- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Board of Education has reopened and expanded the task force assigned to review the state’s K-12 science standards.

This the second attempt at reviewing the standards. The first attempt was halted last year when a budget footnote ended all financial support for the state to consider the Next Generation Science Standards. That footnote was removed during the recent legislative session.

Although task force members had previously been selected, board members Wednesday decided during a teleconference they would give the public the opportunity to weigh in by reopening seats on the task force.

The board is looking to put together a 36-member task force made up of educators, parents and business leaders.

Though there was work in the spring of 2014 to gauge public interest in being on the review committee, that search is being restarted.

“I’d personally like to start a new process so our community and parents know they’re being included and asked to participate,” board member Kathryn Sessions said. “I know it’s a tight timeline, but I think in the whole scheme of things it would be a good thing to do.”

Along with restarting the process to gauge public interest in being on the committee, other public outreach is being planned, Education Department chief policy officer Brent Young said.

“We can gather from the community their thoughts on what’s important for science education, and we can deliver it back to the committee, and they can see where it fits,” he said.

The task force’s first meeting is scheduled for June 1 in Casper.

While the board can now consider the Next Generation Science Standards, state law requires it to independently examine them.

The debate over the Next Generation Science Standards has largely centered on how the standards treat human influence on climate change. Fossil fuels extraction is the main industry in the state’s economy.

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