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Wednesday, January 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘We cannot ignore,’ ‘Put our personal politics aside,’ ‘Education is being censored’

Ilah Hickman, 17, testifies in favor of revised school science standards on climate change to the House Education Committee on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. (Betsy Z. Russell)
Ilah Hickman, 17, testifies in favor of revised school science standards on climate change to the House Education Committee on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. (Betsy Z. Russell)

Among the testimony offered so far to the House Education Committee this morning on proposed new science standards:

Ilah Hickman, 17, a junior at Timberline High School, told lawmakers she is a “passionate advocate” for the science standards. “Years later, me and my generation will be the ones that will have to deal with the ... effects on the earth due to climate change and the other things that are going on, whether or not we are to blame,” she told the House Education Committee. She said students need to be prepared to deal with it. “I love Idaho’s unique wilderness, and I hope that many people can enjoy it just as much as I have,” Hickman said. “Educating in the name of the environment is a priority that is obvious, and that we cannot ignore. … I ask that we not only keep the standards, but that we accept and appreciate all that they have to offer.” She asked the lawmakers to “accept them with an open mind, and that you can see the promise that the standards have to hold.”

Hickman spent five years coming to the Legislature as a young student, pushing to make the Idaho giant salamander the state amphibian; the bill finally passed and was signed into law.

Dick Jordan, a retired high school science teacher who taught in Idaho schools, both rural and urban, for 35 years, said, “I think we can all agree that we must put our personal politics and beliefs aside and recognize that it is negligent to deny our children access to 21st Century science, which in this case has amassed conclusive evidence that human activities are adversely impacting our planet’s life-support systems. The consequences of these global assaults are significant for our success as a species.  Therefore, it is imperative that teachers have sound science standards behind them, in order to help students understand and address these planetary problems, and so they can compete professionally in our global market.” Tomorrow’s nurses, farmers, lawmakers, teachers, bankers and citizens “deserve the very best science and science education,” he said, “not some watered-down, censored version.”

Cassandra Kenyon, a senior at Timberline High School in Boise, said, “I’m here to encourage the passage of the revised science standards that include biodiversity and climate change. This ensures that Idaho’s students have the opportunity to hear all sides of this debate.” She added, “Education is being censored due to political fears, and students are the ones that are suffering. … I simply cannot understand what is wrong with giving Idaho students multiple perspectives and asking them to decide for themselves.” She noted that her grandfather spent 25 years in the state Capitol covering the Legislature for the Associated Press. He often was frustrated, she said, “when common sense was thrown out the window” due to politics



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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