Emmy-winning investigative reporter Katie Worth reviewed scores of textbooks, built a fifty-state database, and traveled to a dozen communities to find out what is being taught about climate change in America’s public schools.
In Miseducation, she connects the dots between fossil fuel lobbyists, flaccid textbook companies, think tanks, and the American political machine to expose a tangled web of moneyed interests and entrenched ideology. Each has played a role in the widespread, calamitous, and in some cases, intentional miseducation of schoolchildren.
I took several approaches to pitching Miseducation. To anchor the book launch with high-impact print coverage, I drafted an adapted excerpt and worked with Katie to shape it into an essay to pitch to major print outlets. I landed this in the Washington Post’s ‘Outlook’ section, which ran as a 1,900-word cover feature with custom artwork. Katie also recorded hours of audio during her reporting for the book, and we identified a handful of significant clips to include with pitches to national public radio. As a result, these clips were included in an hour-long interview about the book on WBUR’s On Point Radio that aired on pub day and syndicated nationally.
By highlighting in my pitches the importance of climate education to future climate action, I landed additional coverage in the New York Times, Slate, and The New Republic.
During the book’s launch week, I found out that the Texas State Board of Education was meeting to determine eighth grade science standards. The Texas SBOE is a group with enormous impact because the state is one of the largest purchasers of textbooks in the country, thereby influencing what content publishers include in textbooks that end up in classrooms nationwide. I watched several hours of the meeting livestream and helped Katie pitch an article that ran as a six-page reported feature in the July 2022 issue of Scientific American.
Because there’s no national curriculum in the US, academic standards vary widely from state to state. I also leveraged a map in Miseducation that graded each state on the quality of climate change education to pitch interviews with regional media outlets.
In addition to reaching a general audience, it was important that the book be covered by outlets specifically focused on climate change and education to reach policymakers, teachers, activists, and other decision makers.