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article imageShould climate change be taught in U.S. schools?

By Tim Sandle     Dec 13, 2019 in Environment
In the Greta Thunberg era, do U.S. citizens now think climate change should be taught in schools? The subject has remained controversial in some parts of the country, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus.
According to education experts at Brainly, the holiday dinner table can sometimes be a hotbed of divisive conversations — not the least of which surrounding what subjects children should learn in schools.
With climate activist Greta Thunberg being awarded Time Magazine's Person of the Year at just 16-years-old, climate change education appears to have become a hotly debated topic - including over the holiday season.
To get some perspective on these issues, the education experts at Brainly (an online learning platform) polled 600 U.S. citizens to find out how they felt about some of the most divisive topics in education, like climate change, evolution, and sex education - topics which can signal how conservative a society is. The company has provided Digital Journal with an insight into the research.
The key research findings are:
Most people think that climate change should be taught in schools
According to the poll, some 88 percent of Americans believe in climate change, but what's more remarkable is 80% say it should be part of the student curriculum. They vary on when it should be taught, however, with 37 percent saying in middle school, 24 percent in elementary school, and just 15 percent saying in high school.
While there's climate consensus, evolution remains more controversial
Only 69 percent of Americans agree with the theory of evolution (or natural selection),despite the rigidity of the science. An even lower proportion, just 44 percent say it has a place in the school curriculum. Furthermore, a remarkable 28 percent say it should be taught alongside the non-scientific beliefs of creationism. A startling 9 percent say to teach creationism-only. An outlier 18 percent do not want either subjects taught in schools.
Sex education is less controversial
The perennial hot button scholastic question of sex education appears to have cooled a bit with 65 percent of Americans saying a fact-based, all-encompassing curriculum should be taught in schools. Just 18 percent say it should be abstinence-only, and 16 percent want it out of schools completely. Although 65 percent remains a relatively low proportion, it signals a shift in public thinking.
More about Greta Thunberg, Climate change, Education
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