Why are so many American children learning so much misinformation about climate change?
Investigative reporter Katie Worth reviewed scores of textbooks, built a 50-state database, and traveled to a dozen communities to talk to children and teachers about what is being taught, and found a red-blue divide in climate education. More than one-third of young adults believe that climate change is not man-made, and science instructors are being contradicted by history teachers who tell children not to worry about it.
Who has tried to influence what children learn, and how successful have they been? Worth connects the dots on oil corporations, state legislatures, school boards, libertarian thinktanks, conservative lobbyists, and textbook publishers, all of whom have learned from the fight over evolution and tobacco, and are now sowing uncertainty, confusion, and distrust about climate science, with the result that four in five Americans today don’t think there is a scientific consensus on global warming. In the words of a top climate educator, “We are the only country in the world that has had a multi-decade, multi-billion dollar deny-delay-confuse campaign.” Miseducation is the alarming story of how climate denialism was implanted in millions of school children.
Katie Worth is an Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist and was the inaugural FRONTLINE-Columbia Tow Journalism Fellow. She was the recipient of an O'Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism at Marquette University. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, National Geographic, Slate, Wall Street Journal, and was included in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016.
"Striking....There are no easy solutions here, but the author's illumination of the issue digs deep." --Publishers Weekly starred review
"Exceptional reporting undergirds the truly shocking facts in this book: the fossil fuel industry is doing all that it can to undermine education about climate change, which will be the most important fact in the lifetimes of kids in school today. Thank heaven for the teachers who stand up for the truth--and thank heaven that this book will spark a crucial national conversation about the hijacking of our educational system." -- Bill McKibben
“Boy, do we need this book now. As the looming climate catastrophe introduces itself by fire and flood, as the world's leaders need a sense of public urgency to make some hard choices, Katie Worth discovers widespread climate denialism in our nation's schools. Ignorance of the scientific consensus, ideological pressure, fossil-fuel industry disinformation, and a well-meaning but misguided desire to tell ‘both sides’-- it is a disheartening story, richly reported, clearly told and (we can only hope) just in time.”-- Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times and founding editor of The Marshall Project
"In her meticulously researched and vividly written book, Katie Worth provides a detailed, comprehensive and often enraging examination of the forces that obstruct climate change education in the United States through denial, doubt, and delay. But she also offers a glimmer of hope. Miseducation is essential reading for anybody who cares about the climate." -- Glenn Branch, deputy director, National Center for Science Education
"Climate change is an unprecedented threat to our global community, and the frontlines of our efforts to address that threat are in the nation's classrooms where clearheaded, well-informed educators can provide the coming generation with the facts about its causes and likely consequences. But what if those classrooms have been infiltrated by bad actors? In this engagingly written and important book, Katie Worth reveals how the sceince education that might save us has been influenced by partisan politics and special interests putting the future of us all at risk." -- John L. Rudolph, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of How We Teach Science: What's Changed, and Why It Matters