about how we are going to have a sustained response in our schools to the learning issues that kids face.” Yet earth science, the location in the framework for the new national standards on climate change, “is increasingly being driven out of high schools,” Anderson noted. This raises the question of how the current structure of schools and curricula—and a teaching force that has not, in general, had the education necessary to teach effectively about climate change—will support the kind of sustained response that is needed.
Challenge 2: Finding the proper role of formal schooling in the national response. The workshop provided a variety of messages about the role of formal schooling, Anderson noted, which can have quite different implications. First, Daniel Edelson proposed a definition of geo-literacy that encompasses elements that fit within the traditional science curriculum (although he placed greater emphasis on human systems reasoning than the traditional science curriculum has), but also includes decision making, which has not had a place in the science curriculum. Thomas Marcinkowski offered another conception of what might go into the school curriculum, incorporating both traditional aspects (knowledge, cognitive skills, and competencies) and something new, in this case dispositions and behavior.
There was a lot of discussion, Anderson noted, about the degree to which these ideas present a significant challenge to science education as it is now configured. Core ideas are the guiding structures of current frameworks, but they are generally taught as a list rather than as an integrated set of ideas, he noted. Currently missing, in his view, are the crosscutting concepts and the related practices. Eddie Boyes, in turn, identified the “zone between the things nobody will do and the things everybody will do as the natural place where education can be effective—suggesting that that’s what schools should focus on.” While these ideas may converge, they do not at present suggest a complete consensus about the conception of or priorities for climate change education, Anderson remarked.
Anderson’s own research has looked at how young people decide what the truth is about a situation they are considering, and he has found that they usually make use of personal and family knowledge, as well as ideas from media and popular culture. “They often make judgments about bias and self-interest in people and in organizations making the claims—they are often pretty perceptive about why you would not trust a particular person or group,” he added. They rarely make use of knowledge they learned in school, he noted, or make explicit judgments about the scientific quality of evidence or arguments. Anderson finds this very troubling—and a real challenge to schools—noting that dialogue can take place only if people “understand when the people that they don’t like