Kids Need to Learn Climate Change in School, But Most Teachers Don’t Address It

Arguably, climate change is one of the most important things that kids could learn about in school today since itíll be relevant for them to understand the way their planet will be changing in the upcoming decades. Nevertheless, itís a topic that goes unmentioned by most schoolteachers. New polls from NPR show why teachers avoid the issue Ė and why they shouldnít be afraid to tackle it.



Over half of all teachers acknowledged that they donít touch on climate change in their classrooms, but thatís not to say that educators want to avoid teaching climate change. The survey shows that 86 percent of teachers believe that climate change is something that ought to be addressed in public schools.

NPR breaks down the reasons why teachers say they donít teach climate change, and it tells us something interesting. You may assume itís because teachers donít believe in climate change or that their schools forbid it, but those results are negligible with eight and four percent responding as such respectively.

Instead, four of the most common excuses from teachers are:

  • Climate change doesnít fit into the subject matter they teach
  • They feel their students are too young for the discussion
  • They donít feel like they know enough about it themselves to lead a discussion
  • They lack the materials to incorporate it into their existing curriculum



Though it wasnít listed as an option on that particular poll, many teachers have also indicated that they stay away from climate change because it seems politically polarizing. Admittedly, looking at the legislative landscape, youíd probably assume that feelings on climate change are split down the middle.

Thatís not actually the case, however. In a survey of all Americans, 78 percent thought climate change should be taught in schools, with just 10 percent saying it shouldnít.

Heck, even teachers in conservative states should feel emboldened by the poll. Though Republicans did drag down the average, 66 percent wanted to see climate change addressed in schools, with just 17 percent saying no. In other words, itís not worth fretting a conservative backlash with the consensus overwhelmingly pointing in the other direction.



Speaking of backlash, one-third of teachers are afraid that theyíll receive angry calls from parents if they are to talk about climate change in the classroom.

However, the truth is that 84 percent of American parents want to see climate change in the school curriculum. It makes sense that parents care even more about this issue than the general population because they understand that it will affect future generations worse than today.

Fewer than half of these parents talk about climate change with their own kids, so itís not like theyíre getting this content at home. If parents expect and want climate change to be part of the curriculum, they need to explain that to the schools to make sure the job is getting done Ė itís got to be discussed somewhere!


All of these numbers point to one main conclusion: no one is going to be as mad at teachers for tackling climate change as they imagine. This is a topic thatís time has come, so schools should make better attempts to teach it thoroughly and responsibly in their classrooms.


Vincent T
William T5 days ago

There is nothing more important for them to learn about.

Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson10 days ago

Thank you.

Ben O
Ben O17 days ago

16 year-old Greta Thunberg is my hero!

Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer21 days ago

Also parents should teach their children

heather g
heather g22 days ago

I was fortunate in that I had well-educated and environmentally savvy parents and teachers. That was around 1958 when the subject was brought to our attention by teachers, including over-population, the pollution in the Great Lakes, etc. etc. This was in South Africa where we enjoyed a very high standard of education. I'm always slightly amused when today Canadians my age regularly ask me how I know certain facts that I learnt so many years ago.

Olga N

Parents require in doing this also. In raising my family the subject matter talked about at home and the teacher at their primary school with input from myself created a project at the school to raise awareness.

Peggy B
Peggy B24 days ago

Recycling and green environment is taught in our school. My 4 year-old granddaughter is learning these things on PBS Kids.

Shae Lee
Shae Lee24 days ago

thanks for sharing

Lorraine Andersen

it should be taught in school with their science classes. With any luck, if we can educate the children, they will make changes.

Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn25 days ago