Climate change will have ‘increasingly severe impacts’ on K-12, early childhood education

Wildfires in Northern California cast an eerie orange glow over San Francisco on September 9, 2020. Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

More frequent school closures due to wildfires and extreme heat waves, as well as higher utility bills for schools as temperatures rise are among the “increasingly severe” impacts climate change will have on K-12 and early childhood education, the Legislative Analyst’s Office warned in a report published Tuesday.

Part of a series on how climate change will impact different sectors across California, the report stressed the need for more state guidance and funding for schools’ emergency and recovery plans since many schools will struggle to prepare for the impacts on their own.

“Confronting the effects of climate change will be challenging,” the report said. “However, the consequences of inaction could be even more severe, and will worsen over time…”

Schools may need to quickly shift between in-person and remote learning due to climate-related closures, the report said, and school facilities will require modifications to withstand the impacts of climate change.

The report comes as California lawmakers consider AB 1939, a proposal to make climate change a required part of K-12 science studies and require high school students to complete at least one science course on climate change in order to graduate.

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