Public School Climate Lessons Terrorize Virginia’s Children

Courtesy of the BBC

by James C. Sherlock

A headline from the home page of Save the Children:

Climate Change Is a Grave Threat to Children’s Survival.” 

Climate change is thus not a “challenge.” Not a threat to children’s happiness. But rather a threat to their “survival.”

That is what children are being taught in many Virginia public school classrooms. Kids, being sponges, have learned that lesson, and are understandably severely depressed about it.

Parents and the Board of Education, take note. That cannot be allowed to continue.

For years, studies have shown the existence of psychological distress about climate change that has dimensions within feelings, emotions, cognition and behavior. That stress has been demonstrated to disproportionately affect young people.

The largest and most international study of climate anxiety in young people was peer-reviewed and posted in The Lancet in December 2021.

Regardless of one’s personal feelings about climate change, no caring adult would want, as revealed in that study, children feeling “very or extremely worried” (46% of children in the United States) or, worse, negatively affected in their ability to function (26% of children in the United States).

None would want near half or more than half of children reporting feeling “sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless and guilty” and “betrayed” about anything, much less a phenomenon that is measurable as a current event with which we are dealing but arguably is overstated by progressives as a future prospect.

Climate change can, and should, be taught to children. But it must be done without terrorizing them. That cannot be too much to ask.

Scaring children to turn them into political activists is child abuse per se.

It must stop.

Children do not come to such conclusions on their own.

When parents consider the unacceptable things their children are being taught in Virginia public schools, they normally first think of the lies they are being told about race and gender and entirely premature introductions into adult sex.

Those are of course part of the integrated agenda of progressives to change America fundamentally. They don’t care if they destroy it in the process.

The lessons being taught in our schools on climate change may be the most dangerous of all to the health of our children.

I reviewed the latest documentation on how earth science is to be taught in Virginia, VDOE Earth Science Instruction and Assessment Support Document August 16, 2022.

The full implementation of the 2018 Science Standards of Learning and the 2018 Science Curriculum Framework adopted by the Virginia Board of Education (BOE) in October, 2018 started this school year. But progressive environmental science teachers (how many are not?) jumped as soon as the new standards were published, if not before.

That linked document notes that among the changes from 2010:

Global warming is explicitly addressed in ES.12 of the 2018 Standards and was not explicitly addressed in the 2010 Standards; however, evidence of climate change was interwoven throughout the 2010 Standards and Curriculum Framework.

Greater emphasis on human influence on atmospheric composition and dynamics was added into ES.11.

That assessment was modest.

I find greater emphasis on human influence on the environment to be a defining difference from 2010 throughout the 2018 standards, not just in ES 11.

That change was absolutely crucial to the progressive narrative. If the left does not hold humans responsible, it cannot insist on controlling human activity.

Which is the progressives’ un-denied goal.

The linked document leaves no doubt in a side-by-side comparison of 2010 and 2018 standards that the Democratic BOE in 2018 moved hard left to push the progressive messages of climate change to children.

In 2018, standards were changed to require teaching that “the big bang theory explains the origin of the universe.” You know, the “firecracker” theory. It was as a secondary benefit especially useful to progressives to shame children raised in religious homes. Not a bug, but a feature.


NASA now believes that, thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope, the origins of the universe are much more complex than were explained by “big bang” as understood in, say, 2018.

Sixth Graders. Now let’s jump to ES.6. Environmental science and theory taught to 6th graders. That is where Virginia’s BOE Democrats in 2018 really found their legs.

A new ES.6 standard in 2018 was “global resource use has environmental liabilities and benefits.” Fair enough.

But why are we sure that letting a progressive teacher loose with ES6 will result in all “liabilities” and no “benefits” in global resource use.

And that a progressive description of liabilities will result in children feeling “very or extremely worried” and “negatively affected in their ability to function.”

Or that for many teachers, teaching “all energy sources have environmental and economic effects” will result in the lesson learned that carbon energy has all negative effects and “clean” energy has all positive effects. And that the downsides of the use of rare earth metals favored by progressives in the quest for clean energy might not make it into the conversation.

And why do we not find in the syllabus any lesson that requires discussion of the current instability and unreliability of green energy and the costs and challenges, both economic and environmental, of green energy itself and of disposing of its waste products.

We know the answer. Because that the left wants one narrative taught. And only one.

Bottom line. Even the American Psychological Association, itself radicalized, in its press release (read it – I rest my case on APA radicalization) issued in partnership with ecoAmerica included “tips for individuals” that, when they got to it on page 44, started with:

1. Build belief in one’s own resilience.
2. Foster optimism.

Reading the first 43 pages would not foster optimism.

I support the teaching of earth science in K-12, including climate change science. Meaning what we have observed.

I even support the teaching of climate change theory, as long as competing theories about long term effects and necessary and effective countermeasures are presented.

I support it as long as it presents the enormously difficult economic, physical and scientific challenges to the shift. And does not present those challenges as if they were solved.

I support it as long as in the teaching of earth science schools do not, as at present in many classrooms, teach “climate change is a grave threat to children’s survival.”

What progressive climate theory as currently taught is proven to doom is the emotional health of children. As actual science continually demonstrates.

Child abuse is a Class 4 felony in Virginia.

So stop it.