Nebraska Board of Education Looking at Teaching Climate Change in Public Schools

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Supporters and critics have sounded off at a Nebraska Board of Education meeting on a proposal to include the teaching of climate change in Nebraska public school science classes.

Nearly 70 people crowded Friday into a meeting room and overflow room in Lincoln as the board discussed plans to adopt new science standards.

For the first time, the standards would specifically include the teaching of climate change. However, the wording of the latest draft calls on students to “evaluate the reliability and validity” of climate models before making a projection of future climate trends.

That’s a change from an earlier draft in May that treated climate change as settled science. But some people argue the new language isn’t strong enough.

Doug Kagan, representing Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, said there is a “furious ongoing debate within the scientific community about the actual role that humans play in global warming.”

David Harwood, a geology professor with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, countered: “Climate change is happening,” he said. “It is caused by human activity.” Harwood is member of the standards writing team and urged the board to retain climate change, along with evolution, in the draft standards.

Michael Fryda, an Omaha high school science teacher and the 2010 Nebraska teacher of the year, also urged the board to adopt the climate change-inclusive standards.

The board is set to vote on the new standards next month.

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