Should Climate Change Be A Required Science Topic in Public Schools?

reportcard4419_gallery.jpg A California lawmaker wants climate change to be among science topics taught in all of the state’s public schools.

Environmental propaganda or science, those issues are being debated, as the bill introduced by State Senator Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, moves through the Legislature.

The measure was approved by the Senate on Jan 30 by a 26-13 vote. It now moves to the state Assembly, where Republicans are not happy with the legislation.

According to Mercury News, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has not commented on the proposal.

Opponents of the bill say the science on global warming isn’t clear and could introduce environmental propaganda into classrooms.

Proponents, on the other hand, think it’s a great idea and the talk of politics should be put aside. Teachers, they say, would have a lot to talk about, what is and isn’t known about global warming, carbon dioxide levels and global temperature monitoring.

Global warming is mentioned in discussions about weather in California high schools, but is not required to be covered in all textbooks, which Simitian’s law would mandate.

What do you think? Is it time to bring climate change and global warming into high school science classes? Is it environmental propaganda or an emerging science that should be taught?

To read the bill, go to, click “legislation” and type SB 908.

Image: Courtesy Joe Simitian

25 thoughts on “Should Climate Change Be A Required Science Topic in Public Schools?”

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  12. the reason America is wasting so much energy & causing global warming is because public schools are under the domain of the dairy/auto industries. Standard curiculum should include bicycle tech/nutrition classes. Lunch program should be juices/salads, not hamburgers. ‘Safe routes to schools’ is needed now, not more moms in SUV’s. -phil

  13. geez, in Florida, we can’t even get over the debate about “intelligent design” vs evolution in our public school classrooms. Despite recent court decisions in other parts of the US, the Florida State School Board is seriously considering altering science textbooks to include this “alternate theory.”

    I cannot even imagine what they would say if we brought up teaching climate change in our schools! I’m all for bringing it up to start the conversation.

  14. A nice idea, but it opens a can of worms best left closed. Requiring the teaching of Global Warming as anything other than a small (necessary, but still small) part of the general science curriculum will just give the Creation Science proponents more ammunition to promote their own screwy version of “how things work”. There are just too many problems with this idea, as much as I support the thinking behind it.

    On the other hand, most science is “propaganda”, anyway. Data collection is just a small part of it; the rest is interpretation, model-building, etc. Opinion and experience are the engines; data is the fuel. Theories are models, subject to modification as more data accumulates. Even Newton’s Laws of Motion, good for several hundred years, turned out not to be the last word on that subject, although they work fine for cars and baseballs and playing golf and shooting guns. I just don’t want to give the lunatics of the “Christian” Right any more opportunities to futz around with the system.

  15. If they do not want to teach children about global warming, they should at least teach children how not to be wasteful. I did not start thinking about how much trash I produce until I became eco-conscious. It would be extremely beneficial to society as a whole if we did not waste so much.

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