The House Education Committee held the first of two days of hearings regarding proposed science standards Thursday, with public testimony overwhelmingly in support of adopting a slate of revised standards, but questions from legislators and confusion about process creating quite a bit of uncertainty. The committee will reconvene Friday morning from 8:00-10:30 a.m. for further testimony and discussion, and potentially to vote on the standards.
IEA member Melyssa Ferro, who co-chaired the committee of educators that developed the standards, was among seven people who testified Thursday, with all seven speaking in favor of adopting the standards as written. “We want active learners, and the science in these standards is sound,” Ferro told the committee.
The primary question surrounded five passages related to climate change that were removed by the legislature when they passed the science content standards as a temporary rule last year. The language of those five sections has been revised since they were referred back to the standards committee last year, but it is unclear if the revisions will meet with approval from members of the House Education Committee.
If the legislature does not approve a set of science standards during this session, the temporary rule would lapse, and the state would revert to standards developed in 2001. State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra and members of her staff expressed concern that not adopting new standards would create confusion for students and teachers.
After some confusion, it was clarified that the House Education Committee will be voting to adopt the complete slate of science content standards, not just the five sections that were removed late in the process last year. However, only the five sections have been modified in any way from the standards approved as a temporary rule during the 2017 session.
Testimony and debate will resume Friday morning at 8:00 a.m., as the House Education Committee meets once again in the Lincoln Auditorium. Live streaming of the meeting can be found here. See media coverage of Thursday’s meeting from Idaho Education News and from the Associated Press.