A state legislative panel's Wednesday rejection of new science standards for Kentucky public school systems presents an "either-or" situation that is thoroughly depressing both ways.
If the five members of the General Assembly's Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee who voted against the standards truly reject the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting climate change and the theory of evolution, it's a depressing commentary about the quality of the people we send to the General Assembly.
If some or all of those lawmakers don't reject the scientific evidence but cynically voted to keep future generations of Kentucky children from getting the best education possible just to placate the coal industry and religious conservatives and help them win re-election, it's a depressing commentary about the quality of the people we send to the General Assembly.
(The five were Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro; Sen. Mary Beth Gregory, R-Monticello; Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood; Rep. Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow; and Rep. Tommy Turner, R-Somerset.)
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The Next Generation Science Standards represent the work of a 26-state consortium that includes Kentucky.
While the guidelines do emphasize evolution and climate change, they cover other aspects of teaching science in middle schools and high schools.
The goal is to give students a broader hands-on understanding of how science works and better prepare them for college and beyond. And no student's science education would be complete if evolution and climate change are removed from the discussion.
Fortunately, Gov. Steve Beshear understands how important these new standards are for ensuring future Kentucky students the science education they will need as they move on through the 21st century.
His office issued a statement after Wednesday's subcommittee meeting saying he would use his executive authority to implement them. We applaud him for doing what those five naysayers on the subcommittee didn't have the wisdom or gumption to do.