Idahoans will get an opportunity to weigh in on the Legislature’s decision to omit references to human-caused climate change from proposed statewide public school science standards in hearings across the state beginning Tuesday.
The Boise hearing on the state’s proposed science standards is planned for 6 p.m. April 18, at the Red Lion Downtowner, 1800 Fairview Ave.
Climate change can be taught in Idaho public schools, and is in many places, such as Boise and Salmon school districts. But omitting it from the state’s standards means there is no uniform discussion on what should be taught, nor would students take state achievement tests that include questions about climate change.
In February, lawmakers held hearings as they considering updating science standards that had been virtually untouched since 2001. They were unmoved by a line of scientists, parents and educators who said climate change is real and students need to know about it.
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More than 100 people filled the Lincoln Auditorium in February as Jennifer Pierce, a geosciences professor at Boise State University, told the Senate Education Committee that climate change is real. “There is not another side to this story,” Pierce said.
State Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, said he doesn’t think the vote was an attempt to remove climate change as a standard, but rather to give time for more discussion on how the standards can reflect a more balanced presentation by teachers on the subject.
Many who spoke before the committee pleaded with members to go a different direction than the House Education Committee, which voted earlier in February for the new standards but deleted references to human impact on climate change.
The committee sided with the House Education Committee to remove climate change standards. But the standards are headed back for another round of public hearings before returning to lawmakers in January for permanent approval.
WHAT DO STANDARDS SAY?
Here is an example of one of the climate change-related standards removed by the House and Senate Education committees:
Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century. Further explanation: Examples of factors include human activities (such as fossil fuel combustion, cement production and agricultural activity) and natural processes (such as changes in incoming solar radiation or volcanic activity). Examples of evidence can include tables, graphs and maps of global and regional temperatures, atmospheric levels of gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and the rates of human activities. Emphasis is on the major role that human activities play in causing the rise in global temperatures.
Hearing times and places
Boise: 6 to 8 p.m, April 18, Red Lion Downtowner, Selway Meeting Room, 1800 W. Fairview Ave.
Coeur d’Alene: 6 to 8 p.m., April 20, Coeur d’Alene Resort Bay One Meeting Room, 115 S. 2nd Street.
Fort Hall: 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 12, Shoshone Bannock Hotel Chief Racehorse A Room, I-15 Exit 80 Simplot Road.
Idaho Falls: 6 to 8 p.m.,Thursday, April 13, Hilton Garden Inn Board Room, 700 Lindsay Blvd.
Lewiston: 6 to 8 p.m., April 19, Lewis-Clark State College Clearwater River Meeting Room, 500 8th Ave.
Twin Falls: 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 11, CSI Herrett Center for the Arts & Science Rick Allen Room, 315 Falls Ave.