They Came and They Spoke!
Citizens Voice Disapproval of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Because Idaho State Representative Heather Scott is doing the fine job for which she was elected, her constituents were informed by her and spread the word, with a two day notice, with several people even driving over eight hours from South Idaho, and showing up on Veteran’s Day for a public hearing in Coeur d’Alene by the Idaho Department of Education on proposed new standards, named the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
In spite of the short notice for a morning meeting on Veteran’s Day the turnout was impressive with most of the attendees reading written statements presented to Porita Flynn, executive assistant, to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. As per the department’s rules, no discussion was permitted, only written statements which Ms. Flynn accepted and audio recorded to be put into a report for the Education Committee of both the House and Senate.
Vice-chairman of the Senate Education Committee, District 8 Senator Steven Thayn and committee member, District 4 Senator Mary Souza were in attendance. Senator Thayne said that he is neutral on this issue and Senator Souza stated, “Last year our efforts were trying to attack the testing because it was the easiest one to get to. The whole Common Core standards are certainly a question.” Senator Souza mentioned that she believes that new Idaho Superintendent of Public Education Sherri Ybarra wants to do a good job for the citizens of Idaho and is taking this issue seriously.”
When asked if such a meeting was held in south Idaho, Ms. Flynn answered, yes. When asked how many people attended the meeting she answered, none. When asked how the meeting was announced to the public her answer was that it is posted on their website. Now, this reporter is just saying…, how effective is that? In this crazy age of big government wasting the kind of money it does on so much, why can’t a paltry small sum be spent on public newspaper ads for announcing these hearings on such important issues? A must read on our necessary vigilance is our last issue’s article from Representative Scott “Idaho Legislative Update from Rep. Heather Scott.”
Please read Representative Scott’s article in this issue, “Idaho’s Administrative Rules” relevant to this meeting as well as the article from Bob Compton, DVM, PhD, “Common Core and the Upcoming Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)” also in this issue.
Many of the statements read in this hearing were from current and retired teachers: Some of the comments read were:
This is already approved by the Board of Education. • It would be nice to be able to sign up for emails for these meetings. • Can schools let us know about these meetings? • I’m concerned because these standards were developed by the same group that gave us the Common Core standards. • The way Common Core is being taught is very confusing, even parents and teachers don’t understand them. • Are these rules copy-righted? • What happens if teachers don’t like it? • Is it an improvement or a bad thing? • Was independent research done? • Can you provide me any pilot studies that were done to show how these standards are actually going to raise performance and knowledge? • What evidence can you provide that NGSS solved the problems of the previous standards • Can you give us specific examples of how these new standards will improve scientific understanding? • How will our students be better prepared to take college chemistry, biology, etc.? • Has any community reviewed the comments or content of Idaho’s college courses to evaluate if we are going to be better preparing our students? • Was there independent research consulted, if so, when and whom and can we get a link to these presentations? • We have real concerns with the value system. • What kind of fiscal report has been done to determine the cost of implementation? • How much new curriculum, new learning apps, new tests, prep, materials and teacher training will be needed? • How much can be saved by just adding or amending the old standards? Maybe that money could be better spent in classrooms for actual experiments and teacher supplies. • What kind of guarantee do I get to ensure my child or grandchild will be that much better off with these standards than the old ones to do well in college? • How can we justify something that has never been tested? • Pushing these types of huge expensive changes through the rules process is not an ethical way to do the peoples’ work. It seems the only thing the people are involved in is paying the bills. • I encourage the Education Committees to put the brakes on this type of decision making, they were voted in to represent me, not to circumvent me to do the Fed’s bidding. • If a state body such as the Board of Education codifies a scientific principle in their curriculum, then they are giving great weight to that and somebody’s going to make a lot of money out of it. • I can’t see any reason for codifying global warming or global cooling or anything of that nature in any kind of educational process and saying this is the Holy Grail. • There are numerous lawsuits already being filed in court as to the constitutionality implementing NGSS, not to mention the Common Core state standards as a whole. If the NGSS is deemed unconstitutional then the requirement article will need to be revisited and perhaps repealed. • In March of 2014 Wyoming rejected NGSS. • By adopting these standards this year the IDOE will face opposition from multitudes of concerned parents and citizens who do not have the same views on global warming, uses of natural resources and evolution as the NGSS standards • Ever since Jimmy Carter created the DOE in 1980 the quality of our education and our standing in the world has been going down the tube. • I object to holding this meeting on Veterans’ Day. • The state DOE claims that the rules are negotiated, so with whom were they negotiated? • In these new science papers global warming is promoted as fact again and again and again; in science, there is no settled science. There are theories that explain lots of things until they don’t explain something. • Data on global warming models that project are not even accurate enough to even begin to make the claims they are making for it. • The state has a big enough mess with the Common Core that they already adapted so they don’t