Education

Kansas Does Something Good For Once and Passes New Science Standards

The following awesome article is by Mindy, Teen Skepchick’s managing editor. Thanks, Mindy! 🙂

It’s hard to think of a more anti-science state than my home state of Kansas. (Louisiana, maybe?) But recently the state Board of Education did me and all of the science enthusiasts throughout the state proud by approving the Next Generation Science Standards with comparatively little fanfare.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Next Generation Science Standards, let me enlighten you. The NGSS is a cooperative effort between 26 states – Kansas surprisingly included – that encourages students to actually do science. It trends away from simple memorization of facts. The idea is to provide context; there is no sense in learning scientific concepts in a vacuum. The standards also encourage teachers to put more of an equal emphasis on engineering and scientific inquiry.

I’m not an educator, but this sounds pretty cool to me.

Notably, both evolution and climate change are included topics in the NGSS. As you probably know, Kansas has a sketchy history with teaching evolution. We also have a sketchy present with recognizing climate change.

The NGSS passed 8-2, the two nays coming from the only remaining conservative Republicans on the board. One such member, Ken Willard, has some Very Serious Reservations.

“Both evolution and human cause of global climate change are presented in these standards dogmatically,” Willard said. “This nonobjective, unscientific approach to education standards amounts to little more than indoctrination in political correctness.”

Sure, bro. Whatever you say. That’s quite a claim coming from a creationist.

Oh, also, did you know that teaching accurate science is basically gateway atheism? Well it is!

During a public comment session Tuesday, Rex Powell, a retired Spring Hill business and organizational consultant, said the new standards promote “an atheistic world view.” Powell is a member of Citizens for Objective Public Education, which formed last year to contest the new standards.

 

“They are standards for religious indoctrination rather than objective science education,” Powell said.

Ooooo scary. There’s nothing worse than an atheist.

Ah, but these are just the haters. There were plenty of science-loving supporters. Climate Parents, an organization devoted to fighting climate change, presented a petition with 2,500 signatures of Kansas residents in support of the NGSS.

There was actually very little dissent in the crowd when the board approved the standards. The debate was actually dominated by the Common Core standards, which are reading and math standards, that were adopted in 2010. There have been efforts in the state legislature to delay the implementation. Luckily, they did not succeed, and now Kansas has some shiny new science standards to match.

Featured Image: Aaron Sumner

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Tori Parker

Tori Parker

Tori is a high school English teacher from Ohio (insert cheerleader kick here)! She is emphatic! She is skeptical! She is nifty! Her boyfriend says that they can get a potbellied pig someday and name him Bacon. She has a little boy whose pseudonym is SC, although he has recently asked that his name be changed to Henry. When asked for a comment to add on this bio, he asked, "Why do we sound like a bad '70's cop show?" So there's that.

2 Comments

  1. June 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm —

    I was also surprised to see Kansas as one of the first states to officially adopt the NGSS. Bravo!

    • June 25, 2013 at 6:41 pm —

      I was surprised when I found out Kansas was involved in drafting it!

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