Brooklyn Boro

Should schools teach climate change? This bill would make it mandatory.

January 27, 2020 Scott Enman
Attitudes toward the tests vary widely from district to district — and even school to school. Image via Pexels

A new bill from a local pol whose district was devastated by Superstorm Sandy would require that all New York public elementary and high schools teach climate change in the classroom.

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes’ legislation would make the Commissioner of Education create a model climate change curriculum that would be incorporated into science, social studies, history and health classes. The syllabus would also include environmental justice.

“The fact that the biggest existential threat of our time is not a standardized part of our public school curriculum is a glaring hole in our education system,” Gounardes said. “If we are to understand the nature of this complex threat and address it at every level, today’s students must understand the problem.

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“For too long, the public conversation about climate change has been distorted by fossil fuel companies and politicians with an interest in maintaining the status quo. It is now imperative for students to understand the science, the history, the politics and health implications of this global emergency.

More than 80 percent of parents in the United States support the teaching of climate change, according to a joint poll by NPR and Ipsos. Sixty-eight percent believe that climate change and its impacts on our environment, economy and society should be taught, while 16 percent said the fact that it exists should be taught — but not its potential impacts.

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes. Photo: NY Senate Media Services

The study also found that two-thirds of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats agree that children in the classroom should be exposed to the topic.

A separate report revealed that 86 percent of teachers are supportive of teaching it.

Related: Outdated federal flood maps leave residents at risk, experts say


With hurricanes, floods and wildfires growing stronger by the day, Gounardes — who represents Bay Ridge, Bath Beach, Gerritsen Beach and Manhattan Beach — argued the time is now for students to understand and learn how to reduce the effects of climate change.

“Those of us who represent waterfront districts know from firsthand experience just how vulnerable we are to superstorms like Sandy and natural disasters worsened by climate change,” he said.

“The next generation of future leaders must have the tools to understand and tackle climate change and the effects that are only forecast to worsen. Education is the key to change.”

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38 Comments

  1. Do you suppose that the reason a smaller amount of republicans think climate change (cc) ought to be taught in schools is because there are many scientists who think the climate has always been cyclical? Kids today do not remember decades ago that Al Gore & the other hysterical climate radical Leftist folks said we were going to be living in an ice age by the 90’s. Well how did that work out? The democrats/globalists have for decades been trying to control humanity & trying to figure out way to steal their money/earnings & take away freedoms & businesses. They are dictatorial tyrants. Listen to them; watch their actions. They are intolerant, bigoted; even their media will NOT report that there are professionals who do not believe their climate claims. But being the fascists they are they will NEVER have any of those people on their media. Of course we should live clean lives but to incite hysteria into our children is beyond the pale. WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE in 12 years & to teach children this is a travesty. The Left are deranged, hate the innocence of children & want to beat them into submission with all their claims – climate death, that the world is racist (well, except for them of course). Left even claim that climate change is racist. These morons should NOT be teaching anyone anything. WE need to get democrats/globalists/politicians OUT of education; We need to DEFUND the DOE -they are destroying minds, futures, academia, hope, sanity. NYC schools are being run by democrat racists who are destroying education & propping up kids who DO NOT study hard to get ahead. They claim this is racist. Parents are angry about what the democrats are doing but these liars march on in their tyrannical dictatorial style while they burn down the futures of children. STOP voting democrat; when you do you are not winning. Right now only democrats run NYC & it is a shambles! It is THEY who have destroyed life for you.

  2. Richard S MacKinnon

    “Kids today do not remember decades ago that Al Gore & the other hysterical climate radical Leftist folks said we were going to be living in an ice age by the 90’s. Well how did that work out?” If you look at the predictions scientists actually made it turns out things are progressing faster than expected. More glaciers have retreated. More flooding is happening. More food insecurity is occurring because of drought. Fires are burning hotter. Scientists expected there to be the same number of hurricanes but they’d be stronger and wetter but not this strong or wet. The effect of smoke on ash on albedo was underestimated. And by the way, An Inconvenient Truth came out in 2006 so I have to ask if you’re talking about the 2090’s.