Preparing for the future
New Jersey became the first state to require schools teach climate change, when the state Board of Education adopted new curriculum standards in June 2020. The standards required climate change lessons be included across seven subject areas: career and life skills, health and physical education, computer science and design thinking, science, social studies, visual and performing arts, and world languages.
Yet many teachers do not yet feel comfortable teaching about climate change, said Lauren Madden, a professor of education at The College of New Jersey who helped prepare the new education report. Madden found in a survey of 164 New Jersey teachers that many felt uncertain about their ability to teach climate change content and several teachers held misconceptions on the subject.
“We want to make sure teachers feel fully prepared to integrate climate change education across all grade levels and content areas,” Madden said during the School Board Association’s livestream. “We also want to make sure that school communities, including families, administrators, school board members and community partners, are aware of the scientifically accurate information regarding climate change, to ensure that our schools are designed to foster a sustainable future and economic prosperity.”