Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Yet To Adopt New Science Standards Which Emphasize Climate Change

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Florida has yet to join other states pledging to adopt new science standards which include teaching about human-caused climate change.

Florida is not helping lead efforts to develop new science standards, our colleagues at WLRN report, and it’s unclear if the state will adopt the standards.

The new standards would begin teaching students in elementary school about the effects of climate change.

The science standards are expected to be released next month. The Sunshine State is not one of the roughly 40 states which have said they will adopt the standards or may adopt the standards.

By contrast, Florida is leading the development of a new test to assess the new Common Core State Standards for math and English language arts. The new standards are scheduled to take effect for every Florida student beginning in the fall of 2014.

From the story:

The standards were created by the National Research Council, National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, nonprofit group Achieve, and participating states (click here to see a map of which states participated in the development of the standards.). They recommend “educators teach the evidence for man-made climate change starting as early as elementary school and incorporate it into all science classes, ranging from earth science to chemistry.” Inside Climate News reports:

By eighth grade, students should understand that “human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming),” the standards say.

Despite the lack of early support from populous states like Florida and Texas, textbook publishers are already working to incorporate the new standards into printed and digital materials. Does its exclusion from the list of early adopters mean Florida schools aren’t touching on the climate change subject? Not necessarily. Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, adopted in February 2008, do include a few “benchmarks” in which the topics of climate change and global warming get a mention.

As WLRN reports, Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards do include benchmarks referencing climate change for high school students.

Read more here and the Inside Climate News story is here.


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