NTF worksheet: stateboardofed10.doc. 5-17.

BACKGROUND. The State Board of Education this fall will vote on new science standards for NE K-12 public schools. The proposed Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are inferior and slanted to the Left. Unfortunately adopted by 14 other states, these standards, like Common Core, impose on states from the national level. The state board recently published its Nebraska’s Standards for Science, a proposal to tie state science standards to NGSS ones.

CRITICISMS. NGSS measures performance, not content standards, relegating the teacher only to guide and oversee projects. Actual knowledge is not an objective. The standards are very low on actual science learning that would support entrance into technology, math, science, or engineering fields. Too few chemistry standards; no study of chemical elements until high school. Traditional classes in biology and chemistry will disappear from high school classes, replaced by general science studies. No study of physics or the human body. No life science concepts, like study of bacteria, viruses, cells, and tissues. Much of the material never on student examinations. Busy teachers unlikely will assiduously teach materials never tested. Evolution is prominent; intelligent design not covered. NGSS math use in science is sparse, and it aligns with the Common Core math standards. Few basic facts about Earth science. Standards do not distinguish historical from experimental science. The science standards do not base on empirical evidence, not tested in any environment. The teaching prompts pupils to accept a political use of science and not follow fundamental principles of scientific inquiry, proposing a theory about nature and testing continually by experimentation. Much eco-radicalism within the curriculum and extracurricular activities, the emphasis on scares and fears, followed by promotion of ideas and guidance for how students should live eco-liberally. Assessment boundaries limit content that bright students can learn.

EVALUATIONS. The prestigious Thomas Fordham Institute reviewed NGSS and rated it 26th by a list of 56 standards, a mediocre “C” rating. Fordham Report authors lament specific content areas underemphasized or missing. The institute stated that drafters omitted much essential learning in chemistry, minerals and rocks, physiology, biochemistry, biochemical genetics, and developmental biology. The term chemical equation missing, as are instructions about how to write these equations. Basic science education is secondary. The Fordham report relates that science education should concentrate on knowledge first, so that students will gain the background information and understanding needed to engage in scientific reasoning and higher level thinking. Content restrictions degrade preparation for college science classes. Upper grade content bases on lower grade content that teachers may not teach. The NGSS never explicitly requires some content in early grades that is then assumed in subsequent standards. Skimpy course work in chemistry and physics could require remedial classes for science majors in college. The confusing presentation of the standards, combined with vague and poorly worded expectations, earns a 1.5 out of 3 for clarity and specificity from the Institute. Key terminology badly defined and inconsistently used. Appendices complex and unwieldy to utilize. Guides to use the standards complicated and confusing. Institute math reviewers found no guidance about specific math used for individual science standards at the high school level and little guidance in middle school. The Institute graded these NGSS standards inferior to standards of 24 states. The American Society of Human Genetics evaluated NGSS materials on genetics and found them very unhelpful for learning, with key concepts and facts missing.

GLOBAL WARMING. NGSS treats man-made climate change as settled science, despite a furious ongoing debate within the scientific community about the actual role that humans play in warming Earth. Global warming is very accentuated, beginning in middle school, taught as fact instead of theory. This, like other NGSS theories, present as from popular consensus, not by logical reasoning from premises presented by observations of the surrounding environment, the usual scientific method. This reasoning undermines science and intentionally politicizes it. NGSS science teaches that human activity is responsible for detrimental climate change and emphasizes actions to “save the earth.” Ken Willard, one of 2 Kansas State Board of Education members who voted against NGSS science standards, accused them of presenting climate change and evolution in dogmatic form, obvious indoctrination in political correctness. 25% of Americans solidly skeptical of global warming, according to a 2012 Gallup poll.

EVOLUTION. Evolution explained as fundamental to understanding life sciences, introduced at kindergarten. NGSS firmly believes that kids must learn about and believe in evolution, with no acknowledgement of the possibility of intelligent design. A 2012 Gallup poll showed that 46% of Americans believe in creationism and that only 15% believe that humans evolved with no Creator assistance.

PROPONENTS. As with Common Core, liberal education interests lobby state education departments and boards of education to adopt NGSS standards. One leading proponent, Rajendra Pachauri, believes the emphasis on kids a top priority for bringing social change, that by sensitizing kids to climate change, it will shame adults to follow. The 2 largest teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, endorse the standards.

OPPONENTS. Resistance from both parents and students grows among states. They see this curriculum, like Common Core, as a federal imposition. Conservatives resent Washington, D.C. bureaucrats influencing what is taught in our neighborhood schools. Adoption of these standards will further erode local control over public schools. A coalition of Kansas parents and taxpayers filed a lawsuit against the Kansas State Board of Education and other state officials to stop the NGSS science standards, alleging that they present evolution as the only way humans came into existence. Wyoming and South Carolina both have officially rejected these standards. Wyoming citizens stated that the standards do not present legitimate scientific critiques of theories about the origins of the universe, fail to present controversial topics objectively, and disproportionately concentrate on negative effects of human activity on the environment. The Heartland Institute faulted NGSS standards that convey criticism of human lifestyles, population growth, and environmental impacts not scientifically justified. Many teachers complain that actions expected of their students to demonstrate competence appear difficult to standardize because of project-based learning.

THE RISK HERE. Nebraska students should learn science in ways that prepare them for employment, good citizenship, and competent learning. The state board NGSS standards issued for perusal contain several items of concern. In 4th Grade, students must obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment (SC. 4.4.2.f, p. 17). In 6th Grade, students must clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century (SC.6.12.4.c) and analyze and interpret data on weather and climate to forecast future catastrophic events (SC.6.12.4.d, p. 23). In 7th Grade, pupils must construct an argument supported by evidence of how increases in human population and per capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems (SC.7.13, 5.c, p. 26). In high school, students must analyze data and the results from global climate models to make evidence-based forecasts of the current rate and scale of global or regional climate changes and their impacts (SC.HS.12.1.b). They must gather and analyze data from models of past and present Earth conditions to recognize patterns in climate change over time and make a projection of future climate trends (SC.HS.12.1.d, p. 40). High schoolers must use a computational representation to illustrate the relationship among Earth systems and the degree to which those relationships are being modified due to human activity (SC.HS.15.4.e, p. 41).

TAKE ACTION NOW. Contact your state board of education member today to vote NO on accepting the discredited NGSS science standards for all NE public schools. Our children in public schools already suffer the infusion of too much leftist and anti-traditional family content in the curricula. Science teaching must concentrate on basic scientific learning and inquiry and not become contaminated by inferior schemes. Email netaxpayers@gmail.com to find your board

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