Teach Your Children Well - About Climate Change
By the time today's K-12 students grow up, the challenges posed by climate change are expected to be severe and sweeping. Now, for the first time, new federal science standards due out this month will recommend that U.S. public school students learn about this climatic shift taking place.
Mark McCaffrey of the National Center for Science Education says the lessons will fill a big gap.
"Only 1 in 5 [students] feel like they've got a good handle on climate change from what they've learned in school," he says, adding that surveys show two-thirds of students say they're not learning much at all about it. "So the state of climate change education in the U.S. is abysmal."
We all learn the water cycle. But how many can draw a picture of the carbon cycle? It would include plants taking in carbon to grow, then dying, and eventually turning into fossil fuels like coal and oil, which then put carbon back into the atmosphere when burned.
Even when this is taught, McCaffrey says, climate is often sidelined. Why take Earth science, when what you need to get into college is biology and chemistry? A recent report on climate literacy recommends sweeping changes to address such issues.
On top of this, there's the political battle over how climate change is taught. Last month, Colorado became the 18th state in recent years — including seven this year — to consider an "Academic Freedom Act."
Climate change blackboard image via Shutterstock.
Read more at NPR.