Target: Samuel Henry, Chair of the Oregon State Board of Education
Goal: Commend the Board for its decision to include climate science education in public school curricula
With the media’s ongoing emphasis on a climate change “debate,” it can be hard to remember that many policymakers do believe in human-caused climate change and that there is much we can do to minimize its impacts. Oregon has become the latest state to stand up to deniers and call for standards that include climate science education.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed by teams from 26 states with help from more than 40 writers and the National Research Council. While some view the standards as controversial, many parents are overjoyed to know that public education will soon include subjects like Earth’s Systems, Weather and Climate, and Earth and Human Activity. Organizations including the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have come out in support of these “voluntary, rigorous, and internationally benchmarked standards for K-12 science education.”
Without proper information about the fragility of our natural environment and human activity’s influence on weather systems, younger generations would be ill-equipped to handle the ongoing impacts of climate change. Applaud the Oregon Board of Education for voting unanimously to approve transition to NGSS, including climate science, for the state’s schools.
Dear Mr. Henry,
Oregon families can rejoice, knowing that soon public school curricula will include modules on climate science. Approving the Next Generation Science Standards just makes sense, yet not every state’s Board of Education has stood up to climate change deniers as you have.
Today’s young people face many challenges, and climate change is at the forefront. A consensus of international scientists confirms that not only are our oceans rising and our weather patterns changing, but that human activity plays a key role. Reckless burning of fossil fuels and a dependence on increasingly expensive, dangerous and controversial drilling practices are taking their toll on our fragile planet. Children equipped with this knowledge will make better-informed lifestyle choices, be better able to deal with the damage done and to minimize future impacts.
Some mass media outlets continue to suggest that there is a climate change “debate” raging within the scientific community when this is far from the truth. It can feel as though the federal government is incapable of addressing the issue. Rather than bicker about who can kick the can furthest down the road, states must take action to educate and prepare their citizens. Oregon’s State Board of Education has done just that in voting to adopt the NGSS. I am sincerely grateful to you and your colleagues for having the foresight to adopt these new standards, including the teaching of climate science. Thank you.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Agrant141 via Wikimedia