need a bigger mess now with more stuff that will be going against the wishes of parents of the state. • Exactly why is the NGSS being brought to the Education Committees through the rules process and not through a more transparent process? I feel parents and teachers have been left out of this process. • Why the rush to implement this? • It is inappropriate to put it into rules at this time or anytime, actually. It boils down to indoctrination and we don’t want our education to be indoctrination in Idaho. • The weakness of the documentation regarding the NGSS is glaring. • We are tired of being treated like citizens that are not important and that whoever is running things knows best about how they want to brainwash our children. • I know that this education system of Common Core is being instituted so the state can get federal money which would cause us to sell our souls or we have to reject it. • Kids should hear both sides of issues especially on religion. • It’s unconstitutional. • It’s not religiously neutral. • This is a religion in a sense, answering questions that we really don’t have the answers to. • Many more people would have attended but they could not take time from work and could not travel so far on a weekday morning. This treatment is not only disrespectful but unacceptable. • We don’t even know the entire standards being proposed. • When we are told that our schools are focusing on career and college readiness, it would be very wise to heavily include real world employees and employers in various science fields. • When ELA and math standards have not been rectified, why would we want to hastily expand into more subjects? • The bottom line is that we want it to be true, we want answers and we want to hear the truth. • What is lacking in our current set of science standards? Please be specific, don’t say they need to be updated. • Have the proposed standards been pilot tested, for how long, what was the demographic and what was the metrics used to show improvement or as a baseline to be benchmarked against other states in the country that you feel confident were successful with this particular discipline, and what are those metrics? • What are the pieces that are missing from the current standards? For example the NGSS does not address life systems, specifically body systems or computer science. • Climate change is heavily emphasized but electric circuits are briefly mentioned. • Are these standards developmentally age appropriate? • Will intelligent design be given equal time and fairness next to evolution? Is evolution being taught as a theory or a fact? • More and more is being added and class periods are becoming shorter. This has to stop, laboratory experience cannot be reduced to a sound bite. Experience cannot be reduced to a soundbite. • I continue to support the National Science Education Standards (NSES). These voluntary standards were crafted by professional science teachers and copyrighted in 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. These address more than the narrow academic standards of NGSS. NSES addresses content, process, content, assessments and teaching standards. • Know that it is more politically expedient to pass new standards and then blame students and teachers. This old science teacher says it is time to put a stop to smoke and mirrors. • The only thing I see coming from these standards is more spending for the new curriculum, which we all know isn’t that new. • Unless the conditions for learning and teaching are addressed before the adoption of any new standards, Idaho will continue to see an exodus of great science teachers and money flowing to the corporations profiting off the manufactured crisis in education. • If this board adopts the Next Generation Science Standards out-of-hand, you’re addressing the wrong variables unless, you’re setting good teachers up for failure. • Everything points to engineering failure so Idaho can be populated by charter schools in education privatized and run by investors. • I would ask if the NGSS includes the disputed evidence on Climate Change, see: ‘Former Greenpeace Director Speaks Out on Climate Change,’ ‘Over 31,000 Scientists Sign A Petition Against The Faulty Science of Climate Change,’ including Idaho Scientists, ‘NASA Scientists Dispute Climate Change,’ and ‘The Missing Science from the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change’ from The CATO Institute.‘ • The state of Kansas is involved in a lawsuit now over these standards on First Amendment grounds and Idaho should not have to go through with the expense of the same. The thinking is that if you oppose these standards it is because you are a religious zealot who doesn’t want your child to understand real science • Schools should not able to teach religion, but they should not be able to teach anti-religion either. • We are told that with these new standards our kids will know how to ask questions better, however, if you read all the material you’ll find that the questions our kids will be asking will be limited and directed into a particular world view. • 77% of the population of the U.S. considers themselves Christians. Why is it necessary to prohibit this world view in a science class? Why must any world view be adopted in science class? • Why can’t we just provide for what we know, what we don’t know and teach the scientific method? • We should never, ever try to convince children that science is settled, that there is no room for questioning, that there is only a certain set of appropriate questions. But that is what I see. We are using the cover of science to manipulate the belief and values of our children, not to teach them how to become scientists and understand the world around them. • This is all very strict and rigid and all tied into Common Core. • I don’t see any room for teachers to use their own ingenuity, it’s all funneled into to doing things only one way. • Every student has different ways of learning things, some are hands on and some by reading. • Common Core is just another program like ‘Race to the Top’ and ‘No Child Left Behind’ that doesn’t work. • We need the Education Committees down in Boise to answer all these questions truthfully and then reject NGSS. • 35 of the 44 Central Committees in Idaho voted to oppose Common Core. • All Constitutions in all states, including Idaho, mention God. • I’m concerned about this part here where it talks about the Next Generation