The New Jersey State Board of Education adopted revisions to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) in seven subject areas at its June 3 meeting. The revisions encompass the seven academic standards:

  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
  • World Languages
  • Computer Science and Design Thinking
  • Career Readiness, Life Literacies, and Key Skills.

Of particular note, climate change has been incorporated into all of the revised standards—an initiative championed by First Lady Tammy Murphy. The change makes New Jersey the first state to comprehensively address climate change across multiple content area standards.

“In New Jersey, we have already begun to experience the effects of climate change, from our disappearing shorelines, to harmful algal blooms in our lakes, superstorms producing torrential rain, and summers that are blazing hot,” said First Lady Murphy. “The adoption of these standards is much more than an added educational requirement; it is a symbol of a partnership between generations.”

English Language Arts and Mathematics were reviewed in 2016. The NJDOE appendices for those two content areas are being updated to contain resources for teaching climate change.

In social studies, students may research public policy related to climate change. In computer science and design thinking, students may analyze climate change computational models, and in comprehensive health and physical education, students may investigate how local, state, and global agencies are addressing health issues caused by climate change.

The New Jersey Department of Education performs a review of the standards every five years. The state sets the academic standards, which describe what students should know and be able to do by the time they graduate high school, while local school districts implement the curricula that help students meet the standards.

The full standards are available at nj.gov/education/cccs/2020.

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