Science is how we make our way out from under this pandemic. Ironic, then, that the State Department of Education just colluded June 10 with 14 extremist legislators to illegally remove 35 pages of supporting content from the recently adopted 2018 Science Content Standards to bury a few sections on climate change, ignoring the legal process to amend standards.

They are called content standards for a reason, and they just erased the science content by fiat. The essential supporting content provides the context within which students perform, and all content standards involve interaction between what students should know (content) and what they should be able to do (performance).

The Department document for the June 10 board meeting is a crescendo of lies: that the supporting content (35 pages) is “not necessary” merely “a technical correction” and will have “no impact” on education. The standards don’t work without the supporting content. Idaho code demands a public process unless an agency is correcting “typographical” or “transcription” errors, not the removal of a third of the text. Educators will be navigating in the dark.

Superintendent Ybarra sold out the students of Idaho for pennies of political favor. The Department of Education is disgracefully unworthy of the serious task of reviewing standards. Fortunately, Idaho Code says students shall “meet locally adopted standards” with state standards as a minimum, so school districts can and should ignore the politically compromised work of the Department and continue using the unified standards adopted in 2018. That stench? Rank corruption.

Sam Cook