The Climate Science Students Bill of Rights

ALL STUDENTS, IN EVERY STATE, HAVE THE RIGHT TO:

  1. Receive the highest quality science education as determined by educators, free from ideological or political interference.
  2. Explore the causes and consequences of climate change.
  3. Learn that meaningful solutions to slowing climate change exist.
  4. Examine the data and evidence that leads to the established scientific consensus on climate change in a learning environment that encourages inquiry, questioning and understanding.
  5. Understand how climate science informs social, political, and personal decision-making.

American Students Need to Learn Climate Science

Communities across the country are already dealing with the consequences of climate change, from droughts to floods and extreme storms. In order to be prepared to address the challenges posed by climate change, young people need to understand the science of climate change and how it can inform societal decisions.

Yet far too few students in America are learning about climate change. As climate risks continue to grow, it is critical that every student in America understand the many different scientific disciplines that contribute to our understanding of climate change. Students need a foundation in climate science in order to identify solutions.

Next Generation Science Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are an updated set of science education standards for K-12 students that include climate science for all students beginning in 8th grade. The NGSS were developed by leading scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, and have widespread support among educators and business leaders.

Rapid adoption of the NGSS in states across the country is the surest way to ramp up climate literacy in America. The NGSS have been adopted by 11 states so far, including California, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia.

What’s Happening in the States

Unfortunately, the inclusion of climate science in the NGSS has led some politicians and ideologues, many of whom receive significant funding from those opposed to action on climate change to try to block adoption of the standards. These well-organized opponents are using stealth and sneaky tactics, such as amendments to budget bills without public debate, to deny students climate science education.

State legislators in Wyoming, for example, attached an amendment to the state budget bill that prohibits the State Board of Education from adopting, or even considering, the NGSS. State Rep. Matt Teeters, who authored the budget amendment and Ron Micheli, the chairman of the State Board of Education, have both stated that teaching kids about climate science would harm the state's fossil fuel economy. Thousands of Wyoming parents, students, teachers and community members are fighting back. If you are a Wyoming resident, show your support by signing this open letter.

When concerned citizens speak up on this issue, legislators listen. In Oklahoma, legislators attempted to block adoption of new science standards modeled on the NGSS to stop students from learning about climate change. But parents and science teachers rallied to kill an anti-NGSS bill, and new standards were recently adopted by Gov. Mary Fallin.

Numerous other states are currently contemplating adoption of NGSS, including Iowa, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, South Dakota, and New Mexico. Check back for updates and opportunities to take action in these and other states! Please sign the Climate Science Students Bill of Rights to be kept informed of efforts to ensure that students across the country benefit from a 21st century science education that include climate science.

INFORMATION ABOUT SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS

Climate Parents is a powerful movement of families advocating for bold solutions to climate change. We work at a national and regional level to fight dirty energy and scale up renewables, enact policies that help protect kids and communities from climate impacts, and ensure that all students learn about climate change. Climate Parents members across the nation are working to ensure the states where they live adopt the Next Generation Science Standards. We’ve already helped secure adoption of the world-class standards in five states, and we’re leading efforts in Wyoming, Michigan and other states currently considering adoption. Join us at www.climateparents.org.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. What began as a collaboration between students and faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 is now an alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists. UCS’s Center for Science and Democracy works to strengthen the essential role of science, evidence-based knowledge, and constructive debate in the U.S. policymaking process. Join UCS at www.ucsusa.org.
The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a membership organization providing information and resources for schools, parents, and concerned citizens working to keep evolution and climate science in public school science education. NCSE educates the press and public about the scientific and educational aspects of controversies surrounding the teaching of evolution and climate change, and supply needed information and advice to defend good science education at local, state, and national levels. Our 5000 members are scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious and political affiliations. Join NCSE at www.ncse.com.
The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) has a mission to educate, inspire and activate high school students to create lasting climate solutions. ACE’s vision is that one day, every teenager in America will understand climate change and take meaningful climate action. We believe the United States can become a global leader in climate and energy solutions, and that youth are the strongest investment we can make to accelerate that reality. ACE also supports teachers to master climate and energy science standards through best-in-class resources and professional development trainings. Join ACE at www.acespace.org.