Instruction can help set educational policy and tone.

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“Really, it’s an aspirational call,” Smith said. “We’re not trying to define what the standards should be. We’ll leave that to the educational experts. But we’d like to have the leadership leading.”

Smith said students should also be taught there are policies that can slow down or perhaps reverse climate change “that are technically feasible, absolutely affordable and politically viable,” Smith said. “So, there’s a bad news/good news story here.”

Holz, who is challenging incumbent Evers, said in a statement that:

“Among the greatest gifts society has received from education is science. It is an academic discipline that is responsible — either completely or partly — for some of the greatest societal advances in the world’s history. Science is, by nature and practice, evolutionary. As science evolves, the world becomes smarter, and is better for it. Therefore, I passionately support delivering to Wisconsin students the most advanced scientific thinking the world has to offer. The greatest scientific minds from across the planet have taken part in the climate change discussion from varying perspectives. Our students should hear all sides of the issue. Educators should not drive home a one-sided narrative in the name of political indoctrination.”

Wisconsin Public Radio also requested a statement from Evers, but a spokesperson did not supply a comment.

The election is Tuesday, April 4.