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Wyoming Rejects Science Standards That Teach Climate Change

Wyoming Rejects Science Standards That Teach Climate Change

The quality of science education in Wyoming public schools is at risk after state lawmakers rejected national science standards because they – gasp – acknowledge the human role in global warming.

One would think that since 99.9% of scientists agree that climate change is real, discussing its existence would be a perfectly acceptable thing to do in a science classroom. However, Wyoming politicians had another idea, deciding to tack a denial of the science standards on an education budgetary bill. As a result, teachers and educational experts are unable to even formally discuss the merits of the national standards.

Though the Next Generation Science Standards are currently being implemented in states throughout the United States, Wyoming is the first to shut them down. For lawmakers, apparently, the increasingly non-debatable subject of climate change is still debatable.

“I don’t accept, personally, that it is a fact,” said Ron Micheli, the Chairman of Wyoming’s Board of Education. “[The standards are] very prejudiced in my opinion against fossil-fuel development.” How nice to see a man tasked with ensuring Wyoming children receive a quality education is primarily concerned with big business instead.

He’s not the only politician with this perspective. State Representative Matt Teeters, a Republican who authored the amendment on the budget, said, “There’s all kind of social implications involved in [the standards] that I don’t think would be good for Wyoming.” Teeters pointed out that Wyoming is the country’s largest exporter of energy, and he feels obligated to stand with the oil, gas and coal industry.

Of course, wishing it weren’t true because it’s not convenient to the state’s economy and having it actually not be true are two different things entirely. Moreover, it’s extremely shortsighted to think that supporting businesses that rely on finite resources is somehow “better” for Wyoming than protecting the environment for future generations of Wyoming residents.

Prior to the vote, 30 scientific experts recommended that the Next Generation Science Standards be utilized by Wyoming. A poll conducted in Wyoming found that 74% of parents approved of the new standards, including the references to climate change. Neither of these endorsements mattered to the legislators, evidently.

If climate change is addressed in the classroom, Micheli would like it to be referenced as a “theory.” Additionally, he would like to see it accompanied by a discussion of how mineral extraction has benefited Wyoming. Again, Micheli seems to have some interest that supersedes his commitment to improving education in Wyoming. Please promise not to show this man Ohio’s frightful pro-fracking science class activities.

Though Wyoming does have some existing science standards, they have not been significantly updated in more than a decade. By most accounts, the Next Generation Science Standards are more rigorous and useful for today’s students, so rejecting them in favor of a political agenda ultimately hurts the kids – kids who will undoubtedly need that scientific background to understand and address the impending problems that climate change will pose.

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170 comments

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7:42AM PDT on Mar 26, 2014

Yes, close your eyes and hope it to disappear! Like we all know, the Americans are good at opting out on things they don't like. Keep at it as you can't escape anyways..

7:32AM PDT on Mar 26, 2014

??????????

4:23PM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

Steven Gregory d.,
No, I was not taught by your protégé. Regarding the weather, storms are governed by differences in temperature and pressure, and generally follow the jet stream (the greater the differential, the more severe the storm). Global warming is expected to result in greater warming during the coolest times: night, winter, and the poles. This decreases the temperature differential, and consequently the pressure differential. This in turn, results in slowing of the jet stream. Storms become less severe, but release more precipitation locally (the storms move more slowly). This is true for weather in the mid-latitudes. Indeed, data shows a decrease in tornadic activity and an increase in rainfall over the past 50 years.
The tropics behave differently; they are governed by the trade winds. Warmer ocean lead to more tropical storm formation. However, hurricane strength is determined by atmospheric circulation. To date, there is no clear trend in tropical activity.
If you have valid reasons to explain your beliefs, I am all ears.

2:20PM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

@Dan B. contd. Do you also maintain that the so called "Greenhouse Effect" is simply a figment of our imagination???

But to tell you the truth, I'm still trying to figure out HOW heating up the world's oceans (the Poles and other ice sheets which serve to regulate the temperature of the oceans are receding/melting at an alarming rate) could cause a decrease in the violence of the storms???

I'm going out on a limb here, but was Rita Roark one of your teachers????

2:12PM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

@Dan B. I don't know WHERE you get your information, BUT it is crystal clear, that as the temperature of the world's oceans INCREASE, so will the violence of the storms created!!!!

The wild fires which have ravaged Arizona and California in the last few years are unprecedented in their FURY!!!

Even as I type these words, nearly the entire state of California is being ravaged by the worst DROUGHT they have ever seen...AND Oso Washington is trying to recover from the worst land/mudslide in their history...AND it is obvious that the Polar Ice Sheets are shrinking dramatically and even faster than predicted...Need I say more????

6:42AM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

Steven Gregory d.,
What about all the catastrophic weather events that occurred 50, 100, or more years ago? What caused them? These are events are not on the increase. Indeed, global warming theory predicts that most will decrease. The main exception being floods, which ate expected to increase in a warmer, wetter world.

5:47AM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

merci

5:08AM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

To whom it may concern, my previous post was of course meant to be SARCASTIC!!!!
There is NOTHING good about letting mental midgets like Rita Roark loose on poor unsuspecting students!!!...As far as Wyoming is concerned, I must admit that I never thought of the state as a "Paragon of Intellectualism", but my goodness, when you look at ALL the catastrophic weather events of the last decade, how can ANYONE with half a brain dispute the fact that HUMANS have had an INCREDIBLY negative affect on the ATMOSPHERE!!!!

4:59AM PDT on Mar 25, 2014

The goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood news, is that Rita Roark will soon be looking for a new job...AND, by the looks of things, she'll fit in very well in Wyoming!!!...She can blame the Global Warming on the Dinosaurs (after all they still roamed the Earth 6000 years ago) and of course, the stupid Buddhists!!!!

7:25PM PDT on Mar 24, 2014

Thanks for sharing

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