Giving Compass' Take:
- Climate-related disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, and winter storms physically impact schools and classrooms as well as students' mental health and academic achievements.
- What can donors do to support education recovery efforts in communities impacted by climate change?
- Read more on building resilience in education against the effects of climate change.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Measuring the effects of extreme weather requires extreme numbers.
Climate change racked up an eye-popping $165 billion damages tab in the U.S. last year, as tallied by a recent federal report. And back in September, around 82 percent of Florida school districts closed for at least one day — keeping roughly 2.5 million students out of school.
With experts predicting more extreme weather in 2023, that undoubtedly means schools will suffer more disruptions in a K-12 education era already defined by pandemic-related learning setbacks. This puts physical classrooms in harm’s way, and also threatens students’ academics and mental health, too.
Climate change impacts on K-12 education are a problem worldwide. Damage from disasters like flooding, cyclones and wildfires can shutter schools for long periods, a Brookings Institute report says, or cause students to miss school due to illness or damage to their homes. The report authors were particularly concerned about repercussions for girls.
“These risks are particularly acute for adolescent girls, who have a short window of opportunity to get back to school before they are forced to take a different path — including marriage or migration for work,” researchers write.
In the U.S., physical threats to schools from weather vary from region to region. They include hurricanes, wildfires and winter storms.
For example, last year, California’s legislature identified climate change as a major threat to K-12 education for its potential to disrupt students’ lives and learning, along with school districts’ budgets. One of its most notable dangers is increased wildfires, which caused more than 100 school districts to evacuate when they swept the state in 2020. But the analysis also warns that schools must prepare for closures due to heat-induced power outages or poor air quality.
“In some areas of the state, educators and students may also increasingly be impacted by flooding that disrupts their ability to get to school or impairs the functionality of school facilities on a short or long term basis,” the state analysis says. “More frequent closures will cause disruptions to education, special education services, school meals, child care, and other services.”
Read the full article about the impact of climate change on education by Nadia Tamez-Robledo at EdSurge.