Washington Climate, Science and Environmental Literacy Funding
The 2019 Legislative Session ended April 29, 2019
The Legislature awarded:
“$3,000,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2020 and $3,000,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2021 is provided solely for the office of the superintendent of public instruction to provide grants to school districts and educational service districts for science teacher training in the next generation science standards including training in the climate science standards.
At a minimum, school districts shall ensure that teachers in one grade level in each elementary, middle, and high school participate in this science training. Of the amount appropriated $1,000,000 is provided solely for community based nonprofits to partner with public schools for next generation science standards.”
The program, funded for the first time by the legislature in 2018 is being led by OSPI and a network of Educational Service Districts (ESD’s) and Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) whose work can be viewed here.
The History of this Work
On March 27, 2018, Governor Inslee initiated this effort to support climate education for K-12 students across Washington state. With this bill, Washington becomes the first state in the country to dedicate significant support for climate education included in Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Originated through the Governor Inslee’s budget request of $6.5 Million for science and climate education, $4 Million was approved by both the Senate and House in the March 8th supplemental budget bill ESSB 6032. The funds are directed to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for teacher professional development to implement Next Generation Science Standards including those related to climate science and healthy environments. The language also stipulates that $1M of the $4M be allocated for projects proposed in partnership with nonprofit organizations.
“Neil Armstrong noted when he stepped on the surface of the moon, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The same can be said for science education in Washington with the legislatively approved $4M funding for climate science teacher professional learning and alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. Students, teachers, and Washington will benefit from this meaningful investment in teacher professional training,” stated Gene Sharratt, Executive Director for the Association of Educational Service Districts.
The funding request was supported by E3 Washington Chair Susan Carlson and Jim Elder with the Campaign for Environmental Literacy, NatureBridge, Islandwood, Pacific Education Institute, WA STEM, Washington Green Schools, the Suquamish Tribe, National Wildlife Federation, Institute for Systems Biology and numerous other partners. With its successful passage, Washington state has taken a major step towards ensuring that all WA students become more knowledgeable about climate science and impacts and more prepared for careers in a clean energy economy.
“This is a major victory for our students and our state and a significant step in a generational shift towards a climate-informed citizenry. We applaud the Governor and our legislature for ensuring our students will have access to sound climate science and the information and resources they need to help create a future we want to see,” stated Susan Carlson, Board Chair of E3 Washington, Washington state’s umbrella organization for environmental education.
For more information, please contact: Info@e3Washington.org