Governor Phil Murphy

First Lady Tammy Murphy Announces Initiative to Incorporate Climate Change into Education Guidelines for K-12 Schools

10/11/2019

TRENTON –First Lady Tammy Murphy today announced her initiative to incorporate climate change education into New Jersey’s K-12 academic standards. Over the past several months, the First Lady has met with the 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. During these meetings, First Lady Murphy, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Education, has implored these educators to incorporate climate change education into all nine content areas— 21st Century Life and Careers, Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, and World Languages.

“We have already begun to feel the effects of climate change here in New Jersey.” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Our shorelines are disappearing, rain comes in torrential downpours, and our summers are blazing hot. But, it is not enough to understand climate change from solely a scientific perspective. We have an obligation to our kids to prepare them for the reality that awaits them as adults—and that reality will include the effects of climate change across almost every aspect of their lives.”

Since Spring 2019, the First Lady has visited elementary, middle, and high schools across the state that have already implemented strong climate change education and sustainability initiatives. These schools include Mount Arlington Public School, Whitehouse Elementary School, Millbridge Elementary School, George L. Catrambone School, and Delran High School. The First Lady will continue her tour of schools this fall with stops at Valleyview Middle School, J.V.B. Wicoff Elementary School, Egg Harbor Township High School, and Alder Middle School, with more to come. All of these schools participate in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program.

“We are already a national leader in education, but we have the opportunity to become the first state in the country to incorporate climate change into all of our core content areas,” continued First Lady Tammy Murphy. “As our students graduate and go on to become artists, economists, activists, and more, they will be prepared to report findings, write grant proposals, develop plans, advocate, communicate ideas, and innovate throughout every sector of our economy as climate literate professionals.” 

Advocating for the incorporation of climate change into our student learning standards also supports Governor Murphy’s current work to put New Jersey on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. As a long-time advocate for policies that combat climate change, the First Lady acknowledges that educating our youth is the next step toward securing a clean future.

“Last month’s Climate Strike and Greta Thunberg’s call to action dramatically illustrate the responsibility that current leaders have to future generations,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “We stand with students and recognize it is up to all of us to provide them with the education and tools they need to help lead New Jersey and its response to climate change in the years ahead. The First Lady has long been a climate change champion and the DEP is thrilled to join her in our shared goal of reducing and responding to climate change.”

“The Department of Education thanks the First Lady for her involvement with the standards review teams over the past year,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “Our goal is to design standards that continue to ensure New Jersey students are prepared to think critically, analyze data, and work collaboratively as effective stewards of the Earth’s natural resources.”