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Teach students about climate change


November 20, 2012

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of school board members believe students should be taught about the impact of climate change on natural disasters, according to a new Pulse Poll by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).

“Hurricane Sandy wreaked devastation on many communities,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “The fact that Hurricane Sandy followed so soon after Tropical Storms Irene and Lee could provide a teachable moment about the role of climate change on our environment.”

In addition, an overwhelming majority (77%) of school board members believe the state should allow districts that were affected by Hurricane Sandy to have fewer than 180 days of instruction without losing state aid. Unless lawmakers waive the 180-day requirement, school districts would face a loss of state aid, if they were unable to make up classes. There is currently legislation pending in Albany to waive the requirement.

The poll also found that 63% of board members believe their districts’ emergency management plans were adequate to deal with a natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy, while 13% thought their plans were not adequate. The remainder was not sure.

“In the aftermath of Sandy, school boards should make it a point to periodically re-evaluate their existing emergency management plans to ensure that they have fully considered every possible issue, from student transportation to school facilities to communications with parents,” said Kremer.