Oklahoma House votes to derail science standards

House Joint Resolution 1099, which would reject the state department of education's rules implementing Oklahoma's new science standards, was passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 55-31 vote on May 21, 2014. Part of the reason, the Tulsa World (May 22, 2014) explained, was that "[s]ome legislators ... objected to language they said appeared to encourage an 'agenda' concerning climate change."

As NCSE previously reported, the state board of education unanimously voted to adopt the new standards on March 25, 2014. The new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science are the product of more than a year of work by a committee of more than sixty members, the state department of education's director of science education Tiffany Neill told the Oklahoman (March 26, 2014). The standards were widely regarded as a vast improvement on their predecessors, which received (PDF) a grade of F in the Fordham Institute's 2012 study of state science standards. If HJR 1099 is enacted, the old standards will continue to be in effect.

The resolution is now with the Senate Rules Committee. Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education and the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association are both calling on concerned Oklahomans to express their opposition to HJR 1099 to the committee's members, the Senate President pro tem, and the governor, who could approve the rules implementing the standards even if the legislature withholds its approval.