Just For Schools

JUST FOR SCHOOLS

JUST FOR SCHOOLS

The science standards of 36 states (plus the District of Columbia), as of 2019, explicitly acknowledge the reality of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. These include the 20 states (plus DC) to have adopted the Next Generation Science standards (NGSS) which include climate change as a part of a so-called Disciplinary Core Idea on the earth and space sciences. Of the state standards in the remaining 14 states, five mention anthropogenic climate change as a possibility, four fail to mention it altogether and worst of all, five mention it but misrepresent it as a matter of scientific debate.

There are a growing number of bills at both state and federal level to mandate the teaching of climate change. Two have passed. In 2022, New Jersey led the nation requiring climate learning from K-12.  Connecticut followed. Its law, making teaching climate change mandatory from 5-12, goes into effect July, 2023.  Oregon and California are considering similar bills.

State science standards lack the force of law but compliance is expected. Earth sciences and environmental sciences are however, not widely required for graduation from high school.

In 2014-2015 a questionnaire was sent to 1,500 science teachers across the nation and it appeared (this is the good news) that climate change was taught in 90% of all public middle schools and about 98% of all public high school. The bad news is that 4 in 10 science teachers reported that they “emphasize that recent increases in temperature are probably due to natural causes”, 6 in 10 said that they encouraged students “to come to their own conclusions about the causes of global warming”, almost as many said that they encouraged students “to debate the likely cause of global warming”, and almost 3 in 10 said that they gave “equal tine to perspectives that raise doubt that humans are causing climate change.” The bulk of this copy came from Glenn Branch’s paper, Science Teachers in the Hot Seat. I urge you to read the entire paper, produced for the American Federation of Teachers.

There are a growing number of great resources for teachers below.

Climate Change Education Should Empower Students to take Action

CURRENT NEWS

Climate deniers coming for your kids

09/13/23
As if the fear of rampaging gunmen or fights to ban books about people of color, LGBTQ+ families, or basic human functions aren’t enough of a distraction for U.S. children as they return to schools…
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Climate Science Is under Attack in Classrooms

By Scott Waldman 09/12/23
Political battles over climate change are increasingly being fought in the classroom. Conservative activists and politicians in states across the country are trying to limit or distort the teaching of climate science to schoolchildren, marking…
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As School Started in the US, So Did the School Closures for Heat

By Eric Roston 09/09/23
Susan Eckert teaches advanced placement biology at Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey. Her room sits on the second floor, right next to the lower level's heat-absorbing black tar roof. On hot days, Eckert…
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This California high school includes sustainability and green jobs in its curriculum

By Anya Kamenetz 09/07/23
Jesika Gonzalez will tell you that she wasn’t the biggest fan of Porterville, California, while she was growing up. “When I was younger, I was very, like, angsty,” the 18-year-old said as she flicked her…
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Nonprofit trains science teachers to weave storytelling into climate lessons

By YCC Team 09/01/23
Writing poems and interviewing family members might sound like assignments for a language arts class. But a Washington State-based nonprofit called IslandWood is helping middle school science teachers weave these sorts of activities into their…
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Climate Literacy Must Be Taught in Schools

By Bob Leonard 08/28/23
No matter how much progress we make in reducing the GHGs in our atmosphere (so far we’ve made none), ecosystem damage and severe weather events will continue for decades. Children in pre-K today will spend…
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Pennsylvania Solar for Schools Program Is a Win-Win-Win-Win

By Matthew Bourne 08/22/23
The Steelton-Highspire School District is located just outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In a move to overcome years of budget challenges, the districted recently installed 3500 solar panels on an old landfill.
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Climate education that builds hope and agency, not fear

By Jeffrey D. Corbin and Others 08/09/23
The urgency of the climate crisis grows every year; meanwhile, disinformation and politicization have made communicating the science of climate change increasingly challenging. For the past 2 decades, such communication efforts have focused mainly on…
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As U.S. swelters under extreme heat, how will the temperatures affect students?

