A teacher’s guide to mis-educating the young

Australia’s national primary-school English teachers’ association has launched a climate propaganda blitz on the 5- to 14-years-olds placed in their care. The teachers’ just-released manual spruiks intermittent wind and solar and demands an end to coal-fired electricity and fossil fuels. As notes to the manual say,

Chapter 9 is a call for action. Without students taking personal action to mitigate climate change, there is no point to this book.”(P4)

It’s an error-ridden 174-page blueprint that quarantines kids from any acknowledgement that costly wind and solar farms must be backed up by 24-7 baseload power.

The blueprint would have kids chanting North Korean-style “an Earth-focused school or class ‘anthem’ at assemblies. (This) is a great way to build emotional attachment to the planet” (P154). The authors suggest such lyrics as

Earth is getting warmer, oceans rising higher
Storms are growing stronger, floods and fire
We know about the dangers, know there must be changes
The future is in our hands

The blueprint is called Teaching the language of climate change science, and is issued by the Primary English Teaching Association of Australia(PETAA) for its 3500 members and teachers generally. One author is Julie Hayes (left), retired principal of Cowandilla Primary School, SA, which has been “a Climate Change Focus School” for the past 20 years. The co-author is Dr Bronwyn Parkin (right), a literacy-linguistics specialist at Adelaide University. Both are listed as PETAA directors.

 The indoctrination was poorly vetted by a 20-person academic panel. Its only card-carrying climate scientist was Professor Chris Turney of UNSW.[1] Turney’s wife, Annette, a tutor and PhD student at Wollongong University, was a co-panellist, which seems a bit in-group.[2] Turney is famous for leading the “ship of fools” expedition to the Antarctic in 2013 to spruik global warming there. The ship got stuck in the ice that wasn’t supposed to be there and the climate scientists and joy-riders had to be extricated by a series of rescue vessels at huge expense and disruption to real science down there.

The authors excuse their simplified claims on the ground that kids are too young for hard science. But they are happy to indoctrinate kids with nonsense about climate-caused starving polar bears (see below), the (non) warming and (non) melting Antarctic,[3] the (non) drowning Pacific Islands, and (not) worse droughts and (not) worse tornados. The book even includes earthquakes on the roll-call of warming-caused extreme weather! (P103).

The authors’ view is that training pre-schoolers as climate activists is a little premature, but they can at least be taught that climate scientists are beyond reproach. And kids can be softened up for the coming indoctrination in primary school (P155):

Action at Preschool level: The book doesn’t suggest developing a class action plan for young children. Instead, at this influential stage, educators have the opportunity to model care for the environment, conservation of resources and respect for the work of scientists.

Spheres of influence: In the middle and upper years of primary school, the spheres of influence widen … Older students can influence others in the school, from younger students, to staff and the governing council. They can also involve parents and family in their actions. The highest year levels extend their spheres of influence to the wider community, to local shopping centres and the local council. 

By Years 4-6, kids are trained to write persuasive texts to parents/carers against using petrol, a paradox in light of parents’ chauffeuring kids to and from schools creates ghastly morning and afternoon traffic jams. (p154, 160). “Teachers’ involvement and enthusiasm signals to students that acting on climate change is important and that we are all in this together.” (P159).

Other supplied book notes re 9- to 10-year-olds:

Parents become an important audience for students as they begin to take on the scientific mantle, with growing attachment to the scientific community.

It’s another question whether parents, including power-station workers and coal miners, appreciate lectures from their teacher-indoctrinated sub-Greta offspring.

For kids 11-12yo notes say,

They begin communication with students in other parts of the world who are also advocating for the Earth.

I wonder, who are those? Greta’s acolytes or Extinction Rebellion teens?

At Year 7-8,

They can take leadership roles in their school, working with students, staff and governing council to audit and reduce reduce energy use … They may advocate for and support changes from peers, the local community, local businesses and the local council. Their voices can be shared with our political leaders. (P115)

The book provides a template letter for 13- to 14-year-olds to pester and wedge their school principals, the notional “Ms Ashwin”:

We are worried about the future and how climate change is going to impact on our lives. We see documentaries and news items [especially on the ABC – TT] that paint a bleak picture of Australia in the coming decades. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed. Instead we are determined to use Greta Thunberg as our inspiration and get together with other students to do things that really make a difference. Could we please make an appointment to speak with you about our ideas? Your support is important to us…(P166).

