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I wanted to thank Reps. Patrick Corey, Sawin Millett and Joel Stetkis for voting to pass LD 1902, a resolve “To Establish a Pilot Program To Encourage Climate Education in Maine Public Schools.” This money will come from the general fund as seed money for programming in September with no tax increase. This type of boost is similar to the way that the Maine laptop program began. As a middle school teacher, I witnessed the exponential growth in teaching 21st century digital skills due to the laptop program. Fully funding professional development for teachers can provide the same type of launch forward for school climate curriculum within public schools.
Rep. Paul Sterns was quoted in the Feb. 24 Portland Press Herald article, “House OKs Climate Science Training Funds,” as saying there are enough materials in existence to teach climate change. This misconception assumes teachers have time outside of the school day for professional learning. Teaching during the pandemic has increased the workload for teachers, and place-based climate change lessons will not start soon enough if we encourage only the teachers without other obligations to seek learning on their own time.
It’s time to support teachers and students. Maine teachers have been asking for help and students are worried about climate change. They believe the governor’s call to action: “Maine Won’t Wait!” Thank you to these lawmakers for showing the next generation that we are on their side and will support the learning they need for success in their future.