Science Standards are religiously neutral, yet they teach foundational materialistic doctrines that are fundamental to atheism, humanism and Buddhism. That disturbs me, they won’t teach about Christianity but they will teach about those things. • Common Core has never been field tested. It has been estimated that it will take 12 years to evaluate how well it is working. • Many states accepted Common Core sight unseen. Kentucky was one of the first t is now considering opting out. Many college professors there are complaining that their students, in math especially, are woefully untrained. • Many students fail Common Core tests because the ‘passing bar’ is set very high. In New York State only 30% of students pass the tests. What happens to those students, and teachers and school districts when the students don’t pass? No one really has said what will happen. • Common Core doesn’t allow for individual circumstances when they either pass or fail. So if a student is not good at taking tests, what is the alternative? • The chief of staff for Arnie Duncan, The Secretary of the Department of Education, wrote, ‘Common Core was intended to create a national market for the book publishers, tech companies, testing companies and others, hence, the money from Bill Gates. • With all the tests on-line schools need to buy more computers, software, bandwidth and only certain books. • There is no agency or organization you can go to fix this. • This should be flexible, I would like Idaho to say ‘This is the kind of state we are and this is the kind of curriculum that will help us in our state. • In regards to math we should be able to use proven math that we grew up on and I know that my professors did pretty well too in learning the way the learned and that’s probably been pretty well evaluated. • My grandchildren have a lot a trouble with math, my granddaughter actually cries over trying to do math, so we are going to homeschool them. • I am a teacher from another state and Common Core is not very easy as a teacher when they throw you into a new curriculum, probably in August, and then you go in and have to teach the students immediately. It’s very difficult. • As science is concerned, I haven’t seen the new curriculums yet, but if we are trying to teach our students to think critically with open minds to whatever is going on in the world trying to teach them things that they respect from the teachers. They think that everything the teacher says is true. • I don’t like the way the Common Core standards were written. They say they are supposed to be more rigorous, that’s a big term that the educators like to use, but looking at the standards and the Kentucky evidence they are not any more rigorous, children are not learning more, they are just being bogged down trying to learn differently. • Specifically, I have not seen with my children and with the school district that the English and math courses of Common Core that are in place have been successful. • I know many parents who have started home schooling and pulled their children out of public education because they do not agree with them and teachers that don’t like teaching them so they have great concerns. • I am personally concerned with the content of these science standards and I don’t believe they are objective truth.
The well written statement from Johanna Gehlker from Rathdrum, gives some in-depth insight to a segment of these, as she says, ‘poorly designed standards:’ “Thank you for the opportunity to voice my concerns. I was fortunate to have a good early science education in my elementary years. I remember learning that science is objective, verifiable and repeatable. I am concerned that the proposed standards do not pass this basic test. One of the larger problems in our society is that science is being politicized and corrupted. This is exacerbated by our methods of funding scientific research. We do our children a disservice by drawing them into this politicized quagmire.
“I have two examples:
- Page 3 W.K.7 ELA/Literacy Idaho Common Core ConnectionsParticipate in a shared research and writing projects (e.g. explore a number of books by a favorite author and express opinions about them (PS1-K-1)This fails the objective test. This standard is for kindergarten aged students, many of whom will still be magical thinkers. They have difficulty at this age from separating fact from fiction. Few children’s books at this developmental age are objective. There is a great potential for anthropomorphized stories to inject political content into these young minds, which they will accept as fact. This is not appropriate. The standards should work to teach the difference between fact and fiction at this developmental age, not murky the waters for impressionable minds.
- Page 65 MS2 I believe this is for middle school aged students.ESS3 A Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform technologies to mitigate their effects.This performance standard fails the verifiable test. It raises the questions of computerized modeling accuracy, data integrity, and statistical inference beyond the scope of middle school math. This standard and accompanying activities promote blind acceptance of graphs, charts and other materials – and blind acceptance is the antithesis of a science. This standard and accompanying learning activities could be easily manipulated by unscrupulous educators to meet political ends. We should be teaching our students to think for themselves – not brainwashing them.
“Science education has a great opportunity to teach children to be logical thinkers, to learn to investigate the world, to question, explore and build for themselves. We should not squander this opportunity by adopting poorly designed standards.” Unquote Johanna Gehlker
In Kentucky, the first state to adopt Common Core, college professors are protesting that it means teaching woefully unprepared students.
Quoting Jane Robbins and Emmett McGoarty in their article ‘College Professors Begin Revolt Against Common Core’ in TheFederalist.com, “It’s been obvious from the beginning of the Common Core scheme that one of many weak links in the enterprise was college professors. What would happen when their classes were flooded with increasingly ill-prepared Common Core-“educated” students? That problem is now becoming apparent, and a professors’ revolt has now begun in Kentucky—the first state to adopt and implement the national curriculum mandates.”
