Climate change education legislation dies in New York

When the 2021-2022 session of the New York legislature ended on June 2, 2022, no fewer than eight climate change education bills died in committee.

Assembly Bill 617 and Senate Bill 4683 would have established a climate change education grant program "to award grants to eligible applicants to support climate change education grant programs for young people or to provide optional teacher training or professional development programs relevant to the advance of climate change literacy in young people."

Senate Bill 596 would have required the state commissioner of education to offer "recommendations to the board of regents relating to the adoption of instruction in climate science in senior high schools," including "the effect and impact of greenhouse gasses" and New York's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Senate Bill 654 would have required the state commissioner of education to "create and require climate change instruction within the current established science curriculum" for grades one through twelve of New York's public schools. Correspondingly, school authorities would have been required to support the instruction.

Assembly Bill 2325 and Senate Bill 1081 would have required the state commissioner of education to "establish a model environmental curriculum on climate change to be taught in all public elementary and secondary schools," included in the standards of instruction for not only science but also history, social studies, health, and mathematics.

Assembly Bill 3468 would have required the state commissioner of education to "create and establish a comprehensive and accurate climate change and sustainability curriculum which shall be taught in grades kindergarten through twelve in all public and charter schools." Local districts would have been expected to use the curriculum or a substantially similar curriculum.

Senate Bill 4781 would have required the state commissioner of education to "make recommendations to the board of regents relating to adjusting curricula for social studies, economics, geography, and government classes in New York schools to include requirements for climate change education."

At the end of the 2019-2020 legislative session, five climate change education bills introduced in the New York legislature likewise died in committee.

Glenn Branch
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Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.

branch@ncse.ngo