CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Science education standards that could take effect in West Virginia’s schools during 2016 are once again open for public comment, this time without controversial alterations questioning the source of climate change.

Shauna Johnson/MetroNews

The state BOE got an earful about new science standards on Wednesday.

The state Board of Education voted Wednesday to withdraw previously approved standards that generated pushback over late modifications by a board member who questioned whether humans were the cause of climate change.

The standards now will be open to a 30-day public comment period.

“I have great respect for the specialists in this state who study science and the pedagogy of science,” said Gayle Manchin, president of the state BOE.

She said many science educators, scholars and other stakeholders—some of whom offered input on the original drafted standards—became concerned when board member Wade Linger’s proposed revisions that were made without consultation. Linger has questioned whether humans are the primary impact on greenhouse gases.

Manchin said resetting the adoption process—and returning the standards to their original drafted form—was necessary to afford scientists “the opportunity to go back to what they had developed, through peer review and through work with other leading scientists around the country.”

Linger claimed the late alterations were about trying to “allow more than one point of view to be taught in the classroom.”

Dozens of people spoke passionately for and against Linger’s changes.

In one example, the revised ninth-grade science requirement said students would “analyze geoscience data and the predictions made by computer climate models to assess their credibility for predicting future impacts on the Earth system.”

The original standard had read: “analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change.”

Linger said “there’s no denying the warming in these” revisions, but claimed his modification would allow more information on various theories “about why the warming is happening and to what extent it’s happening and to whether it’s happening steadily or in cycles.”

Linger voted against the withdrawal, as did board member Tom Campbell, who said the contention boiled down to 29 words out of more than 26,000.

Before the meeting, opposition to the changes came from multiple fronts, including the National Science Teachers Association, West Virginia University’s faculty senate and the Allegheny Highlands Climate Change Impacts Initiative.

On Tuesday, the Allegheny Highlands group released a report detailing global warming’s effects in parts of West Virginia.

The BOE is scheduled to vote again on the science standards in March, which if approved, likely will be implemented for the 2016-2017 school year.

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Comments

  • Mac

    Nationwide, a set of revamped science education standards that would teach US students about evolution, global warming, and clean energy are being held up and rejected in a number of states that have taken issue with what they teach. Last May, Wyoming became the first state to reject the new standards, which were devised by a coalition of experts and are completely voluntary, taking issue with their teaching of man-made global warming. Last week, a House committee in Oklahoma began a fight over the standard's confirmation by voting to reject them. Though the new standards were approved by the state's Department of Education, its legislature may now attempt to overturn that approval. In Oklahoma, a state Representative asked the state board of education's science director whether the new standards might be used to "inculcate" young students with "a fairly-one sided view of climate change, a subject that is very much in dispute even among the academics in the U.S." So far only 11 states have adopted the new standards. Are we, as West Virginians, willing to trust the State Board of Education to make the right decision for our children? Every interested parent needs to contact the State Board regardless of which way you feel is correct option. Otherwise, citizenry non-input will be useless and the "few" will control the majority. We, the people MUST speak, as it is the voices of voters that changes direction and minds. And the minds of our children are too precious.

  • Wow

    As long as they teach human induced climate change as a possibility and not a firm scientific theory, I would be fine with that. There is too much we don't know to be certain on the matter.

  • Celyle

    My eighth grade earth science teacher took us to the library and showed us the difference between mass market entertainment media and science journals. TIME and Newsweek were running an 'imminent ice age' scare. But Nature and Science weren't. Nowadays liars on the radio say "all the scientists" were predicting an ice age, and I know they're lying. The lesson was about publication but it helped me survive in a world full of liars. We need more teachers willing to go that extra mile, and the BOE should leave them alone to do their jobs.

    • DeeDee

      I hate to break it to you, but the source I read about the coming ice age in the 70's was the current events magazine (Weekly Reader) that we studied in class once per week. That was 'settled science' according to that educational publication.

  • Huggisback

    Environmental Earth Science is an elective science course in our HIgh Schools now! Leave things as they are!!! Quit trying to change curriculum when you know nothing about it! What we need is more testing!!!! And take more instructional time away from our students!