Presumably they will ape Greta and decamp on school strikes.

These same kids are to write “pro-renewable tracts, make videos, write songs, report at assemblies, create works of art or engage in discussion with decision makers”. (P161). This includes inviting local, state or federal politicians to explain their energy policies, after which students and teachers combine to write “a follow-up letter with recommendations to the politicians” – and doubtless chiding them for any wrongthink. (P162). While the authors are careful not to name their favored political party, only hard-line Greens politicians and the likes of Extinction Rebellion could ever make a favorable impression on PETAA-led classes.

The book’s big theme is warming causing “extreme weather”, which kids are to be harangued about from age 7. (P33-34). The authors then write curious material like (P43), “When the weather forecast is extreme, the teacher can introduce that word to students, ‘Today we are having extreme weather.’” Teachers are to rally the class with extra water bottles and dog bowls, by shading the vege patch, watering the plants and promoting suitable clothing. This has been common-sense since first settlement, if not Neolithic times, but kids are now warned that CO2 emissions are the real culprit.

The authors hew to this line despite the IPCC’s 2013 report (fine print sections) playing down climate-change attribution to weather disasters. Taking the most obvious aspect – heat waves – the IPCC said mildly, referring to the US, “Medium confidence: increases in more regions than decreases, but 1930s [dust bowl] dominates longer-term trends in the USA.”[4]

The manual’s theoretical underpinning is cited as Canadian professor Maria Ojala on “hopeful transgressive learning”.Consulting that study, one finds among the academic gobbledegook that “transgressive” means exactly what it says. “People can transgress or disrupt deeply held and taken-for-granted norms, norms that are at the roots of oppression and unsustainability, by acting in surprising, creative and boundary-crossing ways.” Climate hope, Ojala quotes, requires a “disruption of the stubborn neoliberal worldview that we live in the best of societies, a society that furthermore has no alternative and thereby can’t be changed.”[5].

PETAA author Julie Hayes claims to have “closely followed the science of climate change since the mid-1990s”. The booklet’s fruits include pages of yet-more nonsense about polar bear peril from climate change, disseminated by the activist group Polar Bears International. Even the International Union for Conservation of Nature put the bears’ population in 2015 at 22,000 to 31,000 when warmists’ earlier had forecast them expiring from lack of ice to prowl en route to their prey. (A bear perched on an ice floe was poster-boy for Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth).[6]

The book harps to kids that human-caused global warming is responsible for worse drought and bushfire intensity. The CSIRO, grilled in Parliament by Senator Matt Canavan, admitted 18 months ago that  “No studies explicitly attributing the Australian increase in fire weather to climate change have been performed at this time.” Even warmist  icon Professor Andy Pitman has agreed there is no link between climate change and drought.[7]   The PETAA authors actually score an own-goal, recommending to kids a series of weather-disaster books by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley (fun reading, kids!). The book Drought subverts PETAA’s narrative by saying, “There is no malice in a drought. It is perhaps the way the Australian bush prunes itself down to the toughest and hardiest, recycling nutrients for new growth.” Although there is material on the needs of plants (P34-35), in the entire tract there is no mention that CO2 is a life-giving gas for plants, let alone that it is greening the planet.

I noticed only one mention of China, and certainly not its vastly increasing emissions nullifying all costly cuts of the West. This single fact illustrates why the complex, heavily politicised and uncertain field of climate science is inappropriate for small kids’ classrooms.

The political nature of the “education” shows via its total silence about (green) nuclear power. Actually there is one mention in a graphic – a 13- to 14-year-old lists nuclear fuel as “non-renewable” along with coal, oil and gas in his notes. The book makes no suggestion that the kid’s got it wrong. He/she also puts in “iron ore” as a non-renewable, which is true but no less silly than listing “sand” as a finite resource. Teachers should get out more. They might also discover, via energy expert Alan Moran,that our trek to net zero CO2 already involves $10 billion a year installing wind and solar, plus subsidies of $7 billion a year, plus $17 billion (total) for new transmission connectors, plus vast bills to consumers for stabilising the grids against intermittency. Moran estimates a total cost of $40,000 per Australian household. In the entire tract I could find only one mention of the intermittency of wind and solar, kids being falsely assured that batteries will solve the problem. (P122)[8]

The authors leave no chink for doubt about the warmist narrative. For example,

Work with students to jointly construct first the ‘risk from climate change’ paragraph with the words negotiated with the students, but the teacher doing the writing. (P93).

