By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern
SOUTH JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) announced the “Climate Awareness Education: Implementing the NJSLS for Climate Change” grant of $4.5 million recently. The NJDOE now allows New Jersey public, charter, and renaissance schools to apply for the grant to fund locally-focused climate education.
“As New Jersey continues to transition to a green economy, it will be imperative to prepare our students to take on the jobs of the future,” said Governor Phil Murphy in a press release from NJDOE. “These grants will provide schools with the tools they need to ensure that New Jersey continues to be a leader in the fight against climate change.”
The NJDOE press release states that The Climate Awareness Education grant aims to help schools implement ‘hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for students, create “Green Teams” of students and educators to provide leadership and support local initiatives, establish professional development for teachers, and offer curriculum development and instructional materials aligned with the state’s learning standards.’
The funds for this grant came from Governor Murphy’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget in another effort to educate residents of New Jersey on climate and climate change.
Governor Murphy has stated his stance on climate education and policy numerous times. Also, on February 15, Governor Murphy announced his executive electrification orders, stating that New Jersey will draw 100 percent of its power from emission-free sources by 2035.
“Our civic leaders, policy makers, journalists, teachers, and many others will need climate literacy to successfully achieve our environmental goals,” said Governor Murphy.
The grant arrived two years after climate education gradually entered into New Jersey’s Student Learning Standards (NJSLS). NJSLS’s mission is to educate individuals on everything regarding climate change, including how and why it happens, the impact it has on communities, and how to act moving forward.
“These learning standards are more than just a new requirement, they are a symbol of the partnership between generations, and I am excited to see them come to life through our best-in-the-nation educators,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy.
The tentative deadline to apply for funding for school districts, charter, and renaissance schools is mid-March, and funds must be used by June 20, 2023. The grant is equally shared between districts, with the 31 School Development Authority receiving an additional 15 percent.
“The challenge ahead of us is great,” wrote First Lady Tammy Murphy. “But, with the Governor’s commitment to reaching 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and a host of other green initiatives, New Jersey is positioned to be a leader of the climate movement – now and in the future.”
For more information about the grant and how to apply, visit https://www.nj.gov/education/standards/climate/index.shtml.
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