NGSS in US News and World Report


"Political debates surrounding climate change and creationism are now making their way into America's schools, as more states are deciding whether to adopt or reject new common science standards "that put a greater emphasis on controversial topics like global warming and evolution," according to US News and World Report (June 20, 2014).

Eleven states — California, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington — and the District of Columbia have already adopted the Next Generation Science Standards. But, as the story observes, "Critics of the standards have said they do not present the issue of human influence in global warming objectively and do not consider 'all sides' when discussing evolution." 

In 2014, as NCSE previously reported, the Wyoming legislature blocked the adoption of the NGSS because of concerns about their treatment of climate science. Although Oklahoma's new state science standards are not identical to the NGSS, there were legislative efforts to block their adoption; these were ultimately unsuccessful, however, and the governor approved the new standards on June 19, 2014.

As for evolution, the story reports, "A group that opposes the NGSS also filed a lawsuit last September in Kansas — one of the states that has already adopted the science standards — claiming the standards promote atheism and are therefore unconstitutional for violating the separation of church and state." Documents from the ongoing case, COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al., are available on NCSE's website.

Supporting the NGSS nationally are the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the National Science Teachers Association. There is also widespread support for the standards at the state level. In Wyoming, for example, the Wyoming Association of Churches and a group of current and former educators at the University of Wyoming have both recently issued statements in their favor.

Bill Nye "The Science Guy," a member of NCSE's Advisory Council, told US News and World Report that the NGSS "are great, they're fine" as they stand. Having recently engaged in highly publicized debates over evolution and climate change, Nye described those who reject the NGSS on account of their treatments of those topics as "outside of the mainstream of scientific thought."