It may seem like common sense to repeal a ban on teaching our children what is known to be true. The fact that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity is now a consensus of both scientists and the American public. And yet, last week we celebrated Wyoming’s repeal of the ban of K-12 science standards as a major victory.
Not that this isn’t great news. But it may be likened to overturning a ban on teaching biology, or chemistry, or evolution. The upside is that, as more states get on board with adopting climate education standards, today’s patchwork of significantly disparate teacher-to-teacher, school-to-school, and state-to-state guidelines will evolve into an academic roadmap which encourages open dialogue with our children about the climate challenges that they’ll face during their lifetimes — and the potential climate breakthroughs they may achieve.
High school teacher Heather Wygant takes care that her students understand the consensus. “We talk about the fact that most scientists agree on this and we look at the evidence. I also spend a lot of time talking about misconceptions and why people don’t believe things.”
For more insights about how to overcome barriers and political biases in effectively communicating about climate, check out ecoAmerica‘s research about how to make climate science meaningful.
Wyoming Republican Gov. Matt Mead signed a bill on Monday that paves the way for climate change to be taught in public schools across the state.
The bill repeals a ban on the adoption of controversial K-12 science standards that say global warming is real and caused by human activity. It also stands as a major victory for science-education activists who have pushed hard for Wyoming to implement the curriculum.
The curriculum, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, has sparked controversy all over the U.S. as skeptics protest the teaching of climate change in schools.
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards so far, but the academic road map has faced hurdles in a number of other states, including Oklahoma and South Carolina. Wyoming lawmakers blocked the State Board of Education from considering the standards last year amid fears that teaching climate science could cast Wyoming’s fossil-fuel industry in a negative light.