Monday, July 22, 2013

Mystery Science Theater 2013

The public hearing on Kentucky's proposed administrative regulation governing the adoption of Next Generation Science Standards is scheduled to take place tomorrow - July 23, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. in the State Board Room, 1st Floor, Capital Plaza Tower, 500 Mero Street, Frankfort, Kentucky.  

Creationists and/or Intelligent Design folks (who call themselves family foundations and/or TEA Party president) are gittin' the word out to see if they can draw a crowd for tomorrow's festivities. It could be quite a show. 

One group says, OMG! Evolution without an intelligent design chaser. 

The other group argues to stop Biology end-of-course exams in favor of a test with no evolution questions on it. They want local SBDM councils, which they can dominate, or local science teachers, which they can intimidate, to decide what content to test - all according to "community values." We've seen this before. It's what we used to call the Trustee system, and it failed miserably. 

The story is told of a young teacher seeking work under the trustee system in Kentucky, where local folks decided who got the job. The teacher was asked whether he taught that the world was round or flat. "I'll teach it whatever way you want if I get the job," he replied.  

Meanwhile, in the world of science.


The Kentucky Academy of Sciences Endorses the Adoption of Next Generation Science Standards

The Kentucky Academy of Sciences supports the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for the benefit of Kentucky because students in the Commonwealth both need and deserve a 21st century science education, grounded in inquiry, rich in content and internationally benchmarked. 

The standards, to replace those adopted in 1996, rely on modern research on science and learning science to identify science that all K-12 students should know. Further, they provide performance standards stating what students at all grade levels should be able to do to demonstrate their knowledge. Because the standards give proper attention to physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences and engineering, technology and application of sciences and integrating expectations across disciplines and grade levels, the Academy is confident that these standards will lead to scientifically literate graduates ready for college and career armed with an understanding of how science impacts their lives. The Kentucky Academy of Sciences has confidence in the inclusive, two-step process that led to the Next Generation Science Standards. First, the National Research Council, relying on modern research on science and learning science, developed a framework for K-12 Science Education that identified science that all K-12 students should know. Second, scientists, science educators, representatives from higher education and industry from 26 states, including Kentucky, worked together to develop performance expectations of students stating what they should be able to do to demonstrate they have met the standards. Advisory committees and many stakeholders reviewed drafts of the standards and provided valuable input. The strength of the standards is a result of this inclusive process. After review and recommendation by members of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences Education Committee, the Board of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences endorses the Next Generation Science Standards for the Commonwealth.

New science standards hold up against fear, propaganda

in the Herald-Leader:

Martin Cothran of the Family Foundation objects to the new Kentucky science standards, because they fail to mention a bunch of words and scientists, and because they lack "narrative." This involves a misunderstanding of what science is and does.

Science isn't about people. The personal histories of Einstein, Curie, Pasteur, Koch and Turing are not the subject of science; it is their ideas which advanced science. Scientists' names get attached to theories just as a convenience; the theory of evolution isn't about Darwin. The science courses we teach at the University of Kentucky are organized around the logic of the ideas, not the historical sequence.

Science isn't a vocabulary list. It's a technique for learning how the world works, so that we may apply that knowledge.

The science standards are not a comprehensive list of what is to be taught. Rather, they identify endpoints in understanding that we hope our students will reach. This understanding includes not just concepts, but knowing how science is done. The standards expect our teachers to fill in the many steps that are needed to lead their students to substantial competency.

The "narratives" of science are how a particular set of observations can be explained by the theories that have been developed. At various times in history, scientists have proposed that the Earth orbits the sun, that plate tectonics explains the history of the Earth, that there was a "big bang" that is the origin of the universe we observe and that the proliferation of life on Earth is the consequence of evolution.

Initially these were controversial, but they have proved to be the best narratives for explaining what we observe.

According to the global-warming theory, our energy technology is having an irreversible effect on the Earth's climate. Teaching about this theory is an excellent way to show how science works, precisely because it is a developing theory that not everyone believes. It gives the teacher a context in which to discuss physics, biology, geology, earth science and technology.

Finally, it has important implications: If the global-warming scenario is correct, your children will see consequences of our present energy policies. We should get beyond denying it could happen to discussing how we might respond to its possibility. The first step is to learn the scientific bases for the theory.

The climate-change theory plays a role in the new science standards because it is relevant.
Joseph P. Straley is the Provost's Distinguished Service Professor in physics and astronomy at the University of Kentucky.

This from Dan Phelps in H-L:
Martin Cothran’s July 5 attack on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was unfounded and, to put it kindly, extremely odd and irrelevant.  Mr. Cothran is a political lobbyist for the Family Foundation of Kentucky and lacks a background in science.  Furthermore his organization is an extremely conservative religious one and does not have science advisors. In contrast, the NGSS were developed by educators and scientists in various states with the aid of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (one of the world’s largest and most respected scientific organizations), the National Research Council (which includes our nation's  National Academy of Science) and the National Science Teachers Association.  Organizations that have declared support of the NGSS are numerous and include: the American Chemical Society, the American Meteorological Society, the American Physical Society, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and the American Society of Plant Biologists. Anyone interested can read the NGSS at this website instead of relying on the obfuscation supplied by Mr. Cothran.
            Our students deserve and require a high-quality science education free of sectarian, ideological, or political influence. The content of science courses should be determined by scientific, not political or religious, standards.  Evolution and climate change are included in the NGSS because there is an overwhelming consensus within the scientific community in support of these ideas.
 The supposed controversies over whether evolution has occurred and whether climate change is influenced by human activities are politically manufactured controversies.  Scientific debate properly occurs in peer-reviewed journals and at scientific meetings. Opposition to teaching evolution and climate science is not coming from within the scientific community.   If you doubt this, go to any university library and peruse scientific journals, especially those in relevant fields such as biology, biochemistry, geology, paleontology, and climatology.
Opposition to teaching evolution is overwhelmingly coming from people who mistakenly feel evolution threatens their religious faith.  Creationism and intelligent-design creationism are not considered science by any major university's science research departments. Indeed, respectable religious universities from a wide spectrum of faiths -- including Baylor, Notre Dame and Brigham Young -- do not teach creationism or intelligent-design creationism in their science curricula. However, they do teach evolution in the relevant scientific fields.
Opposition to the idea of human-influenced climate change is coming from well-bankrolled political organizations that both fear the possible economic implications of climate science and who sponsor media campaigns to confuse the issue.
The actions of lobbyists, PR firms, and political and religious think tanks should not be influencing what is taught in science classes. Anyone can have an opinion; science is based on evidence. The opposition to teaching well-established scientific ideas in the NGSS has not produced science, just opinion. Anyone can have an opinion with no evidence whatsoever. 
Daniel Phelps is a Professional Geologist and president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society.  In addition to being an environmental geologist, for ten years he taught geology and paleontology part-time at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

