Wyoming recently became the first U.S. state to reject national science standards as part of its curriculum, including lessons on how humans affect climate change.
The coal- and oil-producing state’s Board of Education decided earlier this month that the Next Generation Science Standards need more review after questions were raised about what would be taught regarding man-made global warming.
Teams from 26 states, including the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and others, came up with the standards so teachers could measure what each student ought to know at the end of each grade.
For example, based the standards, middle school students would be expected to “clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.” The core idea to teach is: “Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming).”
Eleven states and the District of Columbia so far have adopted the standards since they were released in April 2013.
Wyoming Education Board President Ron Micheli said the state will review the standards and will examine whether “we can’t get some standards that are Wyoming standards and standards we all can be proud of,” the Associated Press reported.
Wyoming produces nearly 40 percent of the country’s coal, which is used by power plants to generate electricity. In turn, those power plants often emit carbon dioxide, which is known to trap heat in the atmosphere. Most scientists agree that man-made carbon dioxide emissions contribute to global warming, but scientists disagree on the extent to which these emissions can be blamed for global warming.
Wyoming’s governor, Matt Mead, has called the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions a “war on coal” and has said he is skeptical that climate change is man-made.