By Aliza Chasan 08/09/23
As a sizzling summer comes to a close, students and teachers across the U.S. could be returning to hot classrooms at schools that are not equipped to deal with sweltering temperatures.
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In a First-Grade Classroom, Lessons on Optimism and Climate Change

By Josh Ocampo 06/19/23
In June 2020, New Jersey became the first state in the country to mandate climate change education in schools. Under this mandate, which went into effect during the 2022-23 school year, K-12 public schools must…
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Penguins in Your Fridge? These 7-Year-Olds Have Climate Solutions.

By Cara Buckley 06/16/23
Standing at the front of her classroom at Slackwood Elementary School north of Trenton, N.J., one afternoon in June, Michelle Liwacz asked her first graders to consider a problem: Antarctica is getting warmer. What could…
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New Jersey is teaching kids about climate. Opponents call it ‘indoctrination.’

By Anya Kamenetz 06/07/23
Carolyn McGrath thought she was ready for her testimony in front of the New Jersey Department of Education. An art teacher, she had dressed in a jaunty polka-dot blouse and chunky green necklace, and had…
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE THE TEACHING OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN SCHOOLS

A seventh climate change education bill in New York

03/26/21
Senate Bill 4781 would, if enacted, require the state commissioner of education to "make recommendations to the board of regents relating to adjusting curricula for social studies, economics, geography, and government classes in New York schools…

Senate Bill S4781

03/26/21
Requires the commissioner of education to make recommendations to the board of regents relating to adjusting curricula for certain classes to include climate change education  

Resolution to support climate change education introduced in Congress

03/26/21
House Resolution 29, introduced in the House of Representatives on January 11, 2021, would, if adopted, express the House's support for "teaching climate change in public and private schools at all grade levels."  

H.Res.29 – Supporting the teaching of climate change in schools.

03/26/21
Ms. Lee of California (for herself, Ms. Moore of Wisconsin, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Levin of Michigan, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Panetta, Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Espaillat, Ms. Norton, Mr. Tonko, Ms. Castor of Florida, Mrs. Hayes, Mrs. Dingell, Mr. Lowenthal, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Ms. Meng, Mr. Morelle, Ms. Velázquez, Mr. Cleaver, Mr. Blumenauer, Mrs. Watson Coleman, Ms. Clarke of New York, Mr. Hastings,…

KEY RESOURCES

STEM Lessons for Educators – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

09/11/23
Explore standards-aligned lessons from NASA-JPL in science, technology, engineering and math for students for grades K-12. Engage students in NASA missions exploring Earth and space.

The Journal of Climate Literacy in Education

09/07/23
Climate Literacy in Education (CLE) is a peer-reviewed, open-access scholarly journal that publishes practical, teacher-oriented content on all aspects of climate literacy education at all grade levels and across all subject areas (primarily K-16, but…

NOAA, Smithsonian and fed partners seeking suggestions to update key climate literacy guide

03/23/23
NOAA, as part of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), is requesting suggestions on structure, topics, and content to help update a key national climate literacy guide used by educators, policymakers, and scientists across…

CLEAN – a Collection of Climate and Energy Education Resources

06/16/22
A team of educators and scientists has reviewed and organized the best free teaching resources for K-12 through college. Go Entire Collection Activities Videos Visualizations Featured Resource Earth: An animated...

Columbia Climate School

01/04/22
The Columbia Climate School's mission is to develop and inspire knowledge-based solutions and educate future leaders for just and prosperous societies on a healthy planet.

For Educators

07/08/21
The following organizations provide reviewed listings of the best available student and educators resources related to global climate change, including NASA products.

U.S. Department of Energy Education Resources

06/04/21
The D.O.E. provides a collection of energy fundamentals videos, K-12 education resources, Spanish content, and more.

