In New Mexico, another heated debate over science standards

If you’ve paid any attention to Idaho’s debate over school science standards, this will all sound very familiar.

Teachers and environmentalists have criticized changes to proposed science standards in New Mexico, the Associated Press reported.

The state’s Public Education Department has deleted references to evolution and a 4.6 billion-year-old earth. A reference to climate change and global warming now mentions climate “fluctuations,” according to the AP.

“Our position is that the Public Education Department has injected politics into science,” New Mexico Science Teachers’ Association spokeswoman Ellen Loehman told the AP.

Boise school administrator Chris Taylor testifies against changes in science standards during a Feb. 23 Senate Education Committee hearing.

Idaho legislators have spent the past two sessions parsing over words in the state’s proposed science standards.

Legislators approved temporary science standards in 2017, but only after removing references to climate change. Lawmakers said they wanted the references to take a more balanced view of the climate change debate.

In May, the State Department of Education responded with language that it said “was reworded to place a balanced focus on solutions and problems.” One section reads, in part, “Technology and engineering can potentially mitigate impacts on Earth’s systems as both human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase.”

The 2018 Legislature will revisit the science standards — and consider the reworded sections.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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