West Virginia Revisits Science Standards

Jan 13, 2015

By John Schwartz

West Virginia joined 25 other states several years ago to help develop a set of standards for teaching science across the United States. Among other topics, the standards acknowledge the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and has been profoundly affected by human activity.

And last month, the West Virginia Board of Education announced that it was among the first 13 states and the District of Columbia to adopt the “Next Generation Science Standards,” which it said would “equip students with the critical thinking and analytical skills they need to be successful in college and to compete for today’s most rewarding jobs.”

But before the standards were adopted, board members quietly made some changes that science educators say substantially weaken the current state of climate science and introduce far more doubt than is warranted.

The board’s decision has come under fire and at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday the board will reconsider its action. The board could decide to go back to the original language of the curriculum, to do nothing or to drop the new standards altogether.

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