BOX 1-1
Workshop Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee will plan and conduct a public workshop that will address the current status of climate change education within grades K-14 of the formal education system. The workshop will feature invited presentations and discussion. It will provide an opportunity for discussion between expert researchers and practitioners in complementary fields, such as education policy, teacher professional development, learning and cognitive science, climate change, K-12 and higher education administration, instructional design, and curriculum development. Discussions at the workshop will focus on identifying how the issue of climate change is currently taught in school; what research indicates about how best to teach climate change in K-14 settings; what factors impede teaching climate change in schools; and how to best articulate the connection between climate change education in K-12 and higher education. The committee will develop the agenda topics, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussion.

summarizes the workshop’s presentations and discussions. Box 1-1 presents the workshop statement of task.


America’s Climate Choices (National Research Council, 2011a) describes key issues the nation faces in responding to climate change and developing strategies for mitigation and adaptation, noted Charles W. (Andy) Anderson (Michigan State University) in opening the workshop. The report articulates two challenges for the formal education system: to prepare scientists, leaders, and practitioners with the needed expertise to address climate change issues, and also to prepare all citizens to become informed decision makers. The report proposes that decisions about mitigation and adaptation be viewed in a framework of iterative risk management. That is, Anderson explained, the optimal response to climate change would be “an ongoing process of identifying risks and response options, advancing a portfolio of actions that emphasize risk reductions and are robust across a range of possible futures, and revising choices related to the climate over time to take advantage of new knowledge.” The report does not call for a commitment to some particular course of action, Anderson noted. Instead, it asks for a commitment to understanding the implications of different courses of action and choosing in a deliberative way among them.

America’s Climate Choices identifies key elements of an effective national response, Anderson explained, one of which is to develop institu-

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