FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2023
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (June 29, 2023)—Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the final California State Budget for FY 2023-24 without critical investments that provide students with the opportunity to become climate and environmentally literate. Specifically, this year’s budget does not include a one-time funding request of $10 million from Senator Ben Allen for teacher professional learning on climate change and environmental justice.
Karen Cowe, CEO of Ten Strands, a nonprofit that supports environmental and climate literacy in schools, issued the following statement in response:
“This is a loss for our students, who have a desire to learn about the wildfires, flooding, and extreme heat plaguing their communities and how to help address them. And this is a loss for our teachers, who need professional learning to be equipped to teach these topics.
“We know that California is facing a budget deficit, which means our leaders had to make difficult decisions even though they already made it clear that this is a priority. In 2021, California invested in climate change and environmental justice education through an appropriation to develop this unique curriculum; we must maximize that investment by ensuring teachers get the support they need to put the curriculum into action. We hope that, next year, budget leaders will help California meet its education and climate goals, including the implementation of solution-oriented resources to help teach students about climate change and environmental justice.
“Ten Strands would like to thank Senator Ben Allen, who made the budget request, for his leadership and dedication to California’s teachers, students, and our environment. We would also like to thank the more than 250 education entities, organizations, and individuals who submitted letters of support, and the many individuals who made their voices heard on social media and by emailing budget leaders.
“Ten Strands will continue this crucial work to prepare students to become engaged citizens and changemakers in their communities. We look forward to working with the administration, legislature, our partners, and our communities to support students on their journey to becoming stewards of our planet and to support teachers in their professional learning of critical climate change and environmental justice issues.”
About California’s Climate Change and Environmental Justice Program
- Through Senator Ben Allen’s leadership, California has already invested $6 million to develop curricular resources on climate change and environmental justice, aligned with California’s Environmental Principles & Concepts, Next Generation Science Standards, History-Social Science Standards, and more.
- The curricular resources are currently in development under the leadership of the San Mateo County Office of Education in partnership with Ten Strands. To ensure all of California’s diverse communities are represented, local community groups across California are working with curriculum and environmental experts to develop the resources.
- The free, open-education curricular resources will be available for grades K–12 beginning in 2025. They will feature developmentally appropriate lessons to explore local environmental challenges and empower students to identify solutions to address them.
- The one-time 2023-24 funding request was intended to maximize California’s existing investment by supporting teachers with professional learning to bring these resources into the classroom.
About Ten Strands
Ten Strands is a California–based nonprofit established in 2012. Their mission is to strengthen the partnerships and strategies that will bring climate and environmental literacy to all of California’s TK–12 students. They operate with a small, diverse, and nimble staff and strategic partners throughout the state. Ten Strands utilizes the largest and most diverse institution in California—the public school system—to impact 58 county offices of education, more than 1,000 school districts, approximately 10,000 individual schools, over 300,000 teachers, and 5.8 million children. For more information, visit http://tenstrands.org.