Virginia's climate education bill dies

Virginia State House

Virginia's House Bill 362, which would have required instruction on climate change in the state's public schools, died in committee on February 15, 2022. The bill would have required the department of education to develop a "program of instruction on the causes of and potential solutions for climate change" by January 1, 2023, and to devote a year to prepare local school boards to incorporate the program. Local school boards would then have been expected to implement the program during the 2024-2025 school year. The sponsors of the bill were Suhas Subramanyam (D-District 87) and Marcus B. Simon (D-District 53).

A recent column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (March 28, 2022) by two high school students called for improved climate change education in Virginia's public schools: "By having climate education integrated into schools, we can guarantee our future leaders are held accountable to take action against a changing climate."

Virginia's state science standards received the grade of F in "Making the Grade?" — the 2020 study from NCSE and the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund — for their treatment of climate change, as NCSE previously reported. Reacting to the study, a spokesperson for the department of education told the Virginia Mercury (October 30, 2020) that climate change is discussed further in the ancillary curriculum framework, which aids districts in developing curricula to comply with the standards. But it is unclear to what extent districts follow the framework's guidance.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.