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State board OKs controversial science standards

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Board of Education on Thursday adopted new K-12 science education standards, but not without adding changes suggested by board member Wade Linger to the teaching of global warming.

The amendments came despite significant local and national criticism of Linger’s previous suggested changes to the standards — which the board had adopted in December and later retracted after the Gazette reported on them.

State Department of Education officials said the previous changes put the standards out of alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards national blueprint, on which they were based.

One of the new amendments adopted Thursday — replacing the word “rise” with “change” in a sixth-grade standard that originally required students to “ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century” — will still likely put the West Virginia standards out of alignment with the Next Generation standards, said Clayton Burch, chief academic officer for the Department of Education.

“The standards are still solid, they’re still the voice of the people,” Burch said.

Linger has said he doesn’t believe human-influenced climate change is a “foregone conclusion.”

“I’m here as a member of a board to be a leader, and do the best thing for the children,” Linger said Thursday. “And if I have to take heat to do that, I’m always prepared to take the heat, and I’m proud that this board showed that they feel the same way…

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