Coal-producing Wyo. first to reject science standards
CHEYENNE — Wyoming, the nation's top coal-producing state, is the first to reject K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups, mainly because of global warming components.
The Wyoming Board of Education decided recently that the Next Generation Science Standards need more review when questions were raised about the treatment of man-made global warming.
Board President Ron Micheli said the review will look into whether “we can't get some standards that are Wyoming standards and standards we all can be proud of.”
Others view the decision as a blow to science education in Wyoming.
“The science standards are acknowledged to be the best to prepare our kids for the future, and they are evidence based, peer reviewed, etc. Why would we want anything less for Wyoming?” Marguerite Herman, a proponent of the standards, said.
Twelve states have adopted the standards since they were released in April 2013 with the goal of improving science education, and Wyoming is the first to reject them, said Chad Colby, spokesman for Achieve, one of the organizations that helped write the standards.
“The standards are what students should be expected to know at the end of each grade, but how a teacher teaches them is still up to the local districts and the states, and even the teachers in most cases,” Colby said.
But the global warming and evolution components have caused pushback around the country.
Amy Edmonds, of the Wyoming Liberty Group, said teaching “one view of what is not settled science about global warming” is just one of a number of problems with the standards.
“I think Wyoming can do far better,” Edmonds said.
Wyoming produces almost 40 percent of the nation's coal, with much of it used by power plants to provide electricity around the nation. Minerals taxes on coal provided $1 billion to the state and local governments in 2012, and coal mining supports about 6,900 jobs in the state.
Burning coal to generate electricity produces large amounts of CO2, which is considered a heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. Most scientists recognize that man-made CO2 emissions contribute to global warming. However, the degree to which it can be blamed for global warming is in dispute among some scientists.
Gov. Matt Mead has called federal efforts to curtail greenhouse emissions a “war on coal” and has said that he's skeptical about man-made climate change.
This past winter, state lawmakers approved budget wording that sought to stop adoption of the standards.
“Wyoming is certainly unique in having legislators and the governor making comments about perceived impacts on the fossil fuel industry of kids learning climate science, and unique in acting on that one objection to prohibit consideration of the package of standards, of which climate science is a small component,” said John Friedrich, a member of the national organization Climate Parents, which supports the standards.
Friedrich and Colby noted that oil and gas industry giants Exxon Mobile and Chevron support the standards.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Baltimore gets bloodier as arrests drop post-riots
- Former GOP House Speaker Hastert indicted in banking violation
- Health care law’s supporters encounter resistance from federal judge
- Texas rivers threaten cities downstream
- Justice Department seeks info on medical scope in superbug outbreaks
- Historic Martha’s Vineyard lighthouse moves inland
- Driver’s license ban for immigrant children ends in Nebraska
- Detroit-area police officer to stand trial in driver’s beating
- California man beaten by deputies on video faces charges
- Dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded after all
- Pataki formally opens White House bid, 8th from GOP