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Bible-Belt State Becomes a Climate-Change Battleground

The West Virginia State Board of Education voted for Climate Change not to be treated as a “foregone conclusion” in classrooms last year. The board decided to modify Next Generation Science Standards, the new National Science Standard with curriculum adopted by 26 states.  NGSS was developed to ensure that science education is being taught rigorously, using the professional practices of working scientists and engineers. For example, students asked to asses the “rise and fall” of global temperatures would explore how STEM professionals investigate this question, learning to think critically, analyze data, and engage in the process of figuring out the solution, not simply gaining knowledge about it. Teachers who want to learn more about using this approach can enroll in CMI courses from MSSEF. The move by West Virginia to modify the NGSS has caused a lot of anger in the Climate Science community. Lisa Hoyos, director of the Climate Change Education advocacy group “Climate Parents,” thinks it’s a problem that the science class is being treated like a debate club, since science is by definition based on concrete evidence. But Gayle Manchin, president of West Virginia’s board of Education, says that the modified standards “encourage children to think more critically and evaluate all the information that’s out there.”This comes at a time when the debate about Federal involvement in local education is lively.


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