Climate change in Alaska's new draft science standards

The Alaska state board of education unanimously approved a draft of new state science standards on March 29, 2019, according to KTOO Public Media in Juneau (March 29, 2019) — and climate change is included.

NCSE's Glenn Branch described the current standards as "very short and undetailed" but the proposed standards (PDF), which resemble but are not identical to the Next Generation Science Standards, as "as good as one can realistically expect."

"The standards don't shy away from attributing climate change to human activity, due to increased carbon emissions," KTOO reported. "The effects of climate change are increasingly visible and dangerous," Branch added.

Yet improvement in standards doesn't automatically entail improvement in the classroom, Branch explained, stressing the need to provide for new textbooks, lab equipment, statewide testing, and, especially, professional development for teachers.

According to KTOO, the new draft standards will soon be available for public comment. A final version, revised in response to the comments from the public, is expected to be submitted to the board in the summer of 2019.

We can't afford to lose any time when it comes to the future of science education.

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