The state of Wyoming has rejected a comprehensive educational reform due to the content of one aspect of the curriculum: climate change.
The Next-Gen Standards (NGS) include several core topics that cover the ideas of climate change:
- MS-ESS3-5: Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century. Clarification Statement: Examples of factors include human activities (such as fossil fuel combustion, cement production, and agricultural activity) and natural processes (such as changes in incoming solar radiation or volcanic activity). Examples of evidence can include tables, graphs, and maps of global and regional temperatures, atmospheric levels of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and the rates of human activities. Emphasis is on the major role that human activities play in causing the rise in global temperatures.
- HS-ESS2-4: Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate. Clarification Statement: Examples of the causes of climate change differ by timescale, over 1-10 years: large volcanic eruption, ocean circulation; 10-100s of years: changes in human activity, ocean circulation, solar output; 10-100s of thousands of years: changes to Earth’s orbit and the orientation of its axis; and 10-100s of millions of years: long-term changes in atmospheric composition.
- HS-ESS3-5: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems. Clarification Statement: Examples of evidence, for both data and climate model outputs, are for climate changes (such as precipitation and temperature) and their associated impacts (such as on sea level, glacial ice volumes, or atmosphere and ocean composition).
Essentially, the Wyoming legislature doesn’t like the fact that the NGS treats global warming as “settled science.” State representative Matt Teeters said:
“[The standards] handle global warming as settled science. There’s all kind of social implications involved in that that I don’t think would be good for Wyoming.”
The article also quotes the Chair of the State Board of Education as saying the board voted to “revise the standards to present climate change as a theory, instead of a fact, and to present the benefits mineral extraction has brought Wyoming.”
So the legislature feels that if climate change is real, it’s going to hurt Wyoming’s economy, so it should be taught as a theory and be balanced by how the things that cause it…well they make money. Who cares if at least 95% of scientists agree that the warming of the last 100 years is “very likely” due to human activities.
The climate doesn’t care about politics or “economic realities.” It is changing and we will have to make adjustments in how we do things. It would be a far wiser move for Wyoming to produce initiatives in carbon capture and green energy.
But no, clearly sticking your head in the sand, subjectively censoring scientific consensus and producing state-run mineral extraction propaganda is a much better way to do things. Good luck with that.