Anti-NGSS bill introduced in Michigan

House Bill 4972, introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives on September 12, 2013, would, if enacted, require that "[t]he state board model core academic curriculum standards shall not be based on the Next Generation Science Standards."

Additionally, it would prohibit the state board of education and the state department of education from adopting, implementing, or aligning assessments to the NGSS, and prohibit all state officials and agencies from participating in implementing the NGSS.

The bill's primary sponsor, Tom McMillin (R-District 45), told the Petoskey News-Review (September 18, 2013) that he was primarily worried about "turning over our standards to unelected bodies," but he and cosponsor Greg MacMaster (R-District 105) also acknowledged their concern about the NGSS's inclusion of global warming: "It does get into controversial issues such as man-made global warming as fact,” said McMillin. "That's still somewhat controversial."

MacMaster, a former meteorologist with a meteorological technical degree in atmospheric science from the Community Colleges of the Air Force, added, "Before introducing humans [as a driver of climate change], they need to take a step back and look at hundreds of millions of years of data to show that humans are behind climate change. No one’s been able to refute my stance or position yet."

But the Petoskey News-Review asked Christopher Poulsen, a scientist at the University of Michigan who studies paleoclimate and current global climate change, for his opinion, reporting, "Poulsen says that scientists know climate has fluctuated globally because of carbon dioxide over very long periods of time, but the increase in the amount of carbon dioxide over the past century has well outpaced what the natural environment can produce."

Joseph Krajcik, a professor of teacher education at Michigan State University who helped to develop the NGSS, told the newspaper that the standards don't teach climate change dogmatically: "If these standards were in any way trying to do something to make our children less intellectual, I would be opposed to them. The question these standards are addressing is, how do they really help our children develop the scientific habits of mind that allow them to exist in this world."

Michigan, as one of the twenty-six states that collaborated in the development of the NGSS, is committed to giving serious consideration to their adoption. HB 4972 was referred to the House Committee on Education. The bill's primary sponsor is Tom McMillin (R-District 45); its cosponsors are Bob Genetski (R-District 80), Greg MacMaster (R-District 105), Ken Goike (R-District 33), and Ray Franz (R-District 101).

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