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Opinion: Lack of National Standard on Climate Change Causes Confusion

Opinion: Lack of National Standard on Climate Change Causes Confusion

Some experts argue that because states are able to set the standards on how climate change is taught in public schools, students across the country have different viewpoints that can lead to confusion and misunderstanding.

"As concern grew about the United States falling behind in the sciences, some education and scientists created some recommended national science curriculum standards to prepare students to compete in the global job marketplace," according to GreenBiz.com.

The enforcement of these standards through the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was not approved in all states, resulting a wide variety of what standards are being taught. Additionally, thought most states adopt state-wide science standards, a few allow individual school districts to determine their own.

Since the development of the NGSS in 2013, thirteen states have fully adopted them, according to the article, and many other are in the process of reviewing and researching the implications of doing so.

"However, some states have rejected or blocked implementation of the standards or even reviewing them. Because curriculum standards are left up to states, there is no requirement that the NGSS are implemented nationwide," the article said.

Legislators and experts are torn on what they call controversial additions to the standards that discuss climate change and the role of humans in changing it because they argue against it being proven.

For instance, "Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill allowing teachers to introduce alternatives to controversial theories such as global warming, although a new bill was introduced that would repeal it."

According to GreenBiz, the debate on adopting NGSS is evidence that politics have a great influence on education policy. GreenBiz goes further to suggest that states that are hesitant to adopt the standards are the ones that have a particularly successful oil and coal business.

In states where the debate against global warming included in the standards is the fiercest, GreenBiz argues it is notable that these states are producers of oil and coal.

"Wyoming is a major producer of coal and Oklahoma is a major producer of oil," it said.

The article also noted that 97 percent of the scientific community agrees on the nature of climate changes, and worries that the political debate and " the outcome of this hodgepodge of state adoption of the NGSS" is in the disinterest of students everywhere.

Read the full argument here and comment your opinion below. 

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/29/2015

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