Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kentucky Education Committee Passes on Hearing Science Standards, Official Adoption Near

This from WFPL:
Kentucky’s new science standards have taken a step closer to becoming officially adopted this week.

The Next Generation Science Standards—which were developed by 26 states including Kentucky—were rejected by a small regulation committee earlier this year.
Gov. Steve Beshear has said he would use his power to override that decision and implement the standards anyway.

The Kentucky Department of Education has already begun preparing educators around the state for implementing the new standards in the 2014-2015 school year, but some anticipated an interesting vote from the larger 40-member interim joint education committee, which could have also voted on the standards.
Instead, that committee chose not to hear the standards in this week’s meeting.

Officials with the Legislative Research Commission—the body that oversees all things related to laws and regulations—says the interim committee could still hold a special meeting between now and Nov. 1, but co-chair Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Franklin, says "it’s a done deal" and the standards have overwhelming support of the business and science communities.

Some argue the standards don’t do enough to support students in certain areas of science and that they leave out key concepts. But many educators say they’ll dive deeper into scientific ideas and will force students to demonstrate the use of science.

Gov. Steve Beshear still needs to send the official notice—or letter—to the LRC acknowledging his decision to override the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee’s rejection before the standards are officially adopted.

UPDATE: Oct 15, 8:11 pm: Gov. Beshear's office has shared with WFPL a copy of his signed letter to the LRC acknowledging his decision to implement the standards despite the committee's rejection. According the the LRC, if the Interim Joint Education Committee wishes to hold a special meeting to consider the standards by Nov. 1 then Beshear would have to send a similar letter to the LRC.


Anonymous said...

I don't have anything against the standards, but I am very concerned about how our state government functions when regulatory committees (small or any other size) can have their decisions simply over-ridden by an apparently all knowing executive. Equally, it is very troublesome to consider that a 40 member joint education committee can simply default on their role based on their chair's decision "its a done deal'?

Citizens of Kentucky should question how an established process and its associated oversight committees can simply have their decisions be discarded at the will of an individual executive. Why even have the committees if personal preferences of the governor or perceived popular will determines government practice.

Circumventing the process not only makes the process suspect but also that which is being reviewed. As citizens we should seek out specific justifications for these breaches in governmental proceedures.

Richard Day said...

As President G W Bush was fond of saying, elections have consequences. I understand your concern but this sort of thing happens ALL THE TIME. Executives use whatever authority they have to move policy in the favored direction. If our congressional leaders don't want to vote on something, and they have a chairman in the right position, they simply kill it in committee. Reid and McConnell keep bills from coming to the floor if they don't want a vote. Etc, etc, etc.

It happens so often, it IS the process.

Anonymous said...

I did't mean to sound nieve, but I disagree that it "is" or should be the process. I certainly understand how politics control legislative agendas, but I think our federal government's show these last three weeks is proof enough, that citizens at all levels should in deed be concerned about what happens you are describing has become so common place in politics that we have moved to dysfunctionism and a complete lack of trust in those who are suppose to be running our governments as indicated by polls. I personnally don't see any reason to accept what currently "is".

Anonymous said...

In this particular case, the five people on the committee overruled the clear feedback from the public 10:1 in favor of the standards because a handful of loud but misguided constituents rattled their cages. The Governor did the right thing.

Anonymous said...

Again, the point is about the process, not about what is right, wrong or popular. If we were using what the public favors as our barameter for what is "right" we wouldn't have any federal legislators right now.

I seriously doubt that educators would be as comfortable if executive orders started coming out of the governor's or President's offices which side stepped legislative process if those executive actions significantly reduced funding for education in order to entice employers to come to Kentucky? During most recent presidential election public surveys of Kentuckians indicated that economy and employment were significantly more important to "the public" than education which percentage wise ranked in the single digits among state citizens.

We aren't talking about something as monumental as 1960's executive leadership in civil rights to combat discrimnatory state practices and legislation. They are science curriculum standards for goodness sake. It is not as though kids are suddenly going to stop being taught science or all science teachers are going to be fired.

There is no reason to side step the process every time something unpopular with the public is decided by those we have elected to make those decision. As much as our federal government demonstrated it's almost dysfunctional level of operation these last few weeks, we weren't out in the streets shooting, looting or blowing things up as in other parts of this world currently when citizens can't agree or refuse to follow their established legislative proceedures.

I am not President Obama's biggest fan, but he is right in his comment to Republican - if you don't like it, win an election and change it. When we start accepting non compliance with estabilished governmental proceedures based upon what is publically popular or what the individual in the executive office decides is "right" then you devalue the entire process and the system of government accountability. We have more than our share of examples of where that leads us ranging from Adoph Hitler all the way to our own Richie Farmer.