Weather Channel focuses on Idaho’s science standards debate

If you had forecast that Idaho’s science standards debate would make national news, score one for yourself.

The Weather Channel — the cable TV home of local forecasts on the 8s — has posted an in-depth look at Idaho’s science standards controversy.

A key takeaway: James Crugnale of reports that Idaho is the only state where the Legislature has removed references to climate change from science standards. Legislators in six states tried to roll back similar science standards. Texas and West Virginia did roll back their standards, but this was done by the states’  education boards, not by legislators.

Last year, Idaho’s science standards committee modeled its proposal after the Next Generation Science Standards, which Crugnale calls “a framework designed to help school districts across the country.” Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have adopted language similar to the NGSS framework.

The 2017 Legislature edited the committee’s proposed wording, deleting five sections referring to climate change. The temporary and edited standards will remain in place until next year, when lawmakers revisit the issue.

The State Department of Education wrapped up a series of public hearings on science standards last week, and the department will accept written comments through Wednesday. Public comments are running overwhelmingly in support of addressing climate change in the standards — but the SDE received similar comments in 2016, before lawmakers deleted references to climate change.

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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