What are kids being taught about climate change in American schools, what part of the discussion is causing friction, and what are the potential effects a generation miseducated on this topic?
Award-winning journalist Katie Worth wanted to know what children learn about climate change in America. As part of her research, she visited several states, talked to teachers, scoured text books, and spoke to students and their families. It turns out climate change education is just as contentious in the classroom as it is in politics.
“There were disagreements among teachers about how to approach it. Sometimes teachers were educating their kids about it, and the kids would push back because they’d heard at home that it was a hoax. Sometimes parents were mad that the kids were learning about it or that they weren’t learning about it. So it’s a hot topic on the ground, even for children,” Worth says. “This is like the classroom has really become a battleground in this adult political conversation around climate change. That misinformation that has permeated the adult world is of course filtering into the world of children.”
In this episode of the Harvard EdCast, Worth discusses the points of friction happening between teachers — sometimes within the same school — and how students are often unable to connect environmental disasters in their own communities with climate change.