Joe Biden Wants to Turn Your Elementary Schooler Into a Climate Justice Activist

Admin aims to empower K-12 students to become 'climate justice action researchers and change agents'

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June 19, 2023

The Biden administration is using taxpayer funds to create "curricular materials" aimed at "empowering" K-12 students to become "climate justice action researchers and change agents," federal spending disclosures reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon show.

An array of grants from President Joe Biden's Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, and Department of Commerce fund teacher trainings, research, and community projects meant to inspire elementary school students to fight climate change. One grant, for example, funds climate-related learning experiences for K-12 students, who are then expected to "advocate for change." The grant also calls for the creation of K-12 "curricular materials" that examine "climate justice." Another grant pays for college students to engage in "climate literacy activities" for elementary schoolers, who will learn how to "modif[y] behavior to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

The grants—which routinely cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, money that goes to universities such as San Jose State and Gonzaga—reflect the Biden administration's broader efforts to spur climate activism among young people, both foreign and domestic. In addition to the K-12 curriculum, Biden's U.S. Agency for International Development is funding "behavior change and communications campaigns" that encourage "youth's active participation" in the climate movement as part of its 2022-2030 climate strategy, the Free Beacon reported in March.

The Biden administration K-12 climate grants are funded in part by COVID-19 relief funds allocated through Biden's American Rescue Plan Act, Democrats' $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that Biden said would provide "emergency grants" and address the "COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic crisis." At least one of the grants, meanwhile, comes in response to a state-led push to teach climate change. New Jersey in 2020 became the first state to adopt climate change learning standards, which require schools to incorporate climate change into every class in every grade level and to push children as young as eight to use the political process to address the issue. To aid in implementing these changes, the National Science Foundation last year allocated $74,000 for the College of New Jersey to develop "elementary teacher leaders in climate change education."

The Environmental Protection Agency said its "Environmental Education Grant program" provides students "with an opportunity to think globally and act locally on key environmental issues in communities across the nation, including those overburdened by the impacts of climate change and pollution." A National Science Foundation spokeswoman similarly characterized its "K-12 climate education" spending as deeply important, given that "climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our world today."

In addition to the administration's effort to spur climate activism in elementary schools, Biden’s National Science Foundation is concurrently running a multimillion-dollar operation to introduce progressive racial and gender equity initiatives into academic climate science.

A Free Beacon analysis of 25 foundation grants found that the Biden administration is spending nearly $13 million this year to bring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to university climate science programs. One grant asserts that the purported lack of women of color fighting climate change "forms a crisis in social justice, contributes to rising inequality, and hinders creativity and innovation needed in the environmental and climate workforce," problems that it hopes to fix through a $250,000 "women of color in the geosciences network that provides community, belonging, access, advocacy, and resources to overcome the obstacles to their success."

A $1.3 million foundation grant to Arizona State University, meanwhile, intends to fight climate change through "collaborative, culturally affirming, and solutions-oriented research projects that center diverse knowledge systems" and engage "Indigenous graduate students at Arizona State University in immersive learning experiences led by a faculty cohort of predominantly indigenous and Latinx scholars."

The Biden administration has spent big money to institutionalize progressive priorities in schools and elsewhere. In 2021, the Department of Justice spent $1.5 million on gender-affirming programming for transgender prison inmates, and Biden’s State Department this year announced it is prepared to spend as much as $12 million to teach Iraqis about gender studies and climate change. Outside of the United States, the administration is using taxpayer dollars to fund a climate change podcast in India and to help disabled people in the Central Asian country of Tajikistan become "climate leaders."

Biden's Commerce Department did not return a request for comment.