Climate Change Instruction Legislation Moves Forward

June 5, 2019

In our state, our education system prioritizes science-based curriculum aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, which were created to ensure our students understand fundamental concepts of the scientific method, and to pique student interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

But, having an understanding of science doesn't only benefit those who want to pursue STEM careers.  In fact, these skills can be applied to all aspects of a student's life, such as communication, problem solving, collaboration, and flexibility.

I was disappointed in some House members' denial of climate change, the gravity of its impacts, and the scientific evidence supporting it.

  “I don’t know if there is global warming.”
  “The science isn't settled.”
  “A false crisis.”
  “I don’t know if the warming of the planet is going to be a problem.”
  The above are statements made by House Republicans during a lengthy debate on climate change.

Despite GOP filibustering for more than five hours, we passed House Bill 7083 to require the instruction of climate change in our public schools. It would be included in the science curriculum and based on guidelines consistent with the Next Generation Science Standards. In 2015, the state Board of Education unanimously approved NGSS standards.

While climate change is already taught in many Connecticut schools, this legislation would codify its instruction so students have the tools they will need to be part of the solution to prevent climate change from leading to a potential environmental disaster for themselves and future generations.

After hours of debate, the bill was approved by a wide margin, 103 to 43. If passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, this legislation would make Connecticut the first state in the country to mandate teaching on climate change.

We have only one planet and if climate change continues unchecked, our children and grandchildren will be in danger and our economy will suffer.

I cannot thank State Representative Christine Palm enough for her work and dedication on this initiative to ensure future generations have the skills and mindset necessary to create positive change so they may live fulfilling lives.