A climate justice instruction bill in Minnesota

Minnesota state capitol building.

Minnesota's Senate File 476 would, if enacted, require the state commissioner of education to "provide a climate justice model program for elementary and secondary school students aligned with current scientific research." The bill was introduced by Nicole L. Mitchell (Democratic-Farmer-Labor-District 7) and three of her colleagues on January 19, 2023, and referred to the Senate Education Policy Committee.

The model program would be required to be consistent with the state's standards and include climate justice content that addresses "human activities causing climate change and the risk to all life forms; ... climate change's disproportionate effects on communities facing systemic oppression ...; the relationship between systemic change and accessible environmental stewardship; and ... the growing number of economic and environmental solutions."

The bill is similar to but less stringent than House File 550 and the identical Senate File 666 from 2021, which would have not only required the state commissioner of education to provide climate justice resources to school districts and charter schools in the state but also mandated the provision of climate justice instruction to students in grades 1 through 12. The earlier bills died in committee in March 2022, as NCSE previously reported.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.