The Pioneer fire in Idaho, 1 August 2016. Photo: Boise National Forest

By Kimberlee Kruesi
9 February 2017

(The Associated Press) – An Idaho House panel has approved new K-12 science standards, but only after striking key references to climate change caused by human behavior.

This is the third year the Idaho Legislature has struggled to agree on science standards for public schools. Previous efforts that included references to global warming and the origin of the universe have been rejected by Republicans unhappy that the language didn’t offer alternative views.

Climate change can still be taught in schools, even if they are not part of the state standards. Standards are only a minimum of what students are expected to know.

“This is not about curriculum,” said Republican Rep. Ryan Kerby, of New Plymouth, who voted in favor of the amended rules. “If a school district wants to teach the dickens out of global warming, have at it.”

The last time Idaho’s science standards were updated was in 2001 — sparking criticism from educators that the current system is too vague and lacks depth.

The version approved Thursday had originally included the need to reduce and monitor human impacts on climate change. For example, the standards would require teachers to ask students questions on the causes of rising global temperatures over the past century with an emphasis on the major role of human activity. […]

Meanwhile, House Assistant Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, of Boise, blasted the committee’s decision for suppressing facts.

“Not only do we owe it to our children to teach them 21st century science, but we owe it to the farmers, foresters and citizens of Idaho to take this issue seriously and not bury our heads in the sand,” she said in a prepared statement. [more]

Lawmakers strip climate change references from new Idaho K-12 science standards

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