Think Progress reports that the Kentucky legislature’s Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee voted 5-1 on Wednesday to reject the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) saying that the plan was “deficient” meaning that it includes real science, topics such as Evolution and Climate Change.
The Governor, Democrat Steve Beshear, immediately announced that he would implement the standards “under his own authority” drawing criticism from the Education Committee’s chairman Mike Wilson who said that the standards include too many “troubling assumptions” concerning climate change and evolution. Translation, they do not jibe with what he chooses to believe. He cites a statement by the committee which devised the standards saying, “human activities, such as release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature” and “outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend of the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year.”
The Governor’s action ensures that the standards will be in effect at least until the first of the year when he may still have to step in and use his veto authority to prevent the provisions from being gutted by the legislature. It will be a long hard fight to keep the standards in place and make sure that the children of Kentucky receive an education which has a foundation in fact and not religious dogma.
Lisa Hoyos, co-founder and Director of Climate Parents, a group which has been very vocal in its support of NGSS, said her group is grateful for the Governor’s support and vows to continue to fight for it. Of climate change she has said, “A very small percentage of kids are actually receiving climate change education in their public school experience, and at the same time climate change is clearly something that is going to affect every child not even over the course of their lifetime but in their immediate future. We need to prepare our kids to build a low-carbon economy and they need to know the basics about climate change in order to do that.”
TEApublicans in the legislature with backing from religious and family groups have been fighting against NGSS since the topic was first raised and have vowed to fight on. The objections are, of course mainly based on their religious beliefs which as far as they are concerned, trump the findings of any scientific investigation.
These standards were devised by a panel of 18 scientists who are widely known and respected both nationally and internationally and include practicing scientists and Nobel Laureates along with cognitive scientists and science education researchers as well as science education researchers and standards and policy experts. It is strictly voluntary and has been approved only by five states so far, California, Vermont, Maryland, Kansas and Rhode Island. It is the first major overhaul of science education standards in more than a decade.
For the sake of the children of Kentucky we should all be hoping that the Governor and Climate Parents win on this one. We already have Texas doing all it can to degrade education and teach nothing in science class except for religion masquerading as science.
For an interesting perspective on this debate, watch “Intelligent Design” by The Thinking Atheist: