States are fighting new science curriculum teaching climate change and evolution


A set of revamped science education standards that would teach US students about evolution, global warming, and clean energy are being held up and rejected in a number of states that have taken issue with what they teach. Wyoming became the first state to reject the new standards, which were devised by a coalition of experts and are completely voluntary, in early May, taking issue with their teaching of evolution and man-made global warming, according to the Associated Press.

One Oklahoma rep claimed climate change was still in debate by academicsLast week, a House committee in Oklahoma also began a fight over the standard's confirmation by voting to reject them. Though the new standards were approved by the state's Department of Education, its legislature may now attempt to overturn that approval, according to KOCO Oklahoma City. Again, the legislators' issue appeared to be climate change.

"There’s been a lot of recent criticisms, in some sectors, as to maybe some of the hyperbole — what some consider hyperbole — relative to climate change. I know it’s a very very difficult, very very controversial subject," Oklahoma state Representative Mark McCullough, Republican, said before the vote rejecting what's known as the Next Generation Science Standards. He then asked the state board of education's science director whether the new standards might be used to "inculcate" young students with "a fairly-one sided view as to that controversial subject [climate change], a subject that is very much in dispute even among even the academics."

So far 11 states have adopted the new standards, according to The New York Times. Two other states have also seen a heated debated around the them: Kentucky's legislature reportedly voted to reject the standards only to have its governor overrule it and mandate their implementation, and South Carolina has reportedly lightened the references to climate change and evolution in the standards, which are now moving through its legislature.

Though climate change and evolution are being taught in some US schools, these standards — which were developed by the nonprofit Achieve with the support of 26 states — have created the first opportunity for them to be debated on a national scale. With 11 states supporting the standards so far, they're clearly seeing some success, even though they're sure to face a much steeper uphill battle elsewhere. That includes inside of the states that have already accepted them: beyond their approval, it'll still be up to local districts to actually implement the standards and teach what they've outlined.

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