Tuesday, March 01, 2016

West Virginia Republican lawmakers block science standards that teach man-made climate change

The Republican-led West Virginia House of Delegates voted last week to block implementation of new science standards that require instruction on man-made climate change, saying the standards will negatively influence students in a state that relies heavily on fossil fuels, Eric Eyre reports for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. The House voted 73-20 to block the rules for at least one year. New standards were supposed to go into effect July 1.

"Last year, state school board members modified the standards that mentioned climate change in hopes of satisfying global-warming skeptics," Eyre writes. "West Virginia's new Next Generation Science Standards three times address human-influenced climate change—in sixth-grade science, in ninth-grade science and in a high-school environmental science elective course." Current science standards received a D grade in 2013 from a conservative think tank, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The same Fordham study rated the Next Generation standards a C.

Republican delegate Michel Moffatt told Eyre, “Starting in kindergarten, you're talking about teaching the kids about how humans negatively affect the Earth. In an ideal world, you could interpret that as, sure, everyone has a footprint, but you could also twist that into all fossil fuels are bad.” Republican Del. Jim Butler told Eyre, “In an energy-producing state, it's a concern to me that we are teaching our kids potentially that we are doing immoral things here in order to make a living in our state. We need to make sure our science standards are actually teaching science and not pushing a political agenda.” (Read more)

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