The Senate Education Committee voted on Thursday, Feb. 22 to approve the science standards, as drafted by the Science Standards Committee and State Board of Education IN FULL! A great outcome for Idaho!

Feb. 7 Update: Based on House Committee Vote

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, the House Education Committee voted 12-4 in support of a motion offered by Rep. Scott Syme (R-Caldwell) to strike one standard (ESS-3-4-1) that outlined the possible negative effects of wind turbines, deforestation, dam construction, mining and air pollution. In addition, the Syme motion struck ALL “supporting content”  (PDF, 2MB) from the document. That supporting content, which makes up about 30 to 40% of the science standards direction, is a critical resource for teachers to prepare lessons, experiments and materials to ensure that their students are meeting the standards.

Based on the way that “pending final” rules are approved, if the Senate Education Committee accepts the rules in full, the complete science standards docket will advance unchanged.

Below is my original blog with information as of Jan. 31.

The House and Senate Education Committee will consider Idaho’s science standards for the third consecutive year. That’s because, in years one and two, they rejected all or a portion of the standards. Now the standards are coming up for review one more time, and it appears that the proposed revisions could be in hot water yet again.

In 2016, the Idaho Legislature rejected revised science standards, supposedly based on concerns with the process. We heard that the real reason was opposition to discussion of the formation of the solar system, the age of the earth, human impact on the environment and climate change.

Nevertheless, the State Board of Education persisted, reapproved the same standards and submitted them for legislative review. In January 2017, the House Education Committee took issue with five specific paragraphs related to climate change. The committee approved the remainder of the standards on a temporary, one-year basis but asked the State Department of Education to redo the five climate-related standards.

Statewide public meetings were held, and more than 1,000 Idahoans commented in support of sound science standards that include information about climate change, with only 5 comments opposing them. In response,  the State Board of Education made some changes and unanimously approved the standards for submission to the Legislature. They are now being considered in the 2018 legislative session.

The House Education Committee will hear testimony on the mornings of Thursday, Feb. 1 and Friday, Feb. 2. (The Senate Education Committee is expected to take up the standards later this session but has not yet set a date.)

We hope that you can make one or both of the hearings. But if you’re not able to attend, you can still contact your senators and ask them to stand up for science in our schools.

According to the STEM Action Center, science, technology, engineering and math jobs are expected to grow substantially in the coming years. Yet we can’t even meet the current job market demands. In 2017, almost 7,000 jobs in STEM fields went unfilled, leaving a gaping hole in our economy. How can we fill these jobs if we’re not preparing our students?

We must equip Idaho’s children with a quality education rooted in well-founded principles-their future careers and lives as informed, engaged citizens depend on it. Idaho deserves better.