Personally, I think that environmental sciences should be a pre requisite for graduating. As a college student I realize how poorly educated students are when it comes to the environmental sciences because high schools really only teach chemistry, physics, and biology. It isn’t till you get to college that you have the opportunity to learn environmental sciences, and it is pretty easy to relate a lot of things in them to the other sciences. Even if they just focus a little more on the environment in something like biology which is extremely easy to relate, I think that more environmental sciences should be taught.
I do feel that an environmental science course should be requried to graduate high school. Environmental sciences are important to everyone and it is necessary that everyone is educated about the environment for the human race to have a sustainable future. There are some classes that I am glad they teach in high school, but aren’t nearly as important as knowing your own environment!
Although it would be lovely if schools could afford separate, required environmental sciences classes, they certainly can’t at this point. Doing so would require paying for thousands of teachers to get special training to teach a new class, new textbooks, new materials, even new lab equipment. But, on the other hand, environmental science is an extremely important field. What do we do?
The best way to go about putting environmental science into the school systems is integrating it into existing programs. My chemistry classes in high school, for example, contained components about molecular-level environmental science. Many textbooks for biology, chemistry, and physics contain portions about the environment, since it’s a great context for the three big sciences. Integrating environmental science in this way would most likely not require expensive training, and would also help cut down on the ever-growing list of graduation requirements for students (i.e. in some places, four years of science [often two chem, two bio] are already required to graduate). It could also keep money from being sucked from other dying programs, like the arts, physical education, English as a second language, foreign languages, and industrial/trade/”alternative” programs, which are all very important both for intellectual growth and, in many cases, keeping kids from dropping out of school (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “I’d leave if it weren’t for choir/shop/German/ESL/whatever”).
I definitely think taking an environmental science course should be required to graduate high school. I hadn’t taken any courses in environmental science until college, and I was so surprised at how much information was completely new to me. I think it’s very important for kids at a young age to learn about the problems facing our environment. They are the ones who are going to have to deal with the consequences of climate change.
It would be really great to see environmental studies become another prerequisite for graduating high school. However, it seems that times keep getting harder for school funding and that may be an impossibility for many schools. As of now, there are many schools fighting to keep a hold of art (and even sport) programs. To me, these are necessary to developing minds and should not be excluded.
But, then again, so can enviromental studies. I think a good place to start would be to offer alternative/supplementary programs geared to environmental learning. I definetely believe that the message of enviromental awareness can be taught in science classes and the like. With society becoming more turned on to the needs of the environment, it should likewise become embedded in the teachings of our schools.
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