Does the climate crisis belong in Massachusetts’ public school curriculum? Our young people will see a growing intensification of the climate crisis in their lifetimes. But they won’t learn how the climate crisis works or what we can do about it in school. More than 86% of teachers and 84% of parents support climate education in schools. But only New Jersey has a robust, interdisciplinary, and mandatory curriculum.
Our Climate MA and the Massachusetts Youth Climate Coalition have been working on climate justice education legislation, especially H. 3887, An Act to include climate education in the Massachusetts elementary and secondary school curriculum and they are asking us to submit testimony. This bill is a Climate Action Now priority bill and we urge everyone to support them by submitting testimony.
Our Climate has created a toolkit for writing testimony for H.3887 which you can view here. In writing testimony, emphasize the importance of teaching climate justice and supporting teachers, as we need the committee to strengthen the language on those things in the bill, since it is the most likely of several climate education bills to make it through committee. When you have written your testimony, please submit it here.
Susanna Kelman, a high-school junior from Belmont, says this in her testimony: “The need for quality climate education cannot be overstated. As young people, climate change is the future we will inherit. We have to understand climate change to make informed decisions about the future we want to create. Beyond empowering us to make decisions about our future, climate education has been proven to lead students to make more climate friendly choices in their everyday life.”
Please write to your state senator and representative. Ask them to support climate justice education legislation that offers a robust and multi-disciplinary curriculum. And while you’re at it, look for an opportunity to support the drive to get a question on the ballot that would drop the MCAS standardized test as a graduation requirement. Only seven other states require passage of a test for high school graduation. The current focus on “teaching to the test” doesn’t leave room for the rich climate curriculum our students deserve if they are to have the knowledge to face this dangerous new world they’ve inherited.