Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

4 in 5 Parents Wish Teachers Taught Climate Change – But Most Teachers Aren’t

Climate
Hero Images / Getty Images

Across the political aisle, a majority of American parents support teaching climate change in schools even though most teachers currently do not.


According to a poll conducted by NPR and non-partisan research company Ipsos, nearly four-in-five Americans — children or not — support teaching climate change in schools, two-thirds of which are Republicans and 9-in-10 Democrats. Despite such support, more than half of teachers say they don't actually cover climate change in their schools — or even talk about it, for that matter.

"You cannot explain the story of the Earth without it, and you cannot talk about most natural sciences without it," Patrick McCormick, a former middle school science teacher in Alaska, told EcoWatch.

The survey is the first to gauge both public and teacher opinion on how climate change should be taught, reports NPR. Conducted between March 21 and 22, the poll asked more than 1,000 adults ranging from adults to millennials from the continental U.S. questions about whether schools should teach about climate change and its impacts on the environment, economy and society or to rate the threat global warming or climate change poses to the U.S.

Almost three-quarters of Americans (71 percent) surveyed believe climate change poses a threat to the country and though most agree that it should be taught in schools, one-third do not think impacts on the environment, economy or society need to be addressed in the classroom.

Even though most states have classroom standards that require at least mentioning human-caused climate change, most teachers aren't doing so and less than half of parents are talking about it with their children.

"I think it's important to talk about [climate change] in the context of certain classes, but the way high school is modeled, it would be tough to teach really effectively — especially in required classes," said McCormick. "Unfortunately, curriculum hasn't really changed in most high school classes. I read the same books in literature that my teachers did, and the kids now get taught that same thing."

A separate poll of 500 teachers found that 86 percent want climate change to be taught in schools, but two-thirds suggest it is out of their subject area. Additionally, teachers are often overworked and underpaid and prioritize other curriculum, such as science, math, basic literacy and financial education, over teaching climate change. Nearly one third of parents say they worry about parental complains and McCormick agrees, adding that he doesn't think most parents in Alaska would be receptive to their kids learning about climate change even though it is critical to understanding how the planet works and what its future might look like.

"In terms of teaching climate change, we could adequately fund education. In terms of society, we have to pass radical legislation to force people to act in the best interests of the planet," said McCormick.

Other obstacles face teachers in their desire to teach climate change; 17 percent of respondents said they don't have the materials or that the subject matter is beyond their scope of expertise, while 4 percent said their school did not allow climate change to be taught.


EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Brian Sims ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test. Brian Sims / Facebook

Brian Sims, a Democratic representative in the Pennsylvania legislature, ranted in a Facebook Live video that went viral about the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers who are pushing to reopen the state even though one of their members had a positive COVID-19 test.

Read More Show Less
Wolf pups with their mother at their den site. Design Pics / Getty Images

In another reversal of Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is having the National Park Service rescind a 2015 order that protected bears and wolves within protected lands.

Read More Show Less
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says this is a historic step for the group. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP / Getty Images

By Linda Lacina

World Health Organization officials today announced the launch of the WHO Foundation, a legally separate body that will help expand the agency's donor base and allow it to take donations from the general public.

Read More Show Less
Because of social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, in-person sessions are less possible. Merlas / Getty Images

By Nicholas Joyce

The coronavirus has resulted in stress, anxiety and fear – symptoms that might motivate a person to see a therapist. Because of social distancing, however, in-person sessions are less possible. For many, this has raised the prospect of online therapy. For clients in need of warmth and reassurance, could this work? Studies and my experience suggests it does.

Read More Show Less
A 17-year periodical cicada. Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As many parts of the planet continue to open their doors after pandemic closures, a new pest is expected to make its way into the world. After spending more than a decade underground, millions of cicadas are expected to emerge in regions of the southeastern U.S.

Read More Show Less
"Most of this fossil fuel finance flowed to wealthier countries," the report says, noting that China (pictured), Canada, Japan, and Korea provided the most public finance for dirty energy projects from 2016 to 2018.
Kevin Frayer / Stringer / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Even after the world's largest economies adopted the landmark Paris agreement to tackle the climate crisis in late 2015, governments continued to pour $77 billion a year in public finance into propping up the fossil fuel industry, according to a report released Wednesday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

An aerial view shows new vehicles that were offloaded from ships at Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics on April 26, 2020 in Wilmington, California. "Vehicles are the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in America," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. David McNew / Getty Images

Twenty-three states and Washington, DC launched a suit Wednesday to stop the Trump administration rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.

Read More Show Less