Requiring schools to teach climate change risks backlash in Oklahoma

July 15, 2019 | StateImpact Oklahoma

Melissa Lau says she has been educating her students about the connection between fossil fuel combustion and climate change for three years, though she isn’t required to. Oklahoma’s K-12 science standards are based in part on the Next Generation Science Standards, national guidelines developed in 2013 that recommend teaching the concept in sixth grade, but Oklahoma left it out.

Oklahoma’s standards do include language on weather patterns, changes in the environment and variations in regional climate conditions, as well as human activity and its effect on the planet. However, teaching about how fossil fuel combustion relates to these broad categories remains optional.

Every six years the Oklahoma State Department of Education assembles a group of educators from across the state to review and revise state science standards, but state lawmakers have the final say over these education guidelines.

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