- The West Virginia Board of Education shared last month that it planned to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards along with 13 other states and the District of Columbia, but before the adoption process was completed, board members discreetly tweaked the benchmarks.
- Science educators say the changes weaken the standards by causing way more doubt about climate change than is acceptable, according to the New York Times.
- The board's actions have come under fire and it will reconsider the changes at a board meeting Wednesday.
The Next Generation Science Standards were created because national science standards hadn’t been updated since 1996. If the United States wants to be on the cutting edge in science, as it has made clear many times, it needs to start by educating its youth on the full spectrum of scientific findings.
It's also worth noting that West Virginia was among the 26 states that helped develop the new standards.
Last year, Wyoming was in the throes of debating NGSS when a last-minute provision was voted on preventing their review or funding. The catch: The provision was sneakily tucked into a budget line. The sad thing is, 30 scientists unanimously advised Wyoming to adopt the benchmarks before the standards-halting provision was added.
West Virginia, like Wyoming, is a state that relies on industries that would be harmed by the teaching on man-made climate change. Both situations indicate decisions were made less on "fact vs. theory" contentions and more on economic incentives. Ultimately, sticking to science standards that are almost 20 years old is a disservice students.