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Wyoming Rejects NGSS, More Common Core, Take Better Notes: Required Readings 05.11.14

I think we can all agree that when evaluating how well science education policy is being implemented in a state, Kansas is a pretty low bar.   Yet, this week Wyoming made a bold move to duck under the bar.  Citizens of Wyoming slapped their foreheads in unison as their state board of education became the first state to reject the Next Generation Science Standards.  C’mon, Wyoming, even Kansas adopted the standards!  How could they vote to adopt the NGSS when a) the standards include the scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change and b) Wyoming is a major coal producing state?  Oh right, because we should teach our students the scientific consensus in science class, no matter how inconvenient the evidence may be.  My favorite gem from the AP article:

“I think those concepts should be taught in science; I just think they should be taught as theory and not as scientific fact,” state Rep. Matt Teeters, R-Lingle, said.

Maybe if Rep. Teeters had had a proper science education, he would know that a theory is a concept in science that is used to explain why something happens, is supported by evidence, and can be used to make predictions.  So, I say “EXACTLY!,” the anthropogenic theory for climate change does explain why the climate is changing at an alarming rate.

Last week, we linked to a tweet Louis C.K. posted about the Common Core State Standards, which added fuel to the ongoing debate over the CCSS.  This week, Diane Ravitch supported C.K. in a column at  And from the other end, at Educationnext, Michael Petrilli argues that the standards won’t do enough to change the ability of students to achieve at the next level.

Finally, for those out there attending lectures with your handy-dandy laptop, old-school might be better.  New research suggests that taking notes on paper and pen forces students to process information, rather than devoting their L33T typing skillzzzz to transcribing everything the lecturer is saying.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, especially the mother of my daughter: love you!

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Keith is a high school Chemistry and Biology teacher for an urban public school district in an area of the country where pants are called “britches.” Though he has a degree in Percussion Performance, he teaches science because he thinks that a well honed skeptical toolbox is necessary for a more informed citizenry and a more just and prosperous society. When he’s not in the classroom, he spends all his time with his wife and two children, attempting to become the first person in the world to be both a perfect husband and father.

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