click to enlarge Science got a win in Idaho Legislature.
Science got a win in Idaho Legislature.

When it comes to whether or not Idaho teachers should teach students about human-caused climate change, Sen. Carl Crabtree, R-Grangeville, wants everyone to consider a sick cow.

You have a problem like a sick cow or, in this case, certain lawmakers wanting weaker language on climate change in SCHOOL SCIENCE STANDARDS. What do you do? Well, Crabtree says, you call a specialist, of course.

"We called some specialists: science teachers," Crabtree said at a Senate Education Committee meeting last week. "We asked them what they thought."

The science teachers came back with recommendations last year, but the Legislature didn't like those recommendations. In 2017, the state became the first state to scrub the teaching of climate science from curriculum requirements.

"So we sent it back through the process," noted Crabtree, a rancher.

Indeed, the science teachers came back again this year with new recommendations, with language about human-caused climate change still there, but a little bit watered down, experts have told the Inlander. But led by Rep. Scott Syme, R-Caldwell, the Idaho House Education Committee cut out supporting content on climate change and the human impact on the environment.

That brought the standards to the Senate Education Committee. There, Crabtree wondered if in other situations, like when there's a sick cow, the Legislature would distrust the opinion of experts like science teachers.

So Crabtree voted in favor of the science standards that included the information on human-caused climate change and with the supporting content that the House committee wanted to take out. In the end, the standards were passed in full in a 6-3 vote.

"That process, folks, in my view is kind of the American process of success. And if we don't believe in that process, then we probably don't like the product," Crabtree said. "I believe in the process."

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About The Author

Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione, born and raised in Spokane, is an Inlander staff writer covering education and social services in the Inland Northwest.