How The Science Of Vaccination Is Taught (Or Not) In U.S. Schools

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Illustration: Andrea D’Aquino for HuffPost
This story about climate change and education was produced as part of the nine-part series “Are We Ready? How Schools Are Preparing — and Not Preparing — Children for Climate Change,” reported by HuffPost and The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.
When Rebecca Brewer started teaching high school biology 20 years ago, it seemed like everyone trusted science. Teaching topics like the science of vaccinations elicited little controversy. But in the past few years, she’s seen a shift. Now, every year, she reliably has a few students who push back against the topic. 
“Their parents’ opinions make their way into the classroom,” said Brewer, who teaches in Troy, Michigan. “Of course, some students will bring up the idea they’ve heard that there’s a connection between vaccinations and autism.”
The issue, teachers said, feels not only especially urgent now but also comes with increasingly high stakes: In a recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll, nearly 20%t of respondents said they wouldn’t get a coronavirus vaccine if and when it becomes available. It’s an attitude that some teachers said is reflected in their classrooms, passed down …

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