Some good news from West Virginia:
After widespread criticism from teachers, professors and others, the West Virginia Board of Education voted Wednesday to withdraw a set of science education standards containing controversial modifications to the teaching of climate change.
The new version, which will be open for a 30-day public comment period, doesn’t contain the alterations to the three standards on climate change the board earlier approved.
Clayton Burch, executive director of the state’s Office of Early Learning and interim associate state superintendent, said the version will be up for a board vote in March. The standards will go into effect for the 2016-17 school year.
After previously defending the changes as a way to foster student debate and critical thinking on the topic, the Department of Education recommended at Wednesday’s meeting going back on the alterations.
The move comes after the school board and the department caught national attention and considerable criticism from residents and academics about the changes, which were made to new K-12 science teaching requirements based off the National Next Generation Science Standards blueprint. If passed, the standards will be the first time Mountain State students will be required, in non-elective courses, to learn about evidence for human-driven climate change.
At the request of school board member Wade Linger, who has said he doesn’t believe human-influenced climate change is a “foregone conclusion,” the teaching requirements concerning climate change were altered before the board placed them in a public comment period in October and voted to adopt them last month.
The changes, for example, would have added “and fall,” after “rise,” to a proposed standard requiring that sixth-graders “ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.”
Only Linger and fellow board member Tom Campbell, who had brought up coal funding for the state’s education system when he was previously interviewed by the Gazette, voted no on Wednesday’s action.
Campbell told the Gazette he felt his comments about coal were misinterpreted but didn’t specify how Wednesday. He said he didn’t want to get into a debate about climate change and coal. He had argued at first that the alterations weren’t major.
Long story short, they got caught trying to advance wingnuttery at the behest of the coal industry, got mocked nationwide, and are backing down. This little tidbit is just fascinating:
Last week, school board President Gayle Manchin — who said she trusted the Department of Education staff’s earlier assertion that the standards changes were sound — said the board would discuss the changes this week in response to the concerns raised. Manchin was the only member besides Linger who told the Gazette she knew about the changes before adopting them.
Gayle Manchin is the wife of Senator Joe Manchin, who, you might know, is an ardent supporter of the coal industry whose term as Senator has been basically dedicated to protecting an already dead industry, so I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the woman married to a man with millions invested in coal who has spent his first term doing everything he can to block the EPA was one of only two people to know that anti-science and pro-coal changes were being slipped into the state’s education standards. Weirder things have happened, you know.
If Joe really wanted to help coal miners, what he would be doing is using everything in his power to steer new businesses and new education programs into the state, because despite Coal’s black knight routine, it really is dead and dying, it just doesn’t know it. What is important is not trying to save the few jobs that are withering away as we speak, but to find new jobs and ways for the people of West Virginia to earn a living.
You’re right, of course, but the proper term is “backpedaling.” As in pedaling a bicycle backwards.
John Cole +0
But it’s cold outside.
Why can’t they use coal mines for meth labs?
Some days I imagine the last of humanity boarding space arks for another habitable world, leaving behind every climate change denier to their fate.
The Ruhr region in Germany — used to be a grimy stretch of coal-company towns and steel-company towns — has reinvented itself spectacularly, not just industry heritage tourism:
Otherwise there are Deliverance theme parks.
Villago Delenda Est
Oh, you’re a card, Cole. It is to laugh. Coal miners don’t make massive contributions to the Joe Manchin campaign and retirement fund.
Villago Delenda Est
@Hal: That’s the ship with Lisa Simpson on it.
What make you think Joey want to protect the coal miners? Its pretty obvious he wants to protect the coal mine operators and they have not given any indication they could give less of a shit if you force fed them 5 lbs of velveeta.
Need John L. Lewis and his eyebrows back
For the moment. Don’t take your eyes off these jackalopes for even a second, or someday you’ll find a story buried on page A9 of the Charleston paper saying that they decided to make the alterations, after all.
They are betting on you losing interest and moving on to something else.
Requiring the students to answer questions as outlined would make a darn sight more sense.
“Sorry, Mr. & Ms. Jones, but little Hortense didn’t ask any questions, as she is required to do, so she’s being held back.”
You know, the irony here is that it could have, in theory, been done in a way that is beneficial to science education. I get a little worried when I see liberals arguing using science to mean the equivalent of “fact”. Science is a process to determine what is likely in the world.
