Idaho Lawmaker: Teaching Kids About Climate Change Imparts "Greta Thunberg Syndrome"

Jan 23, 2020

Idaho lawmakers are once again considering removing science standards for public schools that outline the effects of man-made climate change.

Opponents testified to the House Education Committee Wednesday morning that Idaho’s science standards are pushing kids to look at certain forms of energy negatively.

Rep. Tony Wisniewski (R-Post Falls) said kids should not be taught man-made climate change as a fact.

“By teaching proper science we can even improve the mental health of some of Idaho school childrens [sic] by removing unfounded fears and preventing the Greta Thunberg syndrome,” Wisniewski said, referencing the teenage Swedish climate activist who was recently chosen as Time Magazine’s person of the year.

97% of scientists agree that warming trends are “extremely likely” linked to humans.

Others, like Rep. Dorothy Moon (R-Stanley), said these standards are also pushing children to consider certain forms of energy negatively, like fossil fuels, biomass and hydroelectric power generation.

"We need to talk about these industries that founded our country in a better light than they're being projected," Moon said.

Most educators widely supported these standards, like Eric Thies, who teaches high school physics. He said they give students across the state a base-level understanding of scientific concepts. That background saved him two days of extra lessons to catch kids up.

“They didn’t necessarily have all of the skills that I wanted them to have coming into my class, but they had a common set of skills and I could build my instruction in my labs and their authentic experiments around that set of skills,” Thies said.

The House Education Committee removed many references to man-made climate change two years ago, but a Senate committee blocked those tweaks from being implemented.

House Education Committee members will vote on making similar changes in the near future.

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