New K-12 science standards are receiving push back from Idaho lawmakers for the third year in a row, despite efforts to downplay the negative impacts of human activity on climate change to appease Republican members.
Education officials have long pleaded with the GOP-dominant Legislature the state's science standards are vague and outdated, but lawmakers have refused to adopt permanent new changes and instead have called for more vetting and public comments.
Last year, the Legislature approved science standards on a temporary basis, after the House Education Committee removed five sections of the standards that were focused on climate change and the loss of biodiversity.
The Department of Education then spent the past year gathering public comment regarding those five sections and brought a revised version of those standards to the House Education Committee.
"We looked at each of those five and included possible mitigating solutions to human impact issues," Scott Cook, the director of academics at the Department of Education, said.
On Thursday, House Education Committee members once again balked at the inclusion of human behavior and climate change nestled inside the standards.
The vast majority of peer-reviewed studies, science organizations and climate scientists agree the world is warming, mainly due to rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Most of the increase in temperature comes from manmade sources.
The Legislature will vote to not only adopt the five revised sections, but the entire science standards, which is important because until those standards are set, school districts can't set their curriculum.
"We can finally start the marathon and quit tying our shoes and retying them and get started running," Cook said.
If the new standards are approved, K-12 students will see a change in the way they're taught science.
"Moving away from the memorize, repeat, factory model of education to inquiry model where we start with a phenomenon, like a puddle of water that evaporates or description of why that mountain range is where it is," Cook said.
The committee will vote on whether to adopt the standards on Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.