Cabot: Lots of Wyoming parents want climate change taught

2014-05-10T10:15:00Z Cabot: Lots of Wyoming parents want climate change taughtBy CATE CABOT Casper Star-Tribune Online
May 10, 2014 10:15 am  • 

It is time to reflect on the Next Generation Science Standards in terms of current tides running through Wyoming.

Let me review. A real spin has been placed on the NGSS issue and using that spin, Gov. Mead has attempted to distance from his poor judgment that allowed the blockage of the adoption of the NGSS as a budget footnote (no kidding) and from passing the buck off to anyone that’s handy. The Wyoming Board of Education was ready to adopt the NGSS when legislative interference, to quote Rep. John Patton, R-Sheridan, “used the sneaky maneuver,” of the budget footnote proposed by Rep. Matt Teeters, R-Lingle, to manipulate that decision on behalf of a small special-interest group who insist on stripping science from the NGSS.

The NGSS are a set of science standards developed by leading scientists and science educators from 26 states and built on a framework developed by the National Academy of Sciences. Science standards for Wyoming schools haven't been updated since 2003 and are six years overdue. The Wyoming science standards revision committee made up entirely of Wyoming educators unanimously recommended adoption of these standards to the state Board of Education after 18 months of review.

Fast forward. More recently Mary Kay Hill, the governor’s right hand in education, inappropriately inserted herself in decisions of the last Board of Education meeting. She then went on to advise a lengthy convoluted letter that was sent out to the general public twisting reality into a statement that “scientists are creating a political issue out of climate science." The irony of this conceit is that Gov. Mead and the legislative body inappropriately created a political football out of student education. Budget bills have never been an appropriate means to manage education policy and the state Legislature overstepped its jurisdiction by inserting itself into the decisions of the state Board of Education.

Fast forward once more. Currently a small minority is making truly audacious claims that they speak for all Wyoming residents. They say that no one in Wyoming wants the NGSS adopted except outside interests that have stepped in to influence education decisions against citizens’ wishes. They claim that contemporary science education is not important to Wyoming.

Really? Do Wyoming citizens not want their students to learn contemporary peer reviewed science that has been found excellent by Wyoming scientists and teachers? The small opposition minority making this claim is working hand in glove with the national right-wing organization Truth in American Education, who have been supporting state efforts against the Common Core and NGSS across the country – truly the pot calling the kettle black. TAE does not want science taught to students at all!

So let me ask you, do you want your children and grandchildren to have access to what highly respected Wyoming teacher Elizabeth Horsch, a veteran of over 30 years in standards development, described as “the best science standards she has ever seen?" Do you want education that has been approved by Wyoming scientists and that would impart best skills in critical thinking for college, careers and the contemporary world our students live in? Or do you want science standards as presented by ideological groups who don't accept the findings of science that are hijacking our students’ educations?

Are the people who claim that the NGSS is not wanted in Wyoming really speaking for you? They are absolutely not speaking for me. I live in Wyoming. I am a Wyoming resident, born and raised. I am a member of the coalition Wyoming for Science Education. And I am a parent engaged with fellow Climate Parents across Wyoming. The numbers of Wyoming parents, teachers and students who call for adoption of the NGSS with climate science intact are huge.

If you want the best science education for your children and grandchildren and you don’t want any group to speak for you, then make yourselves heard loud and clear. Write letters. Pick up the phone. It will take consistent effort from many of us to demand that Gov. Mead and the Wyoming Legislature accept the original conclusion of the highly merited committee appointed by the state Board of Education. Otherwise you will watch the best interests of Wyoming students get washed away in the hysteria of a small anti-science minority driven by a national right wing group – and political manipulation.

