House Education Committee passes science standards with some changes

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) The House Education Committee approved the science education standards on Wednesday with a couple of changes.

The committee removed one standard under fourth grade education that had to do with energy. The standard sought to make sure that students understand where energy and fuels come from and their effect on the environment.

The standards highlighted both renewable and nonrenewable energy. Lance Clow, a representative from Twin Falls on the committee, said he and other lawmakers didn’t like that it only focused on negative impacts.

“The further explanation kind of leads teachers to say and include the adverse effects of and then there’s a list,” Clow said.

Clow said there are some positive impacts from some of the energy forms listed, like wind energy. He said if it just said impacts he would have been more likely to keep the standard.

The committee also removed “supporting content” sections from all of the standards. Those are sections intended to help educators expand on the standards.

Clow said that was largely for consistency. He pointed out that there are no supporting content standards for math, social studies or any other standard. He also said wording in those sections have given many lawmakers pause for the past couple of years.

“It was making the standards much more complicated than they needed to be,” he said.

The supporting content standards were a large section. Each performance standard had a section for them, some of them had several bullet points.

The vote passed 12-4. Sally Toone, a representative from Gooding, voted against removing the supporting content and the performance standard. She said that the committee dedicated to making the standards spent time and effort making them and she didn’t like ignoring the work that went into them.

“I was disappointed in the vote,” Toone said. “There was over 1,000 hours put into it mostly by our science standards and I don’t feel the committee validated that work that they did.”

The committee sent back sections of the temporary science standards last year because of some of the wording that had to do with climate change.

Clow said this year he believes the emphasis on climate change has been blown out of proportion, instead he said they’re trying to give local school boards and teachers more freedom on how to teach the standards.

A committee with the State Department of Education presented the standards last week. They were a culmination of a year of work to compile them. The House Education Committee spent two sessions listening to public comment mostly in support of the standards as a whole.

The House Education Committee doesn’t get the final say however. The standards now move to the Senate Education Committee. They can either uphold the changes, revert back to the proposed standards or make a different change.

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