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Idaho Legislators Strip Climate Change Language in New Science Standards

A legislative panel in Idaho has approved new K-12 science standards that do not reference the impact of human activity on ecosystems and climate change. 

After a contentious debate, Republican lawmakers on the state's House Education Committee voted to approve the standards only when references to human activity as a prime cause of climate change that had appeared in a draft of the standards were removed. 

Disagreements about climate change and the origin of the universe have stymied efforts to develop new science standards in Idaho for several years. The state hasn't updated its standards since 2001.

Other states have also struggled with political differences about what most researchers consider to be established science about the causes of global warming.

In South Dakota, a bill advancing in the state legislature that some say would allow teachers to present information that isn't established science to students has recently faced criticism.

The National Science Teachers Association, or NSTA, sent out a letter urging teachers in South Dakota to fight against the bill. It reads in part, "As it is currently written the legislation gives teachers the ability to discuss 'strengths and weaknesses' of scientific theories, including evolution and climate change."

And earlier this year Wyoming adopted new science standards that were very similar to the Next Generation Science Standards except when it comes to climate change. Wyoming's standards leave out the ability of humans to have an impact on global warming.


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