On February 9, 2019, a resolution (HJ 684) was pre-filed in the Virginia legislature that could, if adopted, undermine the teaching of climate change in public schools. HJ 684 is purportedly aimed at preventing “political or ideological indoctrination” of school children. It would encourage the Virginia State Board of Education to adopt rules that, among other things, prevent public elementary and secondary school teachers from “[a]dvocat[ing] for any issue that is part of a political party platform at the national, state, or local level.” Science education groups and others have expressed concern that this could limit teachers’ ability to discuss climate change, which is dealt with in the federal Democratic party platform and a number of state platforms.
Bills requiring the adoption of rules similar to those specified in HJ 684 have also been introduced in Arizona, Maine, and South Dakota.
On February 5, 2017, the Virginia House Rules Subcommittee #1 voted in favor of “passing [HJ 684] by indefinitely.” As a result of the vote, HJ 684 will not move forward.