Senate committee postpones controversial science standards decision

Posted at 5:19 PM, Feb 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-24 15:39:17-05

The Senate Education Committee has chosen to postpone making a decision on approving controversial science standards. 

On Feb. 9, the House Education Committee removed references to climate change and human impact on environment from the standards. Idaho's science standards have not been updated since 2001, and those standards have been criticized as being too vague. 

"The House took a different approach, and as the Superintendent of Public Instruction, it would be my request that these go through as-is to respect the people that were part of this process," Superintendent Sherri Ybarra said. "It has been almost three years, but that was a way to compromise and get the students of Idaho the information that they needed."

The Senate Education committee heard testimony from 22 people opposed to approving the standards without references to climate change. One person spoke in favor of approving the same rules approved by the House Education Committee. 

Senators could vote to adopt the standards in full including the references to climate change, but in that case, the rules would be handed back to the House Education Committee for approval. 

The science standards currently being debated are temporary. The State Department of Education and State Board of Education will continue to work on permanent standards to be approved by the 2018 Legislature.

Senators moved on Thursday to postpone their decision until the committee meets again on Monday.