Utah Balks On National Science Standards Over Qualms About Climate Change

February 9, 2015 12:53 p.m.

The Utah state Board of Education on Thursday put new science standards on hold due to concerns over local input and topics like climate change, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The school board’s Standards and Assessment Committee had planned to release the new standards this month to the public for review. However, the committee instead sent them back to the State Office of Education, which drafted the standards.

Utah based its new standards for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade on the Next Generation Science Standards, which address climate change and ask students to discuss the causes of global warming. The standards have been adopted by 13 states and Washington, D.C.

The Utah Teachers Association supports the standards, but parents were worried that the state used the standards drafted by national experts without much state input.

Standards committee member Vincent Newmeyer complained about lack of parental input and claimed that the standards took a position on climate change and evolution, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

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“That is true with global warming, that is true with Darwinian evolution and a number of other things,” he said. “It’s not a science class in these areas. It’s an indoctrination class.”

State Office of Eduction official Sara Young told the Salt Lake Tribune that the standards ask teachers to address disagreements in the scientific community on issues like global warming.

The Next Generation Science Standards were also met with opposition in West Virginia. When the state decided to adopt the standards, state school board member Wade Linger pushed West Virginia to alter the standards to express skepticism about man-made climate change. After national outcry over the changes, West Virginia reversed Linger’s edits.

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