The authors claim to 9- to 10-year-olds that oil, gas and coal will run out “and are not easily or quickly replaced” (P61). Getting on for half-century ago, in 1974, I sat in the Press Gallery and heard Labor’s energy minister, Rex Connor, forecast that Australia’s oil and gas would run out in 1984. I see no reason why kids today should be alarmed by PETAA fanatics about possible problems arising in 2200 or 2300.

The book proudly cites kids’ work following trials of the program. Here’s a 9-year-old’s “assessment task” on plastics, one of the basics of modern civilisation, not to mention kids’ phones:

When plastic is made gases are released into the atmosphere. When plastic is thrown away another layer of gas is thrown onto earth. This extra heat can harm plants people and animals and maybe kill them.(P16)

Although the kids are given no information about the downsides of renewables or flaws/uncertainties in the catastrophic warming hypothesis, the book tells them to

challenge misinformation. Investigate climate myths. Students write an argument debunking the main myths about climate change (see Earth Org 2020). Students engage in debate about climate facts. (p163).

Earth Org is a green-Left pressure group which has set up straw-man arguments for kids to knock down, while ignoring the real case against renewables and computer-modelled future catastrophes.[9] Typical references cited by the book include “Denchak M, 2018: Fossil Fuels: The dirty facts. Natural Resources Defence Council New York.” As is obvious, the Council is a politically partisan green lobby, using headlines like “GOP’s [Republicans’] Climate Deniers Feeling the Heat.” Talking of myths, the manual touts Damon Gameau’s idiotic futuristic climate-virtue film “2040”, which is pure propaganda targeting little kids.

The book constantly cites NASA, but not of course for NASA’s notorious revising of historic temperature data to convert flat trends to rising trends. The only conservative source I could find among pages of sources was the Queensland Resources Council, cited merely on energy conversion principles (P133).

Throughout, the booklet takes the extremist position that the entire 1DegC warming of the past century is human-caused through emissions with no room for natural drivers such as multi-decade oceanic cycles. The text says re-assuringly, “The emphasis is not being alarmist and creating fear, but on reinforcing our interdependence and responsibility to help each other.” (P43). But then teachers are referred to doozies from the ABC like “Heatwaves may mean Sydney is too hot for people to live in ‘within decades’. (P106) and from The Guardian, Jan 2013, “Global food crisis will worsen as heatwaves damage crops, research finds”. (P113). Fact: food output is well outpacing population growth. And there is this, “Scientists estimate that the total collapse of Thwaites glacier would add half a metre to the sea level….” (P136). The actual time frame there is 200-1000 years hence, if ever.

A big theme is “trusting scientists” – do they deserve it? check out Climate-gate 2009. The book says of 11-to-12-year-olds: “They have begun to describe and explain phenomena … aligning themselves with the world of scientists, and understanding that we have to listen to scientists and act on their advice if we are to slow down climate change.” (P87). The authors even urge kids to donate money to activists at the Polar Bears International green lobby. (P69). Teachers also rattle the cash can: “In Years 3-4, students continue their local advocacy … They might be involved in raising money for an environmental cause.” (P62).

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5 Comments

  1. Tony – what with “green” school assemblies, and climate change educational manuals, children on leaving school (and/or university) are going to be well and truly brainwashed. But then “catch them young” has always been the way.

    I wonder if they’ll have the reasoning capacity as young adults to wonder why their taxes are so high and why the way of life they enjoyed as children is no longer available to them?

    Like

  2. In the days when I was allowed to troll at the Guardian there used to be a hilarious commenter, a primary school teacher (Australian, I think) called GreenAngelChloe, who recounted how she liked to make the children in her charge cry with her song “No more snow”. She was so weird that some hard-hearted Graun commenter accused her of being a sceptic double agent, and she went away.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s K-12 “education” for you. Not about promoting autonomy and critical thinking tools but about employing the methods of Dr Edward Bernays.

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