Climate Change is Our Generation’s Biggest Challenge

03/26/21
3 Million Students Educated on Climate Science, Impacts and Solutions    

High-level event: Education – A key driver to scale-up climate action

03/26/21
This event brought together ministers of environment and education, and international organizations to discuss how education can enhance the implementation of INDCs and climate action. Good practices were showcased. A guidance document for policymakers and ACE focal…

Living Landscapes Climate Science Project

03/26/21
Funded by NASA, the Living Landscapes Climate Science Project is a comprehensive set of culture-based climate science educational resources for native communities. Learn more about NASA's role in developing the curriculum.

NASA’s Climate Kids

03/26/21
NASA’s Climate Kids website brings climate science to life with fun games, interactive features and exciting articles.

Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network

03/26/21
The CLEAN project, a part of the National Science Digital Library, provides a reviewed collection of resources to aid students' understanding of the core ideas in climate and energy science, coupled with the tools to…

Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network

03/26/21
This web site houses a reviewed collection of K-20 educational resources meant to help students’ understand the core ideas in climate and energy science. These resources have been linked to the essential climate and energy…

Global Climate Change: The Effects of Global Warming

03/26/21
Students conduct an experiment to determine CO2 levels in four different gases, examine evidence of global warming in our environment, and consider their own role in contributing to global warming.  

NASA Wavelength

03/26/21
This reviewed collection of NASA Earth and space science resources is for educators of all levels: K-12, higher education and informal science education. Find climate resources in the collection at the following link, which can…

Global Climate Change: Understanding the Greenhouse Effect

03/26/21
Changes to Earth's global climate have had and will have major consequences for life on Earth. Using evidence preserved in ice for tens of thousands of years, scientists are searching for an understanding of the…

National Climate Assessment Resources for Educators

03/26/21
The National Climate Assessment offers a wealth of actionable science about the causes, effects, risks and possible responses to human-caused climate change. NOAA, the NCAnet Education Affinity Group, and members of the CLEAN Network have developed a series…

NOAA: Teaching Climate

03/26/21
This website contains reviewed resources for teaching about climate and energy.

Climate Change Lessons: JPL Education

03/26/21
This collection of climate change lessons and activities for grades K-12 is aligned with Next Generation Science and Common Core Math Standards and incorporates NASA missions and science along with current events and research.

Climate Change Education

03/26/21
A large body of scientific information indicates that global climate change is unequivocal, almost certainly is caused mostly by human activities, is already causing significant harm, and as it continues, holds great risks for our…

Climate Change Education

03/26/21
Watershed STEM Grantees share stories about how they implement their projects, adapt to challenges, and work collaboratively towards a blue planet in the eeBLUE: Watershed Chronicles blog. This month, Dr. Jennifer Jones and Dr. Heather…

Next Generation Science Standards

03/26/21
Next Generation Science Standards identifies the science all K-12 students should know. These new standards are based on the National Research Council's A Framework for K-12 Science Education. The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association,…

AFT and First Book unveil to Kill a Mockingbird

03/26/21
AFT and First Book unveil to Kill a Mockingbird

MORE NEWS

Students and climate activists push local universities to fully cut ties from fossil fuel industry

By Alecia Reid   05/31/23  
Colleges and universities across the country are investing in climate education and research, but not all of them are practicing what they preach.
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An Email from NYSERDA

05/26/23  
Dear School Leaders and Energy Efficiency Advocates, As the summer is fast approaching, we wanted to share an exciting opportunity with you and your network of educators. The NYS Clean Energy Educators Institute is a…
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Most teachers support teaching students about climate change, survey finds

By YCC Team   05/18/23  
Kids today will face a future with more severe droughts, stronger storms, and rising sea levels. Yet many schools are not preparing students for the climate of tomorrow. “Of course there are exceptions … but…
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Oberlin Environmental Dashboard

05/11/23  
An animated display of current electricity and water use and environmental conditions in the entire community. “Flash” the energy squirrel and “Walley the Walleye” narrate the dynamic story.
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Utah State Board of Education considers removing ‘climate change’ from curriculum

