Storms over new Utah science standards?

Utah's new state standards for middle school science education are on hold, reports the Salt Lake Tribune (February 9, 2015) — and evolution and climate change may be the reason.

Although the draft standards were to be released for public review and comment in February 2015, the state board of education's standards and assessment committee decided to postpone their release pending further revisions. Laura Belnap, a member of the board, told the newspaper that the reason for the committee's decision was the incorporation of computer science in the standards.

In a subsequent editorial, however, the Tribune (February 9, 2015) complained that "the state board is in a holding pattern because of a few objections that the proposed standards are too accepting of such 'controversial' scientific principles as evolution and climate change," adding, "in science class they teach science. Evolution and climate change included, or it cannot be called science class."

The editorial may have been prompted by a comment from Vincent Newmeyer, a parent who served on a state committee that reviewed the standards, who felt that the draft standards took a position on controversial subjects. "That is true with global warming, that is true with Darwinian evolution and a number of other things," Newmeyer told the newspaper. "It's not a science class in these areas. It's an indoctrination class."

"With the public review now on hold," the Tribune commented, "it is not clear what the next steps for the science standards will be." 

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