Reaction to West Virginia's new science standards

"Some groups that denounced now-rejected changes to West Virginia’s upcoming K-12 science standards regarding global warming are disappointed in new modifications but view them as less harmful than the previous version," according to the Charleston Gazette (April 11, 2015).

As NCSE previously reported, in December 2014, the West Virginia board of education adopted a new set of science standards, based on the Next Generation Science Standards, but quietly revised by the board before their adoption in December 2014 to downplay the scientific consensus on the role of human activity in recent climate change.

After outcry from scientific, educational, and environmental groups within and outside the state, including from NCSE, the board decided to revert to the original version of the standards. On April 9, 2015, however, the board again revised sections of the standards dealing with climate change before voting to adopt them. 

NCSE's Glenn Branch told the Gazette that the new standards still represent progress, noting that they are "certainly an improvement" over the standards adopted in December 2014 as well as the state's previous science standards. "Hopefully, they're now out of the hands of politicians who want to meddle with them," Branch commented.

Libby Strong, the president of the West Virginia Science Teachers Association, agreed, telling the Gazette that although the new changes are disappointing, they are not as problematic as the previous changes. A further delay would be unfortunate, she added: "The teachers deserve the new standards and the new materials."

The discussion of the new standards reached the pages of The New York Times (April 11, 2015). NCSE's Josh Rosenau told the newspaper that the new changes were acceptable, since they do not introduce false information about climate change, but added, "I can't quite motivate myself to shout 'Victory!' from the rooftops."