Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Climate Parents" Sound Alarm: Ky Science Standards in Jeopardy

A national group calling themselves Climate Parents has launched a petition drive meant to influence a Republican-controlled Kentucky legislative hearing scheduled for tomorrow in Frankfort.

When: 1pm, Wednesday 9/11
Where: Capitol Annex room 154

This from Climate Parents:

Climate science for all students

Climate Parents is leading a campaign to ensure kids across America learn the truth about climate change in school. And we’re already seeing progress. This summer, the Kansas and Kentucky the Boards of Education voted to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which include climate science, after receiving petitions led by Climate Parents in each state. But In Kentucky, science opponents are determined to stop the new standards from being taught. Frankfort, KY grandmother and Climate Parents member Sheila Anderson is leading another petition — this time to the Kentucky legislature (which must approve the standards) — to make sure her grandchildren and other students gain the foundation in climate science they will need. As a result of our efforts, a State Board of Education member wrote, “Thank you so much for your support for the science standards which included climate change. Without people like you supporting these standards, we could have had a different outcome. Please stay involved.”
"If Kentucky votes down the NGSS, we'll be the laughingstock of the nation", says Dr. Robert Bevins, President, Kentuckians for Science Education. Bevins says,

One of Kentucky’s legislative subcommittees may vote against adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards based on not telling “both sides” of the stories of evolution and climate change. The regulatory subcommittee meets tomorrow (9/11).
Wanna join in?

The petition below will be sent to members of the state legislature's Administrative Regulation Review Subcomittee and Education Committee:
Please support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for the benefit of Kentucky children. Our students deserve an up-to-date science education that includes learning about climate change. NGSS will give our kids a scientific foundation that will help them navigate 21st century challenges and opportunities.


Richard Innes said...

I am amazed that parents are concerned about climate issues but don't seem to care that high school chemistry and physics are omitted from the Next Generation Science Standards.

This turns those parents' concerns into a political agenda rather than a push for fully sound and complete science programs that will meet all students' needs, including those who want to continue on to STEM careers that might deal with climate, and a lot of other issues.

Next Generation Science Standards even admit omitting high end (“Advanced Matter”) subjects that STEM students need, yet everyone goes on defending these incomplete standards.

It will be too bad for some Kentucky high school physics and chemistry teachers when some school systems figure out that high school chemistry and physics are not in the new tests and drop those expensive courses.

But, it will be even worse for the students who will be unable to continue on to STEM in college despite their desires to do so.

Anonymous said...

I'm saddened, but not surprised by this group. And then I had to listen to Martin Cothran on NPR lamenting the gay agenda on Sunday. Education in Kentucky? An educated Kentucky? Me thinks not...

Robert B said...

This was an excellent decision by the governor. Claims that the NGSS does not contain physics or chemistry material are wrong. All you have to do is read the document. Just look at the sections within the physical sciences section.http://www.nextgenscience.org/search-...

The standards are not highly detailed, and we don't want them to be. Standards tell us what students should have knowledge of, while curriculum, which are set at the local level, are where you find all the details that people claim are missing.

In fact, detailed standards are bad for schools. They don't include the flexibility for school systems to take advantage of local resources or discuss information that is important to local students. Open, flexible standards like the NGSS allow states to develop their own model curriculum, and site based councils, the local decision making groups for every school/school system, can decide to use the state model, modify the model, or design their own. Kentucky's education system relies on local leadership and the NGSS does nothing to stop that. Loading down the standards with detail would take decision making power from communities, not add to it.

The standards do cover fewer total topics, but the topics they do cover are covered in more depth. Instead of skimming the surface of everything, students learn how things work and more importantly, how to find out how things work. This means that they will be able to thrive in any field of science they set their minds to, not just climate.

What the standards do is use multiple fields to teach about uniting concepts. I find this one of the most exciting things about science. Physics, chemistry and biology all work together. For example, chemistry and physics in fact are used to teach students about climate and climate change in the NGSS, which is then used to teach about biology. Climate science is approached as a concept that multiple fields of study unite to support, which is why evolution is included as a uniting concept as well.

While the standards do not include upper level courses, we should not expect them to. The number of upper level courses required to graduate varies widely from state to state. Kentucky requires three course credits in science.

"Science - 3 credits to incorporate lab-based scientific investigation experiences and include the content strands of biological science, physical science, earth and space science, and unifying concepts."

This means that the NGSS does not allow schools to let courses disappear, as Kentucky has requirements that supplement what the NGSS contains. Students will still take all their courses. If it is true that some high schools don't have physics courses because they can't afford them, I hope Mr. Innes will advocate to significantly increase the education budget to make up for this, especially in disadvantaged communities that do not have a tax base sufficient to support their students.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the more specific you make your standards, the more targeted your curriculum and assessment can be. Generalized concepts left up for local interpretation will only lead to inconsistent instruction and student acheivement.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the more specific you make your standards, the more targeted your curriculum and assessment can be. Generalized concepts left up for local interpretation will only lead to inconsistent instruction and student acheivement.

Yes, but the KERA act of 1990 specifically gave control of school curriculum to SBDM councils. Highly specific standards take power away from local districts they are legally intended to retain.