"Making the Grade?" in Arizona

Photo by Aditya Joshi on Unsplash.

"The quality of climate change education in Arizona's classrooms received a middling grade" in the recent report on climate change in state science standards issued by NCSE and the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, Inside Tucson Business reported (November 17, 2020), adding, "While the state's science curriculum was updated in 2018, Arizona bears scars of the politicization of science."

Arizona's standards received a C in the report, entitled "Making the Grade? How State Public School Science Standards Address Climate Change." Casey Williams, one of the scientists whose assessment formed the basis of the report, told Inside Tucson Business, "I was impressed that Arizona standards even mentioned fossil fuels contributing to climate change. ... Some of the standards across the United States didn't even mention climate change."

Arizona's standards were last updated in 2018, amid controversy engendered by then Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas's refusal to consider the Next Generation Science Standards (which received a B+ in "Making the Grade?") and her subsequent attempts to compromise the treatment of evolution and, to a lesser degree, climate change in the proposed new state science standards.

Sara Torres, executive director of the Arizona Science Teachers Association, and DaNel Hogan, who directs the STEMAZing Project for the Office of the Pima County Superintendent, agreed that Arizona would have fared better had it adopted the NGSS. Hogan added that in any case, "We need a massive amount of professional development for educators related to these new science standards."

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.


National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, EIN 11-2656357. NCSE is supported by individuals, foundations, and scientific societies. Review our annual audited financial statements and IRS 990 forms at GuideStar.

© Copyright 2020 National Center for Science Education. Privacy Policy and Disclaimer | Disclosures Required by State Law