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.
CREDIT: UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, 10/25/19