Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

This State Might Require Public Schools to Teach Climate Change

Popular
This State Might Require Public Schools to Teach Climate Change
Children's books about the environment. U.S. Air Force photo / Karen Abeyasekere

Reading, writing, arithmetic ... and climate science. That doesn't have the same ring as the "three Rs" of education, but Connecticut could one day require the subject to be on the curriculum, The Associated Press reported.

A Connecticut state lawmaker is pushing a bill to mandate the teaching of climate change in public schools throughout the state, starting in elementary school.


"A lot of schools make the study of climate change an elective, and I don't believe it should be an elective," Democratic state Rep. Christine Palm told the AP. "I think it should be mandatory, and I think it should be early so there's no excuse for kids to grow up ignorant of what's at stake."

If House Bill 5011 succeeds, Connecticut could be the first state to make such a requirement by law, according to the National Center for Science Education. Last year, a similar bill was introduced in Connecticut but ultimately failed.

The proposal is not as controversial as it seems and would probably be welcomed by a lot of parents. In fact, a 2018 report from the the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, revealed that a large majority of Americans believe climate change should be taught in schools.

The bill is a welcome rebuke to at least 10 state legislatures that want to alter how climate change is addressed in state educational standards. The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank, has made efforts to undermine climate science and has drawn criticism for mailing hundreds of thousands of copies of its publication "Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming" to science teachers around the country.

Connecticut is one of 20 states and Washington, DC that have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, which introduces global climate change as a core topic in middle school, the AP reported. The specifics of the curriculum and its instruction is left up to individual districts.

Some Connecticut educators wonder if Palm's bill is even necessary, since the state already adopted the Next Generation Science Standards in 2015.

"I do believe if the state has adopted standards, you're teaching those standards, you're going to be assessed on those standards," Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, told the AP. "If you're a district in Connecticut, your curriculum is addressing it already."

But Palm believes her bill has legs given the importance of the climate crisis.

"I'd love to see poetry be mandated. That's never going to happen," she told the AP. "That's not life or death."

Map shows tracks and strength of Atlantic tropical cyclones in 2020. Blues are tropical depressions and tropical storms; yellow through red show hurricanes, darker shades meaning stronger ones. Master0Garfield / Wikimedia Commons

By Astrid Caldas

As we reach the official end of hurricane season, 2020 will be one for the record books. Looking back at these long, surprising, sometimes downright crazy past six months (seven if you count when the first named storms actually started forming), there are many noteworthy statistics and patterns that drive home the significance of this hurricane season, and the ways climate change may have contributed to it.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Protesters shouting slogans on megaphones during the climate strike on September 25 in Lisbon, Portugal. Hugo Amaral / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Dana Drugmand

An unprecedented climate lawsuit brought by six Portuguese youths is to be fast-tracked at Europe's highest court, it was announced today.

The European Court of Human Rights said the case, which accuses 33 European nations of violating the applicants' right to life by disregarding the climate emergency, would be granted priority status due to the "importance and urgency of the issues raised."

Read More Show Less

Trending

A child plays with a planet Earth ball during the Extinction Rebellion Strike in London on Apr. 18, 2019. Brais G. Rouco / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

Will concern over the climate crisis stop people from having children?

Read More Show Less

By Liz Kimbrough

Six grassroots environmental activists will receive the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in a virtual ceremony this year. Dubbed the "Green Nobel Prize," this award is given annually to environmental heroes from each of the world's six inhabited continents.

Read More Show Less
Mount Ili Lewotolok spews ash during a volcanic eruption in Lembata, East Nusa Tenggara on November 29, 2020. Joy Christian / AFP / Getty Images

A large volcano in Indonesia erupted Sunday, sending a plume of smoke and ash miles into the air and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate the region.

Read More Show Less