NCSE's McCaffrey on Wyoming debacle


NCSE's Mark McCaffrey contributed a guest column, entitled "Protecting Wyoming's most valuable resource" — which he identified as children rather than energy — to the Casper Star-Tribune (May 4, 2014), reviewing the derailment of the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards because of the legislature's objection to their treatment of climate change.

"[W]hen upward of 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activities are changing the planet's climate, it would be absurd to reject a set of state standards that reflected the scientific consensus," McCaffrey wrote, adding, "it's absurd to think that teaching students about climate change is going to wreck Wyoming's economy. True, Wyoming's economy depends in large measure on the fossil fuel energy industry, to which the reality of climate change is definitely a challenge. But it's a challenge that cannot be confronted in the style of the proverbial ostrich."

McCaffrey was encouraged by the fact that at least fifteen local school districts in Wyoming are moving to implement the standards themselves. But he warned, "without a statewide policy of teaching students about the science of climate change, whether using the Next Generation Science Standards or not, Wyoming will ... be doing a disservice to its most valuable resource."