How Will Climate Change be Taught in West Virginia Public Schools? Public Comment Period Draws Close

Feb 16, 2015

During January’s West Virginia Board of Education meeting, the Board voted to withdraw a controversial new policy that addresses how science teachers should teach climate change to public school students.

Folks have until 4:00 pm Tuesday February 17th, to weigh in on this new policy.

Last December, at the request of West Virginia Board of Education Member Wade Linger, the board proposed new language to its new science standards. That additional language seems to question whether or not climate change is actually happening, and whether humans are causing climate change-despite overwhelming evidence from climate scientists.

BOE member Wade Linger told West Virginia Public Broadcasting that coal miners stand to lose jobs as a result of how climate change is taught  in our public schools. He also stressed that the board did not remove any language regarding climate change, it merely added language to the science standards.

Suggested language alterations included:

1) S.6.ESS.6. The text: “Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.”

was altered to: “Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise and fall in global temperatures over the past century.”

2) S.9.ESS.14. The text: “Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.”

was altered to: “Analyze geoscience data and the predictions made by computer climate models to assess their credibility for predicting future impacts on the Earth System."

During January’s Board of Education meeting, seven people went on the record casting doubt about whether or not humans are causing climate change. About 12 environmentalists, on the other hand, argued that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found overwhelming evidence to support the Theory of Climate Change.

Two separate public events in Morgantown recently discussed ways that climate change could impact for the Mountain State. “Climate Change and Population Health” was the title of a recent discussion at West Virginia University held on February 6th.

The Allegheny Highlands Environmental Impacts Initiative hosted a public discussion February 12th about the risks that climate change could have for West Virginia's biodiversity. The Allegheny Highlands Environmental Impacts Initiative is sponsored by the Friends of Blackwater.

To make a comment about how you feel climate change should be taught in West Virginia public schools, go to the state’s website: http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/ . The policy regarding science standards is called 2520. 3C.