Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

COMMON CORE REPEAL ; Standards Bill Criticized near Session's End

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

COMMON CORE REPEAL ; Standards Bill Criticized near Session's End

Article excerpt

Several groups are criticizing a bill that would block implementation of West Virginia's upcoming science education standards and establish an "expert panel to revise math and English language arts standards. It's also unclear what the legislation, House Bill 4014, would cost. It has no fiscal note attached and didn't go through the House Finance Committee.

Senate Education Chairman Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, said he doesn't know whether a fiscal note will be necessary. Sypolt also said the state Board of Education hasn't been very cooperative with the Legislature; the state Department of Education would prepare any fiscal note.

As of Wednesday evening, the bill was at the end of today's Senate Education Committee agenda. The committee meets at 2 p.m.

Last week, the House voted 73-20 for the bill, which would delay implementation of the science standards at least a year. That vote came after House floor debates in which lawmakers criticized the standards, which are based on the national Next Generation Science Standards blueprint, for their teaching of the evidence for human- influenced climate change.

A provision of the bill says the state school board "shall not implement the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for Science in West Virginia Schools' that are to become effective July 1, 2016 and leave in place the current science standards through June 30, 2017.

Counties have been planning to start teaching the new standards next school year, and it's unclear whether the aforementioned language would allow the Next Generation standards to take effect, even after the 2017-18 school year begins July 1, 2017.

Sypolt said Wednesday he isn't completely clear what the intent of the science provision is, and said he hasn't heard concerns with the science standards from Senate members.

"This bill came to me that way, he said. "I don't particularly have a problem with the science standards.

Climate Parents, a national nonprofit group that opposed previous changes to the Next Generation Science Standards in West Virginia and attacks against the standards in other states, is circulating a petition in opposition.

"To stop the 3 climate objectives in the K-12 standards, the petition states, "these Delegates would prevent our kids from being taught nearly 600 new science objectives across all fields of science studied at school. …

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