Also, read ‘What Idaho educators are saying about Common Core’ and read about the on-going effort in Kansas to Opt out of Common Core in a lawsuit ‘Kansas Against Common Core.’
On the Climate Change issue that is promoted in these standards here is an important read as stated by the CATO institute in their ‘The Missing Science from the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change:’
“This National Assessment is much closer to pseudoscience than it is to science. It is as explanatory as Sigmund Freud. It clearly believes that virtually everything in our society is tremendously dependent the surface temperature, and, because of that, we are headed towards certain and inescapable destruction, unless we take its advice and decarbonize our economy, pronto. Unfortunately, the Assessment can’t quite tell us how to accomplish that, because no one knows how.
“In the Assessment‘s 1200 horror-studded pages, almost everything that happens in our complex world — sex, birth, disease, death, hunger, and wars, to name a few — is somehow made worse by pernicious emissions of carbon dioxide and the joggling of surface average temperature by a mere two degrees.
“Virtually every chapter in the Assessment perseverates on extreme weather, despite the U.N.s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change statement that:
“There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change
“The Assessment is woefully ignorant of humanity’s ability to adapt and prosper in response to challenges. The quintessence of this is the truly dreadful chapter on human health and climate change.
“While death, disease, poverty and injustice are all conjured by warming, there is not one mention of the fact that life expectancy in the U.S. is approximately twice what it was in the year 1900, or that per-capita income in real dollars is over ten times what it was then. It emphasizes diseases that will somehow spread because of warming, neglecting the fact that many were largely endemic when it was colder and were eradicated as we warmed a bit.
“Further, it conspicuously ignores the fact that doubling the life expectancy of some 200 million Americans who lived in the 20th century is the same as saving 100 million lives. The society that achieved this powered itself on the combustion of fossil fuels. Does this community of experts understand that the number of lives that it effectively saved is orders of magnitude above and beyond it could possibly cost? It seems, given the panoply of horrors due to start pronto, to prefer that we not have emitted carbon dioxide in the first place. Perhaps they ought to look a place that didn’t. Surely part of the $3.5 billion that the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) consumes per year could finance a field trip to Chad, so they can see the world without cheap and abundant energy.
“And what is the purpose of this Assessment? The motto of the USGCRP says it all:
“Thirteen Agencies, One Mission: Empower the Nation with Global Change Science.
“The operative word is “empower,” which is the purpose of the Assessment. It is to provide cover for a massive regulatory intrusion, and concomitant enormous costs in resources and individual liberty. History tells us that when scientists willingly endorse sweeping governmental agendas fueled by dodgy science, bad things soon happen. To borrow the meter of Winston Churchill:
“‘Never in the history of pseudoscientific consensus will so much be done to so many by so few.’” – Unquote from the CATO Institute’s ‘The Missing Science from the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change:’
Summing all this up is my most critical words about what all this is really about. Money. Money on two fronts.
Money for our state: As a state, Idaho cannot find a way around the ‘Otter nonsense’ of accepting the role of a Washington puppet instead of ‘Patrioting Up’ and doing the hard creative work of finding methods to do without the Common Core extortion scheme.
Money for the Climatiers (my word): Al Gore and his ilk in high places globally are poised to make billions on the hoax of Climate Change promoted in these NGSS standards.
It is important that all concerned Idaho citizens on this topic spread the word to others and contact not only their own district’s senators and representatives but particularly contact the members of the two houses’ Education Committees. This most important matter needs to die quickly in the committees, “Otherwise,” as Representative Scott says, “there should be no complaining when the science our children learn is dictated by the United Nations and the International Convention on Climate Change.”
HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE MEMBERS
- Chair Reed DeMordaunt
- Vice Chair Julie VanOrden
- Paul E. Shepherd
- Richard Wills
- Judy Boyle
- Lance Clow
- Terry Gestrin
- Steven Harris
- Ron Mendive
- Patrick McDonald
- Sage Dixon
- Ryan Kerby
- Donna Pence
- Hy Kloc
- Ilana Rubel
Education Committee Office
Public schools, colleges, universities
Daily, am, Room EW41
Secretary: Jean Vance
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE MEMBERS
- Chair Dean M. Mortimer
- Vice Chair Steven P. Thayn
- Bob Nonini
- Jim Patrick
- Mary Souza
- Lori Den Hartog
- Kelly Anthon
- Cherie Buckner-Webb
- Janie Ward-Engelking
Education Committee Office
M, T, W, Th, 3:00 pm, Room WW55
Secretary: LeAnn South