A set of education standards – guidelines to establish consistency across what’s being taught in all schools in the state – was passed by the Idaho Education Committee on Wednesday.
What’s insteresting about the said standards, is that they are the revised version of a previous copy last year, which had removed all mentions of human-caused climate change, the New York Times reported. Backlash from teachers, parents and students led to yesterday’s approved version which contains discussion on climate change, albeit minimal.
Content about human-driven warming and the environmental impact of nonrenewable sources of energy were removed.
“Education is being censored due to political fears, and students are the ones that are suffering,” a high school senior Cassandra Kenyon told lawmakers at a public hearing last week, according to the Spokesman-Review.
The revised standards still have to get the endorsement of the Senate Education Committee, The Associated Press reports.
Idaho is the only place where lawmakers have successfully stripped state education standards of climate change. My latest: https://t.co/in1gy1wjzH
— Livia Albeck-Ripka (@livia_ar) February 7, 2018
The standards only set a minimum threshold for what schools must teach. If they wish to, schools can continue teaching about climate change.
According to HuffPost, the revised standards reportedly removed the following language:
“Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment. Further explanation: Examples of renewable energy resources could include wind energy, water behind dams, and sunlight; non-renewable energy resources are fossil fuels and atomic energy. Examples of environmental effects could include negative biological impacts of wind turbines, erosion due to deforestation, loss of habitat due to dams, loss of habitat due to surface mining, and air pollution from burning of fossil fuels.”
“Current scientific models indicate that human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel combustion, are the primary factors in the measured rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature.”
Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, condemned Wednesday’s vote in Idaho, saying legislators are “endangering us and our children.”
In an email to HuffPost, Mann wrote: “Rather than allowing school teachers to educate children about the greatest threat they face – the damaging impacts of climate change – they have instead chosen to promote the short-term agenda of the polluters who fund them.”
For teachers, they express worry about teaching without the axed supporting content about human-driven global warming. Without this aid, which helps teachers in assigning coursework, it is possible that teachers may opt to not teach about climate change at all.
“A lot of our teachers are not experts in science, they’re generalists,” said Jacob Smulkowski, a science teacher in Post Falls.
“Teachers look to those standards for guidance.”