But not everyone is in favor of limiting the curriculum of Kentucky science classes to actual science.

This from the American Family Foundation via email:

Read more here:

Kentucky is having a hearing on deciding whether to adopt the common core Science curriculum or not. 

Common Core curriculum has already started in Kentucky in math and language arts. They intend to teach evolution as a fact and not offer the intellegent (sic) design theory.

Here is what you can do:
1. Education yourself on this issue, by watching the videos and reading about Common Core on the links below.

2. If you are able, attend the hearing in Frankfort on Tuesday July 23 at 10 am

3. If you want to speak at the meeting, notify Frankfort in writing by Tuesday July 16. You can send a FAX to  502-564-9321 Attn Kevin C Brown, General Counsel, KY Dept of Education.

4. Click here now to send a message to our KY Dept of Education to not use Common Core Standards.

Watch a show on Common Core, Click below

Read why Common Core is a poor choice for education:

Common Core Standards to be adapted in Kentucky

Kentucky Dept of Education Public Hearing

KDE Public Hearing Information

Published: 6/17/2013 9:43 AM
The administrative regulations and their documents incorporated by reference on this page are still in the administrative review process, pursuant to KRS Chapter 13A. Upon completion of the review process, they will become law. Until then, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is publishing the regulations and their documents on this page to provide the public access, pursuant to KRS Chapter 13A. The official version of KDE regulations, final regulations and those still in the review process, can be found at the Legislative Review Commission's website at:
A public hearing on the following administrative regulations shall be held on July 23, 2013, at 10 a.m. in the State Board Room, 1st Floor, Capital Plaza Tower, 500 Mero Street, Frankfort, Kentucky.  Individuals interested in being heard at this meeting shall notify this agency in writing five working days prior to the hearing (July 16), of their intent to attend.  If no notification of intent to attend the hearing is received by that date, the hearing may be canceled.  This hearing is open to the public.  Any person who wishes to be heard will be given an opportunity to comment on the proposed administrative regulation.  A transcript of the public hearing will not be made unless a written request for a transcript is made.  If you do not wish to be heard at the public hearing, you may submit written comments on the proposed administrative regulation.  Written comments shall be accepted until July 31, 2013.  Send written notification of intent to be heard at the public hearing or written comments on the proposed administrative regulation to Kevin C. Brown, General Counsel, Kentucky Department of Education, 500 Mero Street, First Floor, Capital Plaza Tower, Frankfort, Kentucky, 40601, phone 502-564-4474, fax 502-564-9321. . .

Please forward this email to your friends in KY.

Add this link to your facebook and twitter pages:
Stop Common Core in KY:

Frank G Simon MD
Director, American Family Assoc of KY,
President, Tea Party of KY,

In God we trust

You have received this message because you have subscribed to a mailing list of American Family Association of Kentucky. If you do not wish to receive periodic emails from this source, please click below to unsubscribe.

For good or ill, several of the links above do not work.

And this church bulletin insert from the Family Foundation of Kentucky has been making the rounds:

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

There are mountains of evidence to prove that evolution is the process by which all carbon-based life forms, including us, comes into being. If you believe otherwise, then home-school your child or put them in a Christian school that teaches your belief. The public education of our state and country will continue to teach what it derives from science. If that ever changes, I hope I'm dead and gone.

You can say whatever you want, but, the great thing is, science is still here. You cannot silence the truth of science.

Anonymous said...

There are mountains of evidence to prove the Bible. What about the things that science can't explain? Then what is your explanation?

I agree that parents have a right to home-school their children, but they also pay your school taxes. They have a right to voice their opinion about whether more evolution should be taught. That is why we live in America.

I am trying to figure out in my mind why home-school children then out score most of the school based children on science tests for the ACT. Have you noticed that colleges are recruiting more home-schooled students all the time? They tend to be self-starters and have prior knowledge of science based learning earlier in their education. I guess I disagree with your comments about science and religion.

KY Teacher said...

The Family Foundation doesn't understand that the biology end of course test and the new science standards are two entirely different things. Or perhaps they DO understand the difference and aren't bothered by a little thing like honesty.

One or the other must be true...and either is reprehensible.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the Family Foundation call itself what it is: The Evangelical Christian Family Foundation?

I thought Kentucky had been through the evolution battle during the UK tenure of Frank McVey. But now this organization, which seeks to impose its conservative Christian values on others, is about to revive the Scopes Trial.

Heaven help us! Perhaps since the Family Foundation lost the battle over marriage, they feel the need to revive the idea of censorship in the public schools.