Wyoming’s Climate Change Views Give New Meaning to Irrational Thought

In what equates to an even amount of political agenda and appalling foolishness, Wyoming has become the first state to reject a new science curriculum proposed by national education groups because it dares to include man-made climate change as fact.

The Wyoming Board of Education decided that the Next Generation Science Standards’ suggested curriculum needed further review after Governor Matt Mead (R) and other politicians questioned the climate change inclusion. During a panel discussion in January, Mead stated his thoughts on climate change by saying,

I think the world generally accepts this phenomenon. I’m skeptical. In part, I’m skeptical because I think people need to be skeptical when it comes to where we are in science.

It should come as no surprise to Wyoming citizens that, as the governor of the nation’s top coal-producing territory, he and others would stop at nothing to protect the state’s investments and anything that might harm its profits. New school guidelines have been implemented in three other areas recently, but science has been left out since 2003. Citing a need to update science education through a multi-state effort, John Friedrich of Climate Parents, an advocate for climate change education, said,

The Board was put in a tough spot by political powers that pressured them to not support 21st century standards for one reason–they contain climate science education. Keeping kids in the dark about scientific fact is a huge disservice to Wyoming students, parents, teachers and the entire state.

Schockingly, Board President Ron Micheli stated the review will determine if “we can’t get some standards that are Wyoming standards and standards we all can be proud of.” Wyoming standards? Doesn’t the term “standard” mean a norm or base on which everything else applies? They should be allowed to have their own set of standards and disregard what everyone else deems as true?

The excuses for not accepting the principles range from confusion as to how to teach them, to the idea that they should only be taught as theory and not fact. The Board also feels that the guidelines leave out other factors such as cost and reliability issues with global warming solutions. In any progressive-minded state, those issues would hold some water and be considered on the basis of debate alone, not because there is an underlying agenda. However, when the state produces 40 percent of the United States’ coal, billions in annual coal revenue, and nearly 7,000 coal jobs, it smacks of greed and minor hysteria.

Furthering political agendas is nothing new. Putting aside critical decisions for political gain is extremely shortsighted. Wyoming is the first state to reject the standards after twelve others accepted them since their 2013 inception. By thumbing its nose to an authority that’s geared towards helping kids, the state begins to look horribly self-righteous and morally corrupt. Nowhere within the standards does it say that a school can’t teach about fossil fuels, only that presenting the other side of the story gives impressionable children the information they need to make their own cognitive decisions.

Wyoming is known as the Equality State. It’s a shame that they don’t know how to show it.

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  • Abby

    This article is fairly biased, with that being said i encourage the author to read the following and think about the ramifications of using models in lieu of (as a substitute for) actual data. When NOAA changes data to prove global warming and then that data is in text books you cannot blame people for being skeptical and they should be.

    I do not consider the people of Wyoming idiots or ignorant for daring to question any curriculum based on models that have serious issues. My take on this is that the people of Wyoming may actually have respect for science and the scientific method.

    I would also ask the author if they have actually read the currcuumn it does not give both sides of the climate discussion equal airing. It basically takes the stance that climate change is man made and that is fallacy. In real verifiable science we know that climate change exists we accept the fact that we do not understand how climate changes works we do not make blanket statements that man made global warming of proven because it is not proven.

    Shame on the author for playing both the child card and the fake science card along with the politics card. Although the denial of the curriculum may have some political driving behind the actual curriculum is also politically driven therefore neither side has any moral grounds to stand on. Both lie, both hand out misinformation and both are making it virtually impossible to do and research real science and get real answers.

    • Wayne Kovach

      Abby, thanks for commenting.

      I did not play the politics card… the state of Wyoming and its decision makers did that on their own, and opened themselves up for ridicule with the stunning transparency they displayed. They could have at least pretended it wasn’t all about a fossil fuel-based community trying to protect its interests.

      I did play the child card because, as the father of a four year old, I’d be remiss if I didn’t allow my child (from a parental or educational standpoint) the opportunity to gain all the information about any subject, then let him form his own opinions.

      Who is Governor Mead to debate a scientist? Would he be up for a debate with Neil deGrasse Tyson over this issue? My guess is not.

      The state hasn’t updated its science curriculum since George Bush’s first term. For it to outright reject something simply because it doesn’t solely align with their beliefs is unconscionable. Had it been presented with a fossil fuel-advocacy viewpoint, though, it might have passed with flying colors.