  • Shadow

    Hasn't it been pretty well proved that the climate models are way out of reality? As it is now, Climate Change has become a Cult for the "Sky is Falling" crowd.

    • the people

      No it hasn't been "proved".

      • Shadow

        Change "proved" to "proven". Fact remains.

  • The bookman

    The sad thing is that, when approached properly, the study of climates, weather, and the interaction of man in his environment can lead to so many great teachable moments. Linger's attempt to politicize the issue is no better or worse than the attempts of the UN or the White House to insert their political version of the "truth."

    Science is about asking questions, and NEVER accepting theories as proven. It's about disproving them. Let educators find the appropriate methods to teach the subject at hand, and don't include innocent kids in our political arguments as pawns. Yes, I know it happens all the time, but it doesn't make it the right thing to do.

    Shame on the BOE for their poor judgement. Good to hear they recognize it and are attempting to fix it.

    • Hop'sHip

      So it was the White House who wrote the science education standards? I should have known.

      • Shadow

        The WH is using Climate Change to change the subject, like dragging a dead mackerel across a rabbit trail, and to support their wacko EPA regulations and using the young as part of their charade.

      • The bookman

        No, I didn't say that. This issue has been used as a political tool to exact a political result. The White House, and other progressive governments around the world, in coordination with the UN and their IPCC continue to push an anti fossil fuel agenda for political gain, knowing full well we do not have the technological capacity to achieve their wish or goal.

        We need more local control of public schools by those closest to the classroom, not some political appointee or elected politician.

        But leave it to you to come running blindly to the President's defense. He really owes you an extension of gratitude for your unwavering support of his policies.

        Look! A squirrel!

        • Hop'sHip

          I thought it was you who introduced the White House, and the UN, no less, into this story. I know how you hate when someone tries to change the subject, so I figured if they had some relevance to the subject at hand, it must be that one or both wrote the standards.

          • The bookman

            I don't blame the President, and certainly not the UN, for the Science Standards. I equate Linger's attempt to politicize the standards to the insertion of politics into the scientific debate of climate change by the UN and the White House.

            I think both are inappropriate and remain consistent that politics have no place in the debate. I apologize if you feel that I was inferring they actually were involved in the development of our science standards. That wasn't my intention.

    • the people

      Like the theory of gravity?

      • The bookman

        Exactly like the overly simplistic "theory of gravity." Any real scientist investigating the effects of gravity approach it with an open mind, identify the question they wish to pursue, and devise a system of study that seeks to disprove what they believe to be true. You can never prove anything beyond doubt. But you can disprove it. That is the basis of the scientific method.

  • scott

    evidently its much warmer today in the Allegheny Highlands than the rest of the state

  • Rufus

    How can you change the standards on education when we don't have any in place.

  • JTC

    From what I have experienced with our young workforce how about we stick with reading, writing and math!

  • derek

    Another liberal idiot trying to bain wash our kids!

    • the people

      You know this because you're a scientist?

  • Tom

    I don't understand how one BOE member (and an ignorant one at that) can have that much influence on science education in West Virginia. Something's wrong with the system. Can any one Board member use his or her often biased beliefs to set education standards in the state?

  • David

    Teaching man caused climate change is teaching a lie, but it's a socialist lie so they are down with it.

    You have to ask yourself why they want to include this biased point of view while they continue to fail at teaching the basics

    Keep fighting this nonsense Mr. Linger!

  • Woodchuck

    Wade just loves power and being on stage. This time is ignorance was ignored. Good job educators. These political appointees need to be held accountable. They do not have a clue about teaching and learning.

  • a concerned educator

    This is not an uncommon occurrence with the State Board. I have served on multiple state committees that developed one set of suggestions, but the board voted in another set. People who know little about education should not be running the system, especially when politics delegate the outcomes.

  • Stupid Hillbillies

    The state BOE is an agency that needs to be totally abolished. The state could save a small fortune with its abolishment. Besides, they are all common core idiots.