- Oklahoma joined Wyoming last week in rejecting the Next Generation Science Standards, which have been adopted by 11 states and the District of Columbia.
- Opposition to the standards has largely been due to their lessons on global warming and human-influenced climate change, which conservative groups want taught as theory (or not at all) despite scientific consensus on the matter.
- In Wyoming, many also considered such teaching a threat to the state's coal and oil industries. Meanwhile, the rejection of the standards saw widespread opposition from educators — even those who consider themselves conservative.
The opposition to the teaching of global warming as a human-influenced phenomenon has been compared to battles over evolution in schools — only this debate includes the potentially negative impacts climate change education could have on states with economies driven by fossil fuels. Like Wyoming, Kentucky — where coal is king — initially rejected the standards before Gov. Steven Beshear issued an executive order and put them in place anyway.
As with the Common Core debate when it comes to math and reading, many are also opposed to national standards for science.
Ultimately, however, it can also be argued that with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects playing a large role in the nation's current education debate, it seems counterproductive to reject standards on the basis that you disagree with scientific evidence discussed or find them potentially bad for business. With those STEM skills vital for future jobs that will drive the nation's economy, Wyoming science teacher Roger Spears told The New York Times, "Do you want our kids, or do you want other people to come and take those jobs?"