Friday, March 18, 2016

Climate Change Needs to be Taught in Our Schools

 Dear Editor, The New York Times:

The youth of this nation will one day be in charge of the United States as their generation ages and takes control. And, if the United States keeps its position as a top world power, they will by extension then be in control of the world. That is why it is crucial that the youth be taught the proper knowledge necessary to deal with the ever pressing issue of climate change. So when I read the article “Science Teachers’ Grasp of Climate Change Is Found Lacking” (Feb. 11) by John Schwartz, I found it upsetting to see the low numbers of teachers that taught the issue of climate change and among those numbers how little time was spent on the topic.

That is why when I read about Bertha Vazquez in the article, I was most impressed. She not only teaches about climate change in every single one of her courses but has persuaded some of her colleagues to discuss climate change in classes other than science, such as German and art.

Also noted in the article is the fact that since climate science is constantly evolving and changing, it requires teachers to pursue continuing teacher education to stay on top of updated facts and current trends in the world of climate science. Perhaps this is a reason that teachers shy away from teaching climate science: they do not want to be constantly, or at least frequently, taking classes to keep their knowledge current and up to date. It is unlike evolution, for example, where if someone was taught a decade or two ago, they would still be able to teach their knowledge to students. Climate science and information regarding climate change is constantly evolving and shifting as new developments and discoveries appear on the scene. Therefore, continuing teacher education is necessary.

It is necessary to teach our youth the reality of the situation. Although some might disagree on what that reality actually is, because there are many climate deniers who regularly denounce climate change as a hoax. But, that drives the incentive to teach it even further because, after all, that’s the point of education: to open up perspectives to those who did not see them before.

Melanie Schuck

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