New Jersey highlights climate change throughout its revised state education standards


The New Jersey State Board of Education adopted revisions to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards that incorporate climate change in a systematic and coordinated way throughout, according (PDF) to a June 3, 2020, press release.

Climate change was already present in New Jersey's science education standards, to be sure. The state adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, which include global climate change as one of four sub-ideas in the core idea of Earth and Human Activity at both the middle school and the high school level, in 2014. The new revision of the science standards emphasizes (PDF) climate change even further, offering a few paragraphs of advice to science teachers and encouraging them to incorporate the topic throughout the curriculum.

But what is unique about the latest revisions is the inclusion of climate change in the standards for career readiness, life literacies, and key skills; comprehensive health and physical education; computer science and design thinking; visual and performing arts; world languages; and (in appendices) English language arts and mathematics. Practically every teacher in New Jersey's public school system is thus encouraged to discuss climate change, in appropriate educational contexts, with their students.

Tammy Murphy, who championed the revisions, told NJ Spotlight (June 5, 2020), "it is critical that every student is provided the opportunity to study and understand the climate crisis in an interdisciplinary way beyond just their science classrooms."

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.