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New Jersey Becomes First State To Incorporate Climate Change In K-12 Education Standards

New Jersey will become the first state in the nation to incorporate climate change education across its K-12 learning standards.

The state's first lady, Tammy Murphy, announced Wednesday that the state's board of education has adopted the initiative and will apply the standards to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, the outline which serves as the state curriculum directive.

"This generation of students will feel the effects of climate change more than any other, and it is critical that every student is provided an opportunity to study and understand the climate crisis through a comprehensive, interdisciplinary lens," Murphy said in a statement.

Murphy spearheaded the curriculum, meeting over the past year with over 130 educators from across the state who have been charged with reviewing and revising the existing student learning standards, a process that occurs every five years.

According to a news release from the governor's office, climate change education will be incorporated across seven content areas:

  • 21st-century life and careers
  • Comprehensive health and physical education
  • Science
  • Social studies
  • Technology
  • Visual and performing arts
  • World languages

The new standards will take effect in September 2021 and 2022.

"In New Jersey, we have already begun to experience the effects of climate change, from our disappearing shorelines, to harmful algal blooms in our lakes, super storms producing torrential rain, and summers that are blazing hot," said first lady Murphy.

The move makes New Jersey the first in what is likely to be a nationwide trend. According to a NPR/Ipsos poll published last year, more than 80 percent of American parents and nearly 90 percent of American teachers said climate change should be taught in schools.

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