Is There Science Education in Idaho?

We haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in Idaho lately, but the crazies seem to be running amok. That state is in the process of trying to upgrade the science standards for their schools, and it’s not going very well.

In the Idaho State Journal of Pocatello, Idaho we read Legislators complain state science standards contain too much science. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Whew! Idaho students can breathe a huge sigh of relief as the state science standards revision, which was rejected by Idaho lawmakers back in February, will continue to be mulled over for at least another year. The K-12 state science standards upgrade was intended to replace the current standards that are so old they define fire as “a gift from Prometheus.”

We assume that’s a journalistic exaggeration, but we’re not sure. After some discussion of how bad the current science standards are, we’re told:

This is how the revision process has gone so far: Fifteen Idaho science teachers met in March and May 2015 to review and revise the science standards. Written comments on the standards were accepted through Oct. 28. Next, the State Board of Education approved the revised standards. After all this, the state legislature rejected the updated standards. Why?

They must have had good reasons. Let’s read on:

At neither the senate nor the house education committee meetings was the actual content of the standards addressed in detail. However, prior to the meeting there was a draft motion describing such topics in the standards as global warming, the age of the earth, the origin of the solar system, the Big Bang and evolution as “questionable science.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We continue:

In addition, a number of previous public comments received by the legislators have focused on the revised standards’ omission of creationism, which a lot of folks apparently do not regard as “questionable science.”

[*Curmudgeon’s eyes roll*] Here’s more:

Then there was Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls. According to Idaho Education News, Clow, following the vote rejecting the standards, said he was disturbed by the language, such as the revised standard that states that human activities have “significantly” altered the biosphere. He said that word was “troublesome to some people,” Idaho Education News reported.

The legislature’s website shows that he’s on the Education committee. Wikipedia has a write-up on Lance Clow. It’s very brief, but they say that he “earned his BA in economics from California Lutheran University, Graduate Work in accounting and finance from California State University, Northridge, and in business administration from Idaho State University.” He seems qualified to advise on the education of bookkeepers, but not much else.

The journalist seems rather upset. You can see that in our last excerpt:

Maybe collecting more public input is a good idea. That way we can have less “questionable science” in the science standards. Instead, Idaho students could pursue the study of elves, pixies and gnomes. How about a middle school field trip to track Bigfoot?

Or maybe a visit to Hambo’s ark. Idaho looks like fertile territory for the Discoveroids. It shouldn’t be too difficult to persuade that state’s legislature to pass one of their Academic Freedom bills.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “Is There Science Education in Idaho?

  1. So much for science in Ideeho.

  2. michaelfugate

    The previous standards seem to spend a fair amount of time on evolution…
    http://www.sde.idaho.gov/academic/shared/science/Biology-End-of-Course-Content-Standards-with-limits.pdf

  3. . . . which may have emboldened creationists t hope that new standards would correct this “flaw.” When they didn’t, the nuts, I mean you-know-who (but I repeat myself), were furious, and put the squeeze on the legislature (with the help, I’m sure, of fellow travelers on the road to ignorance who’d been elected to that body).

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    Can we invite the author to join us here. Good snark is always welcome.

  5. The best-known (and perhaps largest) hi-tech company in Idaho is semiconductor manufacturer Micron Technology. I would hope that some of Micron’s executives in Boise would weigh in on the issue of STEM education. Heck, even the state’s famous potato farmers should get behind proper science education (genetics, biochemistry, etc.).

    BTW … I just did a search for the word ‘potato’ in the King James bible at
    https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=potato&qs_version=KJV

    The word ‘potato’ was not found anywhere in the bible! Not surprising, since the potato was first cultivated in South America, and didn’t make its way to Europe until the 16th century. Does this mean that the cultivation of potatoes is (shudder) NOT BIBLICAL???

    Silicon chips and potato chips … it all sounds like the work of the DEVIL!

  6. Oh no! Not only do we not find ‘potato’ in the bible … the word ‘silicon’ isn’t in there either. Sand appears numerous times, but not silicon. Making a living from either potatoes or silicon — must be sinful!

    Add to that: I’ve heard that women in Boise proudly say “I da’ ho’!”

  7. Yes, the most common elements in the Earth’s crust are oxygen and silicon, which make up a majority of the crust. The next is aluminum. Only when we get to the next, iron, is there mention in the Bible.
    The Bible makes it a habit of not mentioning majorities.
    It doesn’t mention the majority of life: the microbes.
    It doesn’t mention the majority of ordinary matter: hydrogen and helium.
    It doesn’t mention dark matter or dark energy.
    The Bible is written as if it were the product of an Ancient Near Eastern culture. God must have had a reason for giving that impression. Whatever that is, I think that we must honor his reasons and treat the Bible as he wanted it to be seen, as the product of an ANE culture.

  8. Yeah, but we know from Ol’ Hambo that only using the beebil were things like oxygen and silicon discovered so it’s ok.

  9. @ TomS:

    It took me a minute to work out that ‘ANE’ was an acronym for ‘Ancient Near Eastern’

    But pity the historians of the future who will have the task of writing about the culture of ‘Ancient North American Lunacy’