Rhode Island resolution to support climate education fails

05.13.2019

Rhode Island's House Resolution 5563 — expressing the House of Representatives' support for increased climate education — died on March 27, 2019, when the House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare recommended to hold it for further study.

The resolution asked the state department of education to develop a set of key environmental and climate principles and concepts to be included across the curriculum, to ensure that teacher professional development on the Next Generation Science Standards "use climate as an exemplary anchor phenomenon," and to provide online material to assist the development of instructional programs in climate and environmental literacy.

In its prologue, the resolution explained that students need to be prepared to "address the coming social and economic challenges and opportunities arising from a changing climate," but observed, "Only thirty percent of middle school and forty-five percent of high school science teachers nationally ... understand the extent of the scientific consensus on climate change" — a statistic from the NCSE/Penn State survey of climate change educators (PDF).

The resolution was sponsored by Terri-Denise Cortvriend (D-District 72), Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-District 35), Lauren H. Carson (D-District 75), Teresa A. Tanzi (D-District 34), and Justine A. Caldwell (D-District 30).