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ERIC Number: EJ1164164
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Nov
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Assessment of 6- to 20-Grade Educators' Climate Knowledge and Perceptions: Results from the Climate Stewardship Survey
McNeal, Karen S.; Walker, Scott L.; Rutherford, David
Journal of Geoscience Education, v62 n4 p645-654 Nov 2014
The southeastern United States (SEUS) faces numerous potential impacts from a changing climate; however, the population has been characterized with a predominance of naysayers and few climate policies have been implemented by state governments in the region. As such, public education is an important avenue for achieving a climate literate citizenry in the region. Yet little is known about the needs of and influences on this community. We developed the Climate Stewardship Survey (CSS) to assess grades 6-20 educators' knowledge and perceptions of climate change in the SEUS (South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida, and Arkansas). The population sampled was an informed volunteer sample of convenience. Our findings demonstrated little misinformation among this informed group was evident and strong knowledge and perceptions of the issue were prevalent. However, some uncertainties about the impacts and causes of climate change persisted. Also, in regard to political orientation, Democratic Party and Republican Party educators had statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences in their knowledge and perceptions, and this difference was even stronger once Protestants were subdivided by political preferences. These differences indicate that the issue is polarized in the SEUS among educators and that the coupling of political and religious orientation can strongly influence this group's climate change knowledge and perceptions. As such, this population in the SEUS may be potentially more susceptible than others to cultural cognition influences, especially since relatively few SEUS state education standards address geoscience or climate change content, particularly at levels beyond middle school, with fewer than half of the states surveyed participating in the Next Generation Science Standards development process. Although this sample was limited in its distribution among states and respondent ethnicity, the findings presented are informative about potential SEUS educators' perceptions and knowledge about climate change. As such, our findings can be used to help inform future trainers in regard to what content areas might be the principal professional development opportunities and provide future researchers potential avenues for further investigation.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Carolina; North Carolina; Georgia; Texas; Mississippi; Alabama; Louisiana; Tennessee; Florida; Arkansas
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE1043398