A Rhode Island resolution to support climate education

Rhode Island's House Resolution 7471 would, if approved, express the support of the House of Representatives for increased environmental and climate education in the state's public schools — and the NCSE/Penn State study of climate change education is cited as evidence of the need for the increase.

In particular, the resolution requests the state department of education to develop a set of key environmental and climate principles and concepts to be included across the curriculum, to ensure that teacher professional development on the Next Generation Science Standards "use climate as an exemplary anchor phenomenon," and to provide online material to assist the development of instructional programs in climate and environmental literacy. The resolution also asks secondary public schools in the state to offer courses in climate and environmental literacy.

The prologue to the resolution explains that "[t]he heaviest burden of climate change will fall on the next generation" and that students need to be prepared to "address the coming social and economic challenges and opportunities arising from a changing climate." The prologue also observes, "Only thirty percent of middle school and forty-five percent of high school science teachers nationally ... understand the extent of the scientific consensus on climate change" — a statistic originating in the NCSE/Penn State survey of climate change educators (PDF).

Sponsored by Terri-Denise Cortvriend (D-District 72) and four of her colleagues in the House, HR 7471 was introduced on February 7, 2020, and referred to the House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare. A similar resolution, House Resolution 5563, was introduced in 2019 but died in committee.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.


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