By Megan Pickett and Nate Larsen   05/03/23  
When the Utah State Board of Education meets on Thursday, May 4, they will have a controversial topic to discuss — whether the term “climate change” is too politically charged to be taught to students.…
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America’s Education Culture War is Taking on Climate Change

By Alejandro De La Garza   03/29/23  
If you attend a college-level earth science class in Ohio in the coming years, you might learn about how climate change is causing heat waves, flooding, and record storms, and how humanity must rapidly forestall…
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Texas weakens climate science education guidelines

By Scott Waldman   03/19/23  
Texas education officials adopted changes to internal guidance on textbooks that could steer schools to buy books that misinform students about global warming.
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Education is missing from Massachusetts’ climate plans, advocates say

By Dharna Noor   03/17/23  
Gabriella Coletta, Boston City councilor for District 1, has been passionate about fighting climate change since the sixth grade. Back then, her teacher organized a special unit at Mario Umana Academy in East Boston focused…
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WA First in Nation to Bring Climate-Change Education to Classrooms

By Eric Tegethoff   03/13/23  
In science teacher Ali Coker’s sophomore biology class, students became farming activists attending a G7 summit. Coker wove in facts about food insecurity, and by the end of the week, her pupils were writing plans…
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How teaching kids energy efficiency in schools can benefit families at home

By YCC Team   02/07/23  
Students' enthusiasm for energy efficiency can ripple outward, making an impact beyond the classroom. The post How teaching kids energy efficiency in schools can benefit families at home appeared first on Yale Climate Connections. ...
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USDA announces rigorous new school nutrition standards

By Laura Reiley   02/03/23  
New rules aimed at reducing sugars, fat and salt and increasing whole grains in school meals are drawing backlash, even as childhood obesity increases
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Connecticut becomes second US state to make climate change studies must for grades 5 to 12

By Mukul Sharma   12/18/22  
Climate Change studies will be mandatory in the US state of Connecticut from grades 5 to 12. The development, hailed as ‘landmark’ by climate change activists, comes after a new law passed earlier this year…
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‘Face it head on’: Connecticut makes climate change studies compulsory

By Maya Yang   12/17/22  
Enshrining the curriculum in law insulates the subject from budget cuts and culture wars related to the climate crisisStarting next July, Connecticut will become one of the first states in America to mandate climate change…
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Virginia is changing the way it teaches history, social studies. Here’s how

By Hannah Natanson   11/16/22  
Over the weekend, the Virginia Department of Education released new standards of learning that, if approved next year, will radically reshape what and how students in the state learn in history and social studies lessons.
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Many States Omit Climate Education. These Teachers Are Trying to Slip It In.

By Winston Choi-Schagrin   11/01/22  
In mid-October, just two weeks after Hurricane Ian struck her state, Bertha Vazquez asked her class of 7th graders to go online and search for information about climate change. Specifically, she tasked them to find…
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Subverting climate science in the classroom

By Katie Worth   06/28/22  
Oil and gas representatives influence the standards for courses and textbooks, from kindergarten to 12th grade.
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How to teach children about climate change

By Claire Seeley   06/15/22  
According to a new survey from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, over half (57%) of child and adolescent psychiatrists reported that they are working with children and young people distressed about the climate crisis and…
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‘There’s still hope for Miami.’ Inside this high school’s climate change art project

By Tribune News Service   05/29/22  
The April 27 town hall, which featured a panel of climate experts, was part of local artist Xavier Cortada's The Underwater, a social art project that teaches students about how the climate crisis would impact…
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CT schools will soon be required to teach climate change

By Ginny Monk   05/19/22  
Connecticut schools will soon be required to teach climate change as a part of the science curriculum, a move state legislators and advocates say will mean changes at a small percentage of schools that aren’t…
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How the oil and gas industry is trying to hold US public schools hostage

By Leanna First-Arai   05/04/22  
The oil and gas industry wants to play a word-and-picture association game with you. Think of four images: a brightly colored backpack stuffed with pencils, a smiling teacher with a tablet tucked under her arm,…
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Climate Change Education Is Failing Our Youth

