This summer, Americans have seen severe flooding in Kentucky, droughts spurring wildfires in the West and oppressive heat setting records across the U.S. and Europe.

Yet as they return to school this fall, some 50 million U.S. students will have few opportunities to learn how to advance solutions for the climate crisis, despite living with its realities.

That is unacceptable: Leaders at every level, from teachers in the classroom to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, must take action to transform the way climate change is taught in classrooms and addressed through school infrastructures and policies. Education about the urgency of climate change and opportunities to advance solutions is essential; students in our generation must be empowered to act

Growing up with roots in Charleston, South Carolina, and rural Appalachia, we felt the impacts of flooding and fires on our homes and families. Hurricane evacuations caused learning disruptions for days at a time in Charleston schools, and the threat of devastating storms became a sure a marker of the arrival of fall. In rural Appalachia, more frequent fires and flooding have left students unable to make the journey to school for days at a time.

These climate disruptions are not rare : Last year, one million K-12 students faced learning interruptions during the first month of school because of flooding, heat, wildfires and other climate-related events.

Yet in our high school classrooms, even as the threat posed by the climate crisis has intensified, climate change was often deemed “too partisan” to discuss. When it did appear in the curriculum, it was often in a global, scientific context that felt far removed from our lived experience and provided no opportunity to engage with solutions.

We instead took climate actions on our own time, organizing with youth movements to empower student storytelling and combat climate change nationally. We ran activist trainings for middle and high school students looking to learn about climate solutions and supported students attempting to influence decision-making in their own communities.

Read the full article about climate education by Naina Agrawal-Hardin and Maya Green, and Davin McHenry at The Hechinger Report.