One that stood out for me was TPM’s tagline for their science and tech sub-site: “You can’t argue with science.” No, you can. That’s the whole point of science.
Of course the coal industry isn’t interested in actual discussion, which would weigh the real evidence, the counterarguments, and conclude that humans are warming the planet. That would be educational for students. A false “debate” isn’t helpful, nor is science taught as recitations of facts that come from some authority.
If they were smart they’d just drape solar panels over the coal ash ponds and destroyed mountaintops. A lot of open space, nothing to despoil, and conveniently located next to electrical infrastructure.
@sm*t cl*de: Pittsburgh, PA has pretty much done the same thing. What Dickens once called “Hell’s KItchen” 150 years ago is now a pretty clean, high tech, health care and research oriented city with advanced energy and innovation as its meme.
Lol Black Knight routine — it’s but a flesh wound!
I think what they meant was that you can’t argue with science, except with more science.
There is no point in using economics, politics, theology, wishful thinking or anything else to argue against science.
Which of course is exactly what the deniers are trying to do.
Just Some Fuckhead
West Virginia has a board of education?
Lol, did not see that coming.
So rumor has it that Joe Manchin doesn’t want to be a Senator any longer but instead wants to run for Governor again. If he did that would he win?
ps-I think it’s really funny that I’m getting a pro-Keystone pipeline advert at the top of this piece.
The bits about how changing the science deviates from the Common Core should bring about howling and bitter tears from the states-rights/anti-science nutter crowd.
PS I’m not a Common Core supporter. More for reasons related to testing and ranking students and teachers, but I sure believe in science.
It’s “Hell with the lid taken off” and while attributed frequently to Dickens, it was a writer named James Parton in the Atlantic Monthly in 1868.
“Of course there is no simple explanation for how a city or region becomes tied to its public image, but the staying power and stigma of such an identity can have an incredible shelf life. In January of 1868, James Parton, writing for The Atlantic Monthly, recounted what he saw during a visit to Pittsburgh. In what was essentially a harmless piece of travel writing, he penned an infamous phrase that’s haunted the city for generations:
There is one evening scene in Pittsburg which no visitor should miss. Owing to the abruptness of the hill behind the town, there is a street along the edge of the bluff, from which you can look directly down upon the part of the city which lies low, near the level of the rivers. On the evening of this dark day, we were conducted to the edge of the abyss, and looked over the iron railing upon the most striking spectacle we ever beheld … It is an unprofitable business, view-hunting; but if any one would enjoy a spectacle as striking as Niagara, he may do so by simply walking up a long hill to Cliff Street in Pittsburg, and looking over into—hell with the lid taken off.”
I’ve truly attempted to work with, nevertheless it will not is effective in any way.
@BR: I’d agree completely were it not for the Reichwing’s consistent refrain of “it’s only a theory” any time that scientific conclusions run contrary to The Way The World Works™ (which you’ll find somewhere between Genesis and Revelations, or in most Reichwing textbooks). The scientific community’s use of “theory” to describe a working, provable description of a given phenomenon is too easily distorted by the opponents of knowledge to mean something entirely opposite of that, even when the operability of a scientific theory is not in diametric opposition to their dogma. If you prefer, it’s instead well worth pointing out to wingnuts (especially FundiEvangelist wingnuts) that the Muslim world was not so extremely long ago a center of knowledge and learning, and that increasing enforcement of religious dogma at the expense of that learning (simultaneous with Christian Europe’s dramatic swing in the opposite direction) is one (of admittedly many) reasons that Silicon Valley is in California and not near Damascus, Istanbul or Cordoba.
Couldn't Stand the Weather
LULz. Sad, but true.
As well, that is some foul shit. It’s not even within a zip code of a cheese-like substance. Some sports bar around here had the gall to put that gunk on their so-called nachos. Which they made with potato chips.
@Just Some Fuckhead: They do indeed. How long the Teahad will countenance it going forward, though, is anyone’s guess.
JR in WV
Good thread of commentary on a guy who can’t even balance a check-book, trying to define how science will be taught in the edumacational system of W. Va.
Still reminded of the upper crust lady from around Joey’s home turf, who when asked if Joe Manchin had been to her house, answered “Oh, yes, Mr Manchin has been here. He came to measure for carpet!”
And ran a deficit running a carpet store. Sued by his own brother to repay a loan that kept him from filing for bankruptcy! Amazing that we elected the varmit dog-catcher, let alone U. S. Senator!!!!
And so it goes,