Wyoming is the first state to reject the Next Generation Science Standards. While 10 states have already adopted the benchmarks, which were created to boost U.S. science education, Wyoming rejected the standards after legislators criticized the teaching of man-made climate change as fact.
The standards have been rebuked in some states, such as Kansas, for curriculum on evolution; however, Wyoming is the first state to cite man-made climate change as a point of contention.
- According to the Star-Tribune, Republican Rep. Matt Teeters, a co-author of the provision preventing the science standards, said that teaching global warming as fact would wreck Wyoming’s economy, since the state is the nation’s largest energy exporter.
The Next Generation Science Standards came to fruition because 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. Thirty scientists unanimously advised Wyoming to adopt the benchmarks before a last-minute provision was voted on that prevents reviewing or funding the standards. This indicates 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 to Wyoming's youth.