New science standards for Wyoming


The Wyoming state board of education unanimously voted to approve a new set of state science standards on September 23, 2016, according to the Sheridan Press (September 24, 2016).

It was a long journey for Wyoming. In 2014, the state was poised to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, when the legislature passed a budget that blocked the use of state funds "for any review or adoption" of the NGSS. A coauthor of the provision was clear that he was alarmed by the NGSS's treating "global warming as settled science."

After outcry from the state's scientific and educational communities, the budget provision was repealed, but the state board of education subsequently decided not to adopt the NGSS but to ask a committee to develop a new set of science standards for the state. The standards were based on, but not entirely identical to, the NGSS.

"The new standards were altered to be less definitive about man-made climate change," according to the Sheridan Press, but John Friedrich of Climate Parents downplayed the importance of the change, telling the newspaper: "They made a couple of tweaks but nothing that was too significant."

The standards must be further approved by Governor Matt Mead. They are expected to be fully implemented in the 2020-2021 school year, but about half of Wyoming's school districts are already aligned with the standards.