Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

This State Might Require Public Schools to Teach Climate Change

Popular
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."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Deserted view of NH24 near Akshardham Temple on day nine of the 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus on April 2, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

India is home to 21 of the world's 30 most polluted cities, but recently air pollution levels have started to drop dramatically as the second-most populated nation endures the second week of a 21-day lockdown amidst coronavirus fears, according to The Weather Channel.

Read More Show Less
A Unicef social mobilizer uses a speaker as she carries out public health awareness to prevent the spread and detect the symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus by UNICEF at Mangateen IDP camp in Juba, South Sudan on April 2. ALEX MCBRIDE / AFP / Getty Images

By Eddie Ndopu

  • South Africa is ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic in Africa.
  • Its townships are typical of high-density neighbourhoods across the continent where self-isolation will be extremely challenging.
  • The failure to eradicate extreme poverty is a threat beyond the countries in question.
Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The outside of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in White Oak, Md. on Nov. 9, 2015. Al Drago / CQ Roll Call

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of two malarial drugs to treat and prevent COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, despite only anecdotal evidence that either is proven effective in treating or slowing the progression of the disease in seriously ill patients.

Read More Show Less
Some speculate that the dissemination of the Antarctic beeches or Nothofagus moorei (seen above in Australia) dates to the time when Antarctica, Australia and South America were connected. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

A team of scientists drilled into the ground near the South Pole to discover forest and fossils from the Cretaceous nearly 90 million years ago, which is the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, as the BBC reported.

Read More Show Less
The recovery of elephant seals is one of the "signs of hope" that scientists say show the oceans can recover swiftly if we let them. NOAA / CC BY 2.0

The challenges facing the world's oceans are well known: plastic pollution could crowd out fish by 2050, and the climate crisis could wipe out coral reefs by 2100.

Read More Show Less