Cate Cabot is a resident of Kelly and a member of Wyoming for Science Education and Wyoming Climate Parents.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. beww
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    beww - May 15, 2014 10:36 am
    The problem with teaching modern science at home is that it requires things like lab facilities, potentially dangerous chemicals (safe, with professional supervision, but maybe not at home with no guidance) and other things not found in the average home.
    Most parents are not qualified science teachers, and the use of an "approved" curriculum without proper facilities does not make up for that lack.
  2. Pioneerpete
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    Pioneerpete - May 12, 2014 8:23 pm
    Depending upon the sources you recommend should prepare you that moment when you can deny that a four foot storm surge could possibly drive millions of people out of their homes. Maybe even deny that a four foot storm surge could occur in some location where it has never shown up before.
  3. Real Republican
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    Real Republican - May 12, 2014 4:01 pm
    Except when the "science" is a scam.
  4. Real Republican
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    Real Republican - May 12, 2014 4:01 pm
    Hilarious, so the fact that the science was proven a fraud and a scam hasn't slowed you down a bit?
  5. Wolffer
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    Wolffer - May 12, 2014 12:44 am
    Calling someone a Luddite because they are anti-science is really not the best use of the term.

    Also, according to most scientific sources (ie. people with educations, in multiple professions, all with differing agendas.. most of which advance industry, not stiffle it, have this to say about volcanoes.. which is the number one "argument" used by the dirty/cheap/energybarron lobby:

    "According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the world’s volcanoes, both on land and undersea, generate about 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, while our automotive and industrial activities cause some 24 billion tons of CO2 emissions every year worldwide. Despite the arguments to the contrary, the facts speak for themselves: Greenhouse gas emissions from volcanoes comprise less than one percent of those generated by today’s human endeavors."
  6. CommonSense_WY
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    CommonSense_WY - May 11, 2014 9:30 am
    The difference is that religion has no place in a science classroom. Were there "religion" classes in public school, it would be a different story.

    And thank "God" that this isn't the case...
  7. CommonSense_WY
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    CommonSense_WY - May 11, 2014 9:29 am
    Stupid...? Pot, meet kettle.
  8. CommonSense_WY
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    CommonSense_WY - May 11, 2014 9:28 am
    If you had the slightest inkling of how global warming works, you'd realize you inane your statement sounds. "Global warming" is just that... a GLOBAL rising of the average temperature. A small increase in the overall average temperature means that coral reefs die, animal migrations change on a drastic scale, and our planet's delicately-balanced weather patterns swing more to the extreme... like a pendulum being pushed outward by a gentle nudge. This results in colder winters and hotter summers. These are established facts. The only thing in contention is whether mankind's CO2 contributions are making these changes too drastic for humanity to survive.

    Of course, had you learned about this concept in school, you'd know all this by now.
  9. Marley
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    Marley - May 10, 2014 7:01 pm
    Do the same thing parents who wanted creationism taught do: Teach it at home. If you want the best science education for your kids, get off your behind and provide it. Lazy, lazy people who demand the indoctrination they impose on their kids be dumped on all.
  10. thehousemouse
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    thehousemouse - May 10, 2014 6:53 pm
    well no accounting for brains on this one. does she have a mouse in her pocket? because the parents I speak to all the time are working hard to stop this farce of a teaching. sad how stupid people are.
  11. Todd
    Report Abuse
    Todd - May 10, 2014 3:36 pm
    It is amazing that anyone can believe it is getting too warm, when we are below normal now. "Believers" who insist the very cold temps we have are due to warming is like a fat person insisting they are over weight because they don't eat enough.
  12. Cowboy Joe
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    Cowboy Joe - May 10, 2014 1:40 pm
    As conspiratorial as your comment is, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to compare you and your camps views to the papal condemnation of Galileo. Sometimes data and reality collide with dogma and profits, in the end science can't be denied.
  13. LVHS77
    Report Abuse
    LVHS77 - May 10, 2014 1:04 pm
    The letter writer is part of the cabal of anti-industry Luddites that want to move humanity back into the middle aka dark ages. Their God is MAN CAUSED climate change and their prophet is al gore. They forget that one major volcanic eruption changes climate more than all the people on earth ever could. As well these people always have the best, and newest of everything. They NEVER sacrifice their own carbon foot print.
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