Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's (D) office announced Wednesday that he will enact a new statewide science curriculum despite opponents' accusations that it puts too much emphasis on evolution and climate change education.
WPFL-FM reported that a statement from Beshear's office said he considered the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a curriculum designed with input from 26 states and backed by scientific organizations, "a critical component in preparing Kentuckians for college and the workforce."
The NGSS had been rejected in a 5-1 vote by the state Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee and was reportedly criticized by lawmakers like subcommittee co-chair and state Rep. Ernie Harris (R), who argued that not enough of the groups backing the curriculum were from the area.
"In many cases we took standards from other states," Harris said to WPFL. "But we didn’t develop our own and we have plenty of smart people in the state."
The new standards were also opposed by a local conservative group, the Family Foundation of Kentucky, which argued that it over-emphasized terms like "global warming" and "evolution" compared to basic terminology like "amphibian" or "mammal."
"However you feel about theories like global warming and evolution, it seems to us that no one doubts that intelligent belief or even disbelief in these theories requires basic knowledge about the natural world," foundation spokesperson Martin Cothran told the Associated Press.
But the NGSS still won backing from both the state Board of Education and local education groups like Kentuckians for Science Education, and local educators are already optimistic about implementing it in their classrooms.
"The kids have to make observations about the world around them," Seventh grade science teacher Mechelle Morgan told WPSD-TV. "They can't come up with their own ideas without making those observations. I think they will do those things anyways with those new standards."
Watch WPSD's report on the new standards, aired on Wednesday, below.
[Image: "Elementary School Kids In Science Class Using A Microscope" via Shutterstock]