Bill Would Allow Wyoming To Adopt Controversial Science Standards

Dec 16, 2014

Representative John Patton of Sheridan says he will sponsor a bill that would eliminate a budget footnote that barred the State Board of Education from spending money on reviewing or adopting the Next Generation Science Standards.

The controversial standards were blocked by lawmakers in March. They took issue with how the role of humans in global climate change was presented in the science standards for K-12 education. Patton says education standards are the responsibility of the State Board, not lawmakers.

“It’s not the role of the Legislature to sit and second guess everything that every department does,” says Patton. “That’s all the footnote does is says, ‘Let the process work.’ That process is more important.”

The Board voted to suspend that standards adoption process in July. Representative Matt Teeters, who authored the footnote banning the standards accused the Board of ‘playing political games.’

“They just dug their heels in and said, fine, if you don’t want us to do it, we’re not going to do anything—which, that was not at all the intention of the budget amendment,” says Teeters. “It was my hope that they would step back, disentangle those pieces, talk about them, have more public testimony, and unfortunately, the whole process stopped.”

Patton says his bill has he has several co-sponsors. His full bill will be posted on the Legislature’s website this week.

The Legislative session begins January 13.