SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — When the Utah State Board of Education meets on Thursday, May 4, they will have a controversial topic to discuss — whether the term “climate change” is too politically charged to be taught to students.
The discussion would affect core standards for elective high school courses, specifically for a meteorology course. According to the board, they want to avoid language they feel may be politically charged.
In a video conference on Monday, a committee of board members discussed this implementation in potential new core standards. However, not all members of the committee agreed.
“Would there be anything wrong with using ‘changing climate’ instead of climate change?” Board of Education Dist. 13 Rep. Randy Boothe said. “Because everybody sees that there is a change in climate and that’s really what these meteorologists are wanting to talk about.”
“We’re not interacting with the weather, we’re just reacting to it,” said another member of the board, Dist. 9 Rep. Natalie Cline. “It’s happening to us, and we’re responding, and that’s different than interacting with weather as if what we do can change the weather.”
On social media, an image of a section from the potential new standards has the words “climate change” crossed out. According to board members, while they appreciate the engagement of the public, they would encourage them to look at the whole process.
“I appreciate the engagement of the public, I think it’s healthy if people have information that they want to share with board members, I think that’s a really healthy part of our process,” Dist. 1 Rep. Jennie Earl said. “[But] I would encourage the public to take a little more of a deep dive and not just take one element and hyper-inflate it or sensationalize it beyond where it’s at.”
According to Earl, they have a section in the core teachings that says, “Plan and carry out an investigation to determine the natural and human-caused factors that could produce changes in Earth’s climate systems.” Earl said she thinks there’s a misinterpretation of what’s going on.
The standards will be discussed on Thursday, where the board will create further changes, and possibly approve what’s already there. If you would like to read the proposed standards, they are posted here.