By Annika Larson   12/17/21  
“What are you studying at Columbia?” my friend asks as she helps me pack for my move from North Dakota to New York City. “Climate and Society,” I promptly respond.
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MISEDUCATION: How Climate Change Is Taught in America

By Katie Worth   11/17/21  
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns, mainly caused by human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels.
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Why it’s a mistake to teach climate change only in science class

By Valerie Strauss   09/22/21  
The Washington Post did a recent poll on the attitudes of teens on various subjects, and there was a surprising result on what they see as the biggest threats to their generation: Only 49 percent…
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‘Our house is burning’: student climate protesters urge their universities to go carbon neutral

By Alexandra Villarreal   09/20/21  
As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the US Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.
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A third of Gen Z says climate change is a top concern. A new report says the climate crisis is pushing young adults to pursue more sustainability-focused career paths.

By Rebecca Ungarino   09/07/21  
Young adults born in 1997 onward are graduating from college and entering the workforce as the Earth is experiencing some of its hottest years on record. Studies show members of the cohort known as Generation…
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BBC Mocked For Teaching Kids Climate Change Will Have Nice Upsides

By Dan Robitzski   07/03/21  
Even reputable news organizations can utterly screw up, which is exactly what the BBC did when it published a widely-mocked study guide for children that listed 15 “positive impacts” that global climate change could have…
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America’s schools are crumbling. Fixing them could save lives — and the planet.

By Levi Pulkkinen   07/03/21  
Before the COVID-19 pandemic made airflow a life-or-death issue, ventilation experts rarely tested the air inside U.S. schools. That was probably a mistake, said Kevin Thomas, the business representative for the union representing ventilation workers…
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Amid climate change crisis, Pa.’s science curriculum falls short

By Michael E. Mann   06/28/21  
Climate change is an ongoing crisis, so it’s no surprise that a solid majority of Pennsylvanians — 78%, according to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication’s estimate — think that schools should teach about…
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What are Competencies and Sustainable Education?

By Sofía García-Bullé   06/16/21  
Professor Lozano is a teacher at Gävle University in Sweden; he specializes in organizational sustainability issues and is currently Specialties Editor-in-Chief of the journal Frontiers in Sustainability. His extensive training and experience managing the intersections…
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Infusing climate change and sustainability into the medical school curriculum

By James Bevan and Paul Roderick   06/07/21  
The climate emergency is a health emergency. This fact is now indisputable and it is common knowledge that climate change and environmental degradation pose an unprecedented threat to human health. Increasing intensity and frequency of…
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CCI scientists provide resources to educate Maine youth about climate change

By Beth Staples   06/07/21  
Colleagues at the Climate Change Institute are collaborating to strengthen climate education for youth in grades 5–12 in Maine. CCI faculty and staff have created the Climate Education Resources webpage to provide educators with a…
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What is ocean literacy and why do we need it?

By Douglas Broom   05/24/21  
The ocean covers more than 70% of our planet’s surface. It is the last and largest unexplored area on Earth. Yet too few of us really understand how it is inextricably connected to all aspects…
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On-Demand Panel for Students: Covering the Climate Crisis

By The Learning Network   05/13/21  
Climate change is one of the most monumental news stories of our time. We know that the planet has already started experiencing alarming trends related to this crisis, from increasing frequency of wildfires and floods…
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The Unexpected Ways Climate Change Is Reshaping College Education

By Ciara Nugent   04/16/21  
n 2018, Scott McAulay had a “Wizard of Oz moment.” He was a final-year architecture student at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland when the U.N. published a report warning that the world had 12…
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Georgia science teacher helps students recognize misinformation about the climate

By Diana Madson and Sarah Kennedy   03/30/21  
Teachers have a lot to cover in their classrooms, so many skim over climate change. But Sarah Ott, a middle-school science teacher in Dalton, Georgia, is committed to making time for it.
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Teaching Climate Literacy Helps Prepare Students to Deal with Their Inheritance

By Frank Carini   03/28/21  
Two Rhode Island lawmakers, like many others, have been inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. The teenager’s efforts have reinforced the importance of teaching students about climate change, climate justice, and sustainability.
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Unleashing the creativity of teachers and students to combat climate change: An opportunity for global leadership

By Christina Kwauk and Rebecca Winthrop   03/26/21  
hat if, with a little leadership from global heads of state, including U.S. President Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Johnson, there was an opportunity to catalyze a movement at home and abroad that combats climate…
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Why don’t more U.S. schools teach about climate change?

By Lucy Jaffee   02/24/21  
More than three out of every four Americans want schools to teach children about global warming, but most schools are struggling to implement climate change courses because of opposition from skeptics and because teachers are…
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Many states get poor grades on their climate education standards

By Diana Madson   01/11/21  
Many states do not require schools to adequately teach students about climate change. That’s according to a report from the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund and the National Center for Science Education, or NCSE. They…
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Climate Change to Become Part of Core Curriculum in Public Schools

By Grace Chen   06/01/20  
Climate change has never been a consistent part of school science curriculum. Some teachers have touched on the subject, but few have delved into the matter with the depth it requires for thorough understanding. Sometimes…
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How a program in washington state is bringing climate change into the classroom

By Miyo McGinn   02/11/20  
In some parts of the country, climate change may be the most controversial subject that science teachers bring up in their classrooms. “People oppose environmental things because they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s just a bunch of…
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Teachers and students push for climate change education in California

By Sydney Johnson   10/08/19  
As students around the globe demand action by their government leaders to protect the environment, school boards across California have taken steps to recognize the impact of climate change on the environment and their students.
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Teach Our Children — About Climate Change

By Oren Pizmony-Levy and Aaron Pallas   09/17/19  
A large majority of Americans support teaching primary and secondary school students about global warming and climate change, according to new findings from The Public Matters: How Americans View Education, Psychology and Health, a public-survey…
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Teaching global warming in a charged political climate

By Caroline Preston   07/06/19  
Lau, 42, has taught science for seven years at Piedmont Intermediate School, which is housed in an airy, modern building overlooking a wheat field and serves predominantly middle-class families, many of whom work in the…
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How Should Climate Change Be Taught In Schools Across America?

By Andrew Urevig   06/20/19  
Yet the education system, like the climate system, is complex. Across the country, from elementary to high school — and from science class to social studies — other teachers are taking the initiative to tackle…
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8 Ways To Teach Climate Change In Almost Any Classroom

By Anya Kamenetz   04/25/19  
NPR/Ipsos conducted a national poll recently and found that more than 8 in 10 teachers — and a similar majority of parents — support teaching kids about climate change. But in reality, it's not always…
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Should climate change be taught in schools? Parents and teachers think so

By Study International Staff   04/25/19  
Climate change has long been a global issue, but it was recently thrust into the spotlight when young environmental activist Greta Thunberg initiated a worldwide school strike climate movement that fast became viral.
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Most Teachers Don’t Teach Climate Change; 4 In 5 Parents Wish They Did

By Anya Kamenetz   04/22/19  
More than 80% of parents in the U.S. support the teaching of climate change. And that support crosses political divides, according to the results of an exclusive new NPR/Ipsos poll: Whether they have children or…
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Kids to teachers: We need to talk about climate change

By Zoe Sayler   03/21/19  
Portland resolved three years ago to build climate literacy into public school curriculums, but 17-year-old Sriya Chinnam, one of the strike’s organizers, said the district hasn’t delivered: “We are demanding that they take charge and…
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“Climate Confusion Among U.S. Teachers”

By Eric Plutzer, Mark McCaffrey and others   02/11/16  
The first nationwide survey of climate change education in the United States, conducted by researchers at NCSE and Pennsylvania State University, was described in "Climate Confusion Among U.S. Teachers," published (PDF) in the February 12,…
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