Climate change to remain deleted from draft Idaho standards

02.27.2017

Idaho's Senate Education Committee voted, on party lines, to delete five standards — those discussing climate change and human impact on the environment — from a proposed new set of state science standards for Idaho on February 27, 2017, according to Idaho Ed News (February 27, 2017).

On February 9, 2017, the House Education Committee voted to delete the same standards, as NCSE previously reported. At the Senate Education Committee's meeting on February 23, 2017, testimony from the public was overwhelmingly in favor of retaining the standards, according to the Idaho Statesman (February 23, 2017), and the committee decided not to take a vote immediately, hoping to reach a compromise with its House counterpart. Such a compromise not materializing, the committee acceded.

Although there have been legislative attempts to block new science standards owing to their treatment of climate change in other states, "I can confidently say that in no other state has the legislature taken it upon itself to engage in such a wholesale deletion of content about climate change from a proposed set of state science standards," NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch told the Idaho Statesman (February 27, 2017). He added, "I can with equal confidence say that the deletion is scientifically unwarranted.”

The "vote does not end the [l]egislature['s] debate over science education — and how climate change should be discussed in Idaho's classrooms," Idaho Ed News observed. "Because this year's standards are temporary in nature, the Legislature was going to have to review them again in 2018."

[Updated February 28, 2017, with the addition of the third paragraph.]