Pexels

New Jersey Becomes First State To Add Climate Change To K-12 Curriculum

Ryan Ford
Ryan Ford
June 8, 2020

In 2019, countless kids participated in the school strike for climate movement, leaving class to attend large protests advocating for action on climate change.

In 2021, climate change will officially be in classrooms, at least in New Jersey public schools, after state officials announced that the Garden State would become the first in the nation to add climate change to the state's education standards, NJ.com reported.

Climate change will be incorporated into the state's K-12 curriculum starting in September 2021.

Unsplash | Vlad Tchompalov

The new standards adopted by the state's Board of Education state that climate change will be taught across seven areas: 21st Century Life and Careers, Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, and World Languages.

Students can expect to learn about things like how climate change works, how climate change can affect personal and public health, and how to use art to address climate change, according to NJ.com.

The state's First Lady, Tammy Murphy, championed the cause of getting climate change onto the state's curriculum.

Unsplash | Amy Humphries

She reportedly met with 130 educators across the state while pushing for the inclusion of climate change.

"The adoption of these standards is much more than an added educational requirement; it is a symbol of a partnership between generations," she said in a statement.

She also noted that New Jersey is already feeling the effects of climate change, with shoreline loss, algae blooms, and super storms.

Wikimedia Commons

"It’s a really tangible problem that this generation of children will be required to face," First Lady Murphy said.

"Decades of short-sighted decision-making has fueled this crisis and now we must do all we can to help our children solve it," she continued. "This generation of students will feel the effects of climate change more than any other, and it is critical that every student is provided an opportunity to study and understand the climate crisis through a comprehensive, interdisciplinary lens."

New Jersey's Governor, Phil Murphy, added that a climate change education will be crucial to future job seekers.

Unsplash | Science in HD

"A top priority of my Administration has been to reestablish New Jersey’s role as a leader in the fight against climate change," Governor Murphy said. "The adoption of these standards across our K-12 schools is an important step forward that will strengthen the future of New Jersey’s green energy economy."

Although climate change has long been a partisan issue, support for the addition of climate change to public school standards has increasingly crossed party lines.

An NPR/Ipsos poll in 2019 found that 80% of parents in the United States favor teaching climate change in schools, and two-thirds of Republicans and 90% of Democrats thought adding climate change to the curriculum was a good idea whether they had children or not.

h/t: NJ.com, CNN