Opposition to new science standards continues in South Dakota

"The debate over choosing standards for science education in South Dakota's public schools has become a divisive battleground with a clear split between science professionals who strongly support the new standards and opposing parents who disbelieve climate change and evolution," reports the Rapid City Journal (March 17, 2015).

At the third of four public hearings on a new set of science standards for the state, one testifer described climate change and evolution as "fringe ideas" and suggested that the schools ought not to be advocating for or against them. Similar comments were heard at the second hearing in November 2014, as NCSE previously reported.

But "more than twice as many science teachers, researchers[,] and scientists" testified in favor of the standards, including Julie Olson, a high school science teacher and president of the South Dakota Science Teachers' Association, who commented, "I am fully in support of the adoption of these standards."

Following a final public hearing in May 2015, the board is expected either to adopt the standards at its May 18, 2015, meeting, or to "direct the department to further revise them for possible final approval at the board’s July 27 meeting in Rapid City," according to the Journal. The standards would be in use in the 2017-2018 academic year.


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