Science standards on hold in Wyoming


The Wyoming state board of education voted on July 1, 2014, to recommend a halt to the development of a new set of science standards for the state, according to Wyoming Public Media (July 1, 2014). 

As NCSE previously reported, a footnote in Wyoming's budget for 2014-2016 precludes the use of state funds "for any review or adoption" of the Next Generation Science Standards, in part owing to their treatment of climate change. The board subsequently referred the development of a new set of standards to a state department of education committee, which was instructed not to consider the NGSS at all in its work.

The recommendation to halt the process passed on a 10-1 vote. Walt Wilcox, a member of the board who supported the recommendation, told Wyoming Public Media, "Without the opportunity to take a look at the Next Generation Science Standards, we’re not convinced that our work, as our state, and with that standards committee — can move forward in helping to create the best standards."

 "I commend the board for the action," Marguerite Herman of Wyoming for Science Education and Climate Parents told the Casper Star-Tribune (July 2, 2014), adding, "It reaffirms the board's position that in order to carry out its statutory direction to approve the best standards for Wyoming, it needs to have the freedom to consider all standards from all sources." She suggested that the legislature would have to take the next step.

In the meantime, the standards adopted in 2008 are in force, but as the Star-Tribune (June 29, 2014) reported, local school districts are apparently free to adopt the NGSS, and about fifteen (of forty-eight) have done so.