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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2018/02/16

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

The latest about the proposed state science standards in Idaho.
Congratulations are in order for Michael E. Mann. A bill targeting the
NGSS is filed in Iowa, while a bill making it easier for creationists
and climate change deniers to smuggle instructional materials into
public school classrooms advances in Florida. Meanwhile, Darwin Day is
declared in Connecticut.


At its February 14, 2018, meeting, Idaho's Senate Education Committee
heard testimony on the proposed state science standards. According to
the Spokane Spokesman-Review (February 14, 2018), "fourteen people
testified, all strongly in favor of adopting the revised standards as
presented by the state Board of Education, rather than deleting

As NCSE previously reported, the House Education Committee previously
rejected one performance expectation standard as well as all of the
"supporting content" material; puzzlingly, most of the material (all
but four passages in the supporting content) rejected by the House
Education Committee in 2018 was approved by it in 2017.

Although the testifiers frequently emphasized the importance of
including scientifically accurate material about climate change and
human impact on the environment in the standards, the senators on the
Senate Education Committee were silent about climate change, mainly
focusing their questions on the status of the supporting content.

Duncan Robb of the state department of education defended the
inclusion of the supporting content, telling the committee, "Every
piece and line in this document has the full weight and support of the
State Department of Education, the full weight and support of the
superintendent of public instruction."

The Senate Education Committee took no action on the standards; the
chair of the committee was reported as saying that action would ensue
in the following week. Ultimately, the House and the Senate have to
agree on rejection of the standards in part or in whole in order for
them to be rejected; otherwise they will go into effect as submitted.

For the story from the Spokane Spokesman-Review, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Idaho, visit: 


NCSE is delighted to congratulate Michael E. Mann on his selection to
receive the 2018 Public Engagement with Science Award from the
American Association for the Advancement of Science, in recognition of
his "tireless efforts to communicate the science of climate change to
the media, public[,] and policymakers." He will receive the award
during the AAAS's annual meeting in Austin, Texas, on February 17,

Nominating Mann for the award, Susan Hassol, director of the
non-profit science and outreach project Climate Communication, wrote,
"Mann has done more to engage with the public on science than most
active scientist-communicators do in an entire career," according to a
press release from the AAAS. Hassol added, "There is no scientist
reaching greater numbers of people with such depth of communication as
Michael Mann."

Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State
University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences
and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. He is also director
of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. His latest book,
coauthored with Tom Toles, is The Madhouse Effect (Columbia University
Press, 2016). A member of NCSE's Advisory Council, he received NCSE's
Friend of the Planet Award in 2014.

For the press release from AAAS, visit: 


House File 2317, introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives on
February 12, 2018, and referred to the House Education Committee,
would, if enacted, revert the state's science standards to "the
science standards utilized by school districts in this state during
the 2014-2015 school year" -- just before the state adopted the Next
Generation Science Standards.

The lead sponsor of HF 2317 is Sandy Salmon (R-District 63). In 2015,
Salmon introduced a bill, House File 272, which would have prevented
Iowa from adopting the NGSS, in part because they "present evolution
as scientific fact and shine a negative light on human impacts on
climate change," according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette (March 2,

After HF 140 died and the NGSS was adopted in Iowa, Salmon filed a
bill, House File 2054 in 2016, to reverse the adoption. Then, after HF
2054 died, Salmon filed a bill, House File 140 in 2017, to prohibit
the "adopting, approving, or requiring implementation of the [N]ext
[G]eneration [S]cience [S]tandards by school districts and accredited
nonpublic schools."

In the same year, Salmon was also a cosponsor of House File 480, which
would, if enacted, have required teachers in Iowa's public schools to
include "opposing points of view or beliefs" to accompany any
instruction relating to evolution, the origins of life, global
warming, or human cloning. Both HF 140 and HF 480 died.

In addition to undoing the adoption of the NGSS, Salmon's new bill, HF
2317, would also prevent the state from requiring adoption of the
state science standards or the use of specific instructional materials
and would require further revisions to the state science standards to
be approved by the legislature and governor.

For information about Iowa's House File 2317, visit: 

For the story in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Iowa, visit: 


Florida's Senate Bill 1644 -- which would make it easier for
creationists and climate change deniers to smuggle instructional
materials they favor into public school classrooms -- was approved by
the Senate Education Committee on a 7-3 vote on February 12, 2018.

If enacted, the bill would allow members of the public to recommend
instructional materials for consideration by the state or their
district school board, which would then be required to allow the
publisher of those materials to submit a bid for evaluation.

Gary Farmer (D-District 34), who voted against the bill, expressed his
"worry about those who would deny climate change, those who would deny
evolution, having too great a say," according to the Tampa Bay Times
(February 13, 2018).

As NCSE previously reported, the sponsor of the House counterpart of
SB 1644, House Bill 827, was the chief sponsor of a bill in 2017 that
was intended to make it easier for creationist and climate change
deniers to pester their school districts.

HB 827 was slightly altered by the Pre-K-12 Quality Subcommittee of
the House Education Committee on Education and approved on a 12-1 vote
on January 10, 2018; it is now pending with the House Education

For information about Florida's Senate Bill 1644 and House Bill 827, visit: 

For the story in the Tampa Bay Times, visit: 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Florida, visit: 


Connecticut's governor Dannel P. Malloy declared February 12, 2018,
Charles Darwin Day in the state of Connecticut, citing the need to
protect "the advancement of science and courageous free inquiry."

The declaration describes Darwin as developing "the groundbreaking
theory of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection" and as "a
worthy symbol of scientific advancement ... around which to build a
global celebration."

For the declaration, visit: 


Have you been visiting NCSE's blog recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Brad Hoge describing NOAA's important work on climate science education: 

For NCSE's blog, visit: 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website -- -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 600
Oakland CA 94612-2922
fax 510-788-7971 

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