Thursday, October 10, 2019

Schools and Climate Change Education - The Good News and the Bad News

Schools are increasingly teaching kids about climate change. Many U.S. states have public school policies that include climate change curricula. A total of 36 states have climate change in their educational standards. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have adopted fact-based Next Generation Science Standards which are taught starting in middle school.

Numerous groups support teachers with educational resources. This includes the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network, the Alliance for Climate Education, and the National Center for Science Education.

A growing number of school boards that are committed to giving students access to fact-based climate change curricula. Thanks to a $70,000 grant, Clearwater educators in New York State's Hudson Valley are creating a science-based climate change curriculum. The initiative was inspired by the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater organization. Over the next couple of years 450 students and 100 teachers in Hudson Valley communities will learn about the science of global warming and the ways the climate crisis impacts the places they live. They will also learn about climate action and resilience.

However, climate education is far from universal. Republican legislators at all levels of government  are the chief reason why some students are not being taught the facts about climate change. Climate education is under attack in state houses across the nation. Through bills and resolutions Republican lawmakers are working to restrict the teaching of climate change in public schools. Many of these bills are influenced by fossil fuel funded groups like the Heartland Institute and business groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

In the UK teachers are joining the climate strikes and demanding a science-based national climate curriculum. Earlier this year a group called Teachers for Climate Truth sent a letter to the Department for Education asking for an overhaul of the UK's climate curriculum.

Tim Jones, a secondary school teacher from Lewisham, called the failure to educate kids about climate change, "negligent". "Climate and ecological breakdown will define the life of every child and student alive today," Jones said.

Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources 2010 - 2018

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