Tell New York State and New York City: No State Tests on Earth Day

Shannon Tahoe, Interim Commissioner, and Richard Carranza, NYC Chancellor

At a moment when our students’ futures hang in the balance, New York should be  ensuring that all students have an opportunity to learn about the causes of and solutions to climate change on Earth Day. If you think kids shouldn’t spend the 50th anniversary of Earth Day taking a standardized test, sign our petition in support of the letter sent to State and City government officials, asking them to reschedule and hold climate teach-ins instead.

Co-sponsored by: Teachers for the Future, Sunrise Movement NYC, People’s Climate Movement New York, 350 Brooklyn Fridays For Future NYC, Extinction Rebellion Youth, Zero Hour, TREEage, NYYCS, Queens Climate Project, NYC Opt Out, Class Size Matters, MORE Caucus, Indivisible Nation BK, Empire State Indivisible, One Queens Indivisible, Indivisible Harlem, Jackson Heights People for Public Schools

Download a PDF version of the letter sent to the State Commissioner and Chancellor Carranza by elected officials and the above organizations here.

Sponsored by
New York, NY

To: Shannon Tahoe, Interim Commissioner, and Richard Carranza, NYC Chancellor
From: [Your Name]

Dear Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe and NYC Chancellor Richard Carranza,

April 22, 2020, will be a monumental day in students’ lives: It is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, in a year that has seen unparalleled youth-led activism demanding action on the climate emergency. It is also the second day of the New York state-wide grades 3-8 standardized math test.

As elected and community leaders, we call on you to reschedule the state test and instead support a state-wide climate teach-in on Earth Day 50.

The future of every student across the state hangs in the balance. Large parts of the world are literally on fire because of a changed climate. Ecosystems are collapsing. Coastal cities are seeing unprecedented flooding. The UN has warned we have approximately eight and a half years to cut global greenhouse gas emissions in half, or face an increasingly uninhabitable earth. By scheduling a standardized test for this date, you are telling young people that their future doesn’t matter.

Thousands of middle and high school students are already planning on striking on this Earth Day, recognizing the importance of this moment. But not all students have access to climate strikes: It requires parent support and exposure to both climate science and models of civic engagement, something that many privileged students have, but that the majority of our students lack. All students should be able to participate in this movement that will determine the shape of their futures.

Requiring hundreds of thousands of elementary and middle school students to spend their Earth day silently completing scantron sheets while the Earth is in crisis is anathema to the purpose of education. We feel that, instead of ignoring this tremendous opportunity to support student activists fighting for their own survival, New York school districts should make climate science, engagement, and solutions accessible to all students by holding Earth Day 50 teach-ins for those who are unable to participate in the student climate-strike.

Please reschedule the math test, support student strikers, and provide resources for schools to hold climate-teach ins in honor of Earth Day 50.