On a 5-1 vote this afternoon conservative members of the Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee rejected the new Kentucky Next Generation Science Standards finding them deficient. That was quickly followed by an announcement from Governor Steve Beshear that he would use his authority to put them in place anyway.
Commissioner Terry Holliday praised Beshear and told the Herald-Leader that he didn't think there was any meat to the objections raised by NGSS opponents. Earlier this week he called the concerns"valid." Go figure.
Beshear to implement science standards in wake of panel's rejection
This from H-L:
Gov. Steve Beshear plans to implement the new Kentucky Next Generation Science Standards under his own authority, after a legislative review panel rejected them as deficient during a meeting Wednesday.
That would let the standards move forward, but the regulation could be killed by the full General Assembly when it returns in January.
Terry Sebastian, Beshear's deputy press secretary, said in a statement that the governor "views these standards as a critical component in preparing Kentuckians for college and the workforce. Therefore, as provided by law, he will implement the regulations notwithstanding the finding of deficiency."
Members of the Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee said they'd been bombarded by a groundswell of opposition to the standards from all across Kentucky over recent days. They also said they were troubled that some basic scientific concepts weren't specifically spelled out in the standards.
An obviously disappointed Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday left the meeting room immediately after the vote, which he described as "political." He also dismissed arguments against the standards.
"I think it was pretty much a political vote," Holliday said outside in the hallway. "I don't think there is any meat to these issues that we haven't fully addressed."
Holliday said that if the standards aren't implemented, Kentucky schools would be left to continue working under the state's existing science standards, which he called "woefully inadequate."
Holliday estimated that if the state ultimately has to start over and write new standards, it could cost millions of dollars and take three to five years to put them in place.
Robert Bevins, president of Kentuckians For Science Education, a group that backs the standards, said the subcommittee's vote would be an embarrassment for Kentucky.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we're on the Daily Show tomorrow," he said.
This from KDE:
COMMISSIONER PRAISES GOVERNOR’S SWIFT ACTION ON SCIENCE STANDARDS
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday praised Gov. Steve Beshear’s swift action to implement new science standards today despite a legislative committee’s rejection of them earlier in the day.
“We appreciate the Governor’s courage and wisdom in executing his legal authority to implement the Kentucky Core Academic Standards in science,” said Holliday. “This is good for Kentucky teachers and it’s good for Kentucky students. As mandated by Senate Bill 1, these new science standards will ensure our graduates are prepared for college and that they will be able to compete with those from around the country and the world.”
Senate Bill 1, passed unanimously by the 2009 General Assembly, directed the department to develop new standards in science and other subject areas that were more rigorous and aligned with college expectations.
The commissioner said he was disappointed that the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee did not give the Department of Education an opportunity to refute the misinformation shared by opponents of the standards at today’s hearing. He said that the committee was led to believe that there was little support across the state for the new science standards and “that’s just not the case,” he said.
“There were multiple opportunities for public feedback on the Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS) during the development and adoption processes and support was overwhelming,” he said. “During our public comment period, we had more than 3,700 comments in favor of the standards, and less than two hundred opposed.”
The Kentucky Academy of Science, the Kentucky Science Teachers Association, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, and thousands of Kentuckians have endorsed the adoption of the KCAS, in their present form and without modification.
In addition, more than 70 state and national groups have endorsed the NGSS, including The Bayer Corporation, Chevron, CISCO Systems, Comcast, Corning, Inc., Dell Inc., Dupont, Eaton, Eli Lilly, ExxonMobil, IBM, Intel, Merck, Prudential, Raytheon, State Farm, Symantec, and the Travelers Companies, Inc.A few weeks ago, Toyota donated more than $550,000 to Northern Kentucky University to provide professional development on the NGSS to 1,100 teachers and administrators, and by extension to at least 26,000 students, the commissioner said.