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The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

NCSE Evolution and Climate Education Update for 2015/03/06

(by NCSE Deputy Director Glenn Branch)

Dear friends of NCSE,

The NGSS have been unblocked in Wyoming, but a bill in Iowa would
block the NGSS in part over evolution and climate change. It's not too
late to reserve a seat on NCSE's July 2015 excursion to the Grand
Canyon. And Oklahoma's antiscience bill is dead.

NGSS UNBLOCKED IN WYOMING

Governor Matt Mead signed House Bill 23 into law on March 2, 2015,
according to the Associated Press (March 2, 2015), so Wyoming is now
free to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards.

The bill repeals a footnote in the state budget for 2014-2016 that
precluded the use of state funds for "any review or adoption" of the
NGSS. The treatment of climate change was cited as the reason for the
footnote.

The blockage of the NGSS was widely condemned by the state's
scientists, educators, and newspapers, and the state board of
education declined to develop a new set of science standards
independent of the NGSS.

Whether the NGSS will in fact be adopted by Wyoming is up to the state
board of education, since the bill directs the board to "independently
examine and scrutinize any science standards proposed or reviewed as a
template."

So far the NGSS have been adopted in thirteen states -- California,
Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey,
Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia -- plus
the District of Columbia.

For the Associated Press story (via KULR 8), visit:
http://www.kulr8.com/story/28243776/developments-at-the-wyoming-legislature 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Wyoming, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/wyoming 

ANTI-NGSS BILL IN IOWA

House File 272, introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives on
February 17, 2015, and referred to the House Committee on Education,
would, if enacted, prevent Iowa from adopting the Next Generation
Science Standards -- and part of the stated reason is the NGSS's
treatment of evolution and climate change.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette (March 2, 2015), the bill's lead
sponsor Sandy Salmon (R-District 63) objects to the fact that the
standards were not written in Iowa, but is also "concerned that the
standards miss some key math and science concepts, present evolution
as scientific fact[,] and shine a negative light on human impacts on
climate change."

Also sponsoring HF 272 are Dean Fisher (R-District 72), John H. Wills
(R-District 1), Greg Heartsill (R-District 28), Steven Holt
(R-District 18), Larry Sheets (R-District 80), Ralph C. Watts
(R-District 19), and John Landon (R-District 37). But Salmon told the
Gazette that the bill was stalled in a subcommittee and that she did
not expect it to emerge.

A lead state partner in the development of the NGSS, Iowa is currently
considering whether to adopt the standards. A review team is expected
to consider input from four public forums and a public on-line survey
in March 2015 and to make a recommendation to the state board of
education, which will decide whether to adopt the NGSS.

For Iowa's House File 272, visit:
http://coolice.legis.iowa.gov/Legislation/86thGA/Bills/HouseFiles/Introduced/HF272.html 

For the story in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, visit:
http://thegazette.com/subject/news/educators-step-lightly-around-political-points-as-state-considers-new-science-standard-20150302 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Iowa, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/iowa 

NCSE AND THE GRAND CANYON 2015

Explore the Grand Canyon with NCSE! Three seats are still available
for NCSE's next excursion to the Grand Canyon -- as featured in the
documentary No Dinosaurs in Heaven. From July 2 to July 10, 2015, NCSE
will again explore the wonders of creation and evolution on a Grand
Canyon river run conducted by NCSE's Steve Newton and Josh Rosenau.
Because this is an NCSE trip, we offer more than just the typically
grand float down the Canyon, the spectacular scenery, fascinating
natural history, brilliant night skies, exciting rapids, delicious
meals, and good company. It is, in fact, a unique "two-model" raft
trip, on which we provide both the creationist view of the Grand
Canyon (maybe not entirely seriously) and the evolutionist view -- and
let you make up your own mind. To get a glimpse of the fun, watch the
short videos filmed in 2011, posted on NCSE's YouTube channel, and
explore photographs by last year's rafters in the 2014 expedition's
Flickr group. The cost of the excursion is $2760; a deposit of $500
will hold your spot. Seats are limited: call, write, or e-mail now.

For information about the excursion, visit:
http://ncse.com/about/excursions/gcfaq 

For information about No Dinosaurs in Heaven, visit:
http://www.nodinos.com/ 

For the videos and photographs, visit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll7kG8dPfgM&list=UUXlZRCBefkIvRuv5zUrXEdg 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSfTH9Gl2CM&list=UUXlZRCBefkIvRuv5zUrXEdg 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD4xmkEbgqk&list=UUXlZRCBefkIvRuv5zUrXEdg 
https://secure.flickr.com/groups/ncse-grand-canyon-2014/ 

ANTISCIENCE BILL DIES IN OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma's Senate Bill 665, which would, if enacted, have deprived
administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating
students about "scientific controversies," died in the Senate
Education Committee on February 26, 2015, when a deadline for senate
bills to pass committee expired. Of the five antiscience bills
introduced in 2015, only Missouri's House Bill 486 is still alive.

The sole sponsor of Oklahoma's SB 665 was Josh Brecheen (R-District
6), who introduced similar legislation in three previous legislative
sessions. Brecheen's SB 1765 in 2014 -- virtually identical to SB 665
in 2015 -- was opposed by the National Association of Biology Teachers
and the American Institute of Biological Sciences, as well as by the
grassroots Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education.

For Oklahoma's Senate Bill 665 (PDF), visit:
http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2015-16%20INT/SB/SB665%20INT.PDF 

For the statements about SB 1765 from NABT (PDF) and AIBS, visit:
http://ncse.com/files/NABT-Letter-SB-1765.pdf 
http://www.aibs.org/position-statements/20140210_ok_science_ed_act.html 

For Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, visit:
http://www.oklascience.org/ 

And for NCSE's previous coverage of events in Oklahoma, visit:
http://ncse.com/news/oklahoma 

WHAT'S NEW FROM THE SCIENCE LEAGUE OF AMERICA

Have you been visiting NCSE's blog, The Science League of America,
recently? If not, then you've missed:

* Eugenie C. Scott reflecting on the death of Eugenie Clark:
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/03/sightings-eugenie-clark-0016208 

* Stephanie Keep discussing the misconception that evolution
inexorably produces increasing complexity:
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/03/misconception-monday-explaining-evolutionary-trends-it-s-not-0016210 

* Ann Reid interviewing Jim Krupa about a teacher who aroused his
interest in biology:
http://ncse.com/blog/2015/03/thank-teacher-thursday-legacy-passion-teaching-0016214 

And much more besides!

For The Science League of America, visit:
http://ncse.com/blog 

Thanks for reading. And don't forget to visit NCSE's website --
http://ncse.com -- where you can always find the latest news on 
evolution and climate education and threats to them.

--
Sincerely,

Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x303
fax: 510-601-7204
800-290-6006
branch@ncse.com 
http://ncse.com 

Check out NCSE's new blog, Science League of America:
http://ncse.com/blog 

Read Reports of the NCSE on-line:
http://reports.ncse.com 

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