California Bill Requires Climate Change Be Taught in Public Schools

With climate change in full swing and folks like Will Steger heading out across the arctic in just a few weeks to raise awareness among kids of all ages as to the effects its having there, a Silicon Valley lawmaker is steadily gaining momentum with a bill that would require "climate change" to be among the science topics that all California public school students are taught. And, logically, would also require that all future science texts approved for use in California public schools include the topic as well.Our hero is none other than state Sen. Joe Simitian, a Democrat from Palo Alto who points out that "You can't have a science curriculum that is relevant and current if it doesn't deal with the science behind climate change." Hmm a no-brainer there, but he goes on to say that "This is a phenomenon of global importance and our kids ought to understand the science behind that phenomenon." In total, a pair of statements that make him look like a genius in comparison to some of his peers.

Take state Sen. Tom McClintock as a perfect example, who drones on and on with statements like "I find it disturbing that this mandate to teach this theory is not accompanied by a requirement that the discussion be science-based and include a critical analysis of all sides of the subject."

Perhaps he's still living in 1982. Unfortunately, the world's moved on without him. So I suspect it's time to acknowledge reality before the rest of the world marches any further ahead on the issue. As case in point take the results of a recent poll in England which indicates that 95% of the youth polled there are concerned about the topic and many consider themselves to be more fluent on it than their parents.

After the state Senate approved the bill, SB 908, Jan. 30 by a 26-13 vote it's heading to the state Assembly. And although Gov. Schwarzenegger has made climate change a focal point in his administration, he has yet to weigh in on Simitian's bill.

But with all due respect to state Senators and superstar Governors everywhere, the truth is that what we really need is for teachers to stand up and be counted in the classroom on this issue. Climate change is no joke, and kids are aware of it in real terms. Take the conversation I had in class last year, where one 8th grader turned to another and said in exasperation, "Dude, it's on MTV!"

I think the bottom line is that they're very much aware of both cause and consequence, but we need to get them involved to take action. And that takes more than a bill.

via:: Mercury News

Tags: California | Education | United States

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