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Science: now optional in WyomingWyoming Gov. Matt Mead has signed a budget that includes a rejection of a new set of national science standards, because the new standards treat human-caused global warming as a real thing — and the standards were dropped via a footnote in the budget. Since the footnote doesn’t provide much guidance, the state’s science educators are left wondering just what exactly the state’s science education standards are now. One thing’s for sure: Wyoming can now boast that it has less rigorous science education than Kentucky, which actually did adopt the Next Generation Science Standards last August.

Ron Micheli, chair of the state board of education, said that lawyers from his agency, the Wyoming Department of Education, and the Legislative Service Office are still figuring out exactly what the footnote means for the teaching of science:

“Right now, we’re just up in the air,” Micheli said Thursday. “We don’t have consensus on the board or among our attorneys [on the footnote’s meaning].”

You see, if Wyoming were allowed to teach science, Micheli would understand that he could only stay up in the air with the use of an airfoil or a lighter than air device of some sort.

Despite other states’ fears that the Next Generation Science Standards would lead to socialism, tree-worship, and widespread rejection of God, Wyoming is the first to actually reject the K-12 standards, which were developed by national science education groups and educators from 26 states. The proposition that global warming is real and the result of human activity was just too much for Wyoming lawmakers to accept, even though 97% of climate scientists accept it.

“[The standards] handle global warming as settled science,” said Rep. Matt Teeters, a Republican from Lingle who was one of the footnote’s authors. “There’s all kind of social implications involved in that that I don’t think would be good for Wyoming.”

Teeters said teaching global warming as fact would wreck Wyoming’s economy, as the state is the nation’s largest energy exporter, and cause other unwanted political ramifications.

For that matter, even Ron Micheli thinks global warming is pretty dicey science, which is exactly the spirit of critical thinking that you want to see in the chair of the state board of education:

“I don’t accept, personally, that [climate change] is a fact,” Micheli said. “[The standards are] very prejudiced in my opinion against fossil-fuel development.”

It might be bad for industry, so it’s probably not real science. This is a basic science fact that is not covered in enough high school classes, really. We’re pretty sure that Carl Sagan never mentioned it, either.

Another member of the state board of education, Pete Gosar, said that he thinks science education policy should be driven by science, not politics:

“Over the last few years in Wyoming, we’ve injected politics into education time and again and it has been less than successful … And so here we go again.”

It is not known whether Gosar, who also chairs the Wyoming Democratic Party, noticed several metaphorical laser gunsights from potential tea party challengers shining on his forehead.

Rep. Teeters said that there’s nothing to worry about, since the footnote only bans adoption of the full set of Next Generation standards. Wyoming is free to use the Next Generation proposals as a framework, and to write new standards that include all the science the Legislature likes, while leaving out useless stuff like climate science.

Gosh, wonder if there might be any other science stuff that the good citizens of Wyoming will want excluded?

[Star-Tribune]

Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He only likes happy science, especially the Brewing Arts.

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