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Published On: Fri, Jan 18th, 2019

Connecticut Rep Christine Palm wants mandatory climate change classes in public schools

A legislative proposal in Connecticut would mandate instruction on climate change in public schools statewide, beginning in elementary school.

Connecticut already has adopted science standards that call for teaching of climate change, but if the bill passes it is believed that it would be the country’s first to write such a requirement into law.

“A lot of schools make the study of climate change an elective, and I don’t believe it should be an elective,” said state Rep. Christine Palm, a Democrat from Chester who proposed the bill. “I think it should be mandatory, and I think it should be early so there’s no excuse for kids to grow up ignorant of what’s at stake.”

“I do believe if the state has adopted standards, you’re teaching those standards, you’re going to be assessed on those standards,” said Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents. “If you’re a district in Connecticut, your curriculum is addressing it already.”

A similar proposal was introduced in the last legislative session but ultimately failed to win approval.

A total of 19 states and the District of Columbia so far have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards.

Palm, who represents towns along the Connecticut River in southeast Connecticut, said climate change deserves a more prominent place in children’s education because of the urgency of the threat posed by global warming.

“I’d love to see poetry be mandated. That’s never going to happen,” she said. “That’s not life or death.”

photo/ Pete Linforth

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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