Common Core Science Standards Arrive in Utah This Week: 90 Day Comment Period Announced   7 comments

politics of science 10


Utah’s State Office of Education appears to be, once again, quite secretively rubber-stamping controversial and politically loaded national standards and calling them Utah’s own standards– this time, for science.

The English and math deception happened a few years ago when the USOE did the same thing with the adoption of Common Core’s math and English national standards, calling them “Utah Core Standards”.

This week, when the Utah State School Board meets, it will discuss statewide changes to science standards.  They do not openly admit that in fact the Utah draft mirrors the controversial NGSS standards.  In fact, the official statement from the State Office of Education states nothing about Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) but the new “Utah” science standards drafts have now been exposed as the