hicks_marybeth_2Here in the Midwest, we know a thing or two about climate change. Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes. It'll change.

Perhaps it's my casual attitude about weather generally, or maybe my cynicism about big science, but the revelations of data doctoring by climate scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit didn't come as a surprise to me.

With so much at stake, one must only follow the massive money and political power trails to assume there's more to this issue than an uptick in the temperature. Climate change is the issue through which citizens of the U.S. could be forced to subject our Constitution and ourselves to the sovereignty of a worldwide governing body. The ramifications for our liberty and lifestyles of an international treaty on climate change are truly frightening - much more so than melting ice caps.

So while I wasn't shocked to learn that the leaders in the epic "Chicken Little" fable better known as global warming have, for some years, compromised the scientific veracity of their research to uphold their dubious and dire claims, it occurred to me upon learning about "climategate" that once again our children are left holding the bag.

Those of us raising families know too well the drumbeat of fear that is used to manipulate our children into serfs for the environmental left. As a parent, it's taken a concerted effort to counter the onslaught of political propaganda that passes for the science curriculum, not only to help my children learn the truth, but to quell the anxiety it's meant to stir up.

I can't count the number of dinner-table conversations we've devoted to eye-opening information such as the prediction some 30 years ago of an impending ice age, or that the Earth's cycles of warming and cooling happen naturally, or that there is a corresponding relationship between Al Gore's Oscar award and Al Gore's bank account.

It is disheartening to realize that the nation's science curriculum has been hijacked by environmentalism. Is it any wonder that the United States ranks near the bottom of industrialized countries in assessments of science students, or that the National Center for Education Statistics finds our high school seniors scoring lower in science in 2007 than in 2000? It seems during those seven years that they didn't learn much hard science, but I'm betting the vast majority wrote essays on corporate America's responsibility for climate change.

We parents can attest to the trend in American classrooms toward ecology and away from real Earth science, as well as the neglect of life and physical sciences. For example, in the eighth grade, my son was forced to sit through Mr. Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," presented as fact, long after the movie's junk science had been debunked. (No alternative points of view were ever presented in the classroom, so once again we turned over our dinnertime to a conversation about accuracy in scientific research.)

To be sure, America's colleges and universities are churning out teachers well versed in the "science-lite" of ecology and environmental education. Funded with our tax dollars through the likes of the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Education, the teaching establishment is a willing partner in the environmental left's political agenda.

But the sad truth is our children have been shortchanged because they are less scientifically proficient than their counterparts around the world. Recycling projects and posters about polar bears and dioramas of rain forests (formerly known as jungles) aren't science.

They're activist lessons for a generation that is not learning how to form and test hypotheses and, worse, does not even realize that skepticism is the foundation of real scientific discovery.

Copyright 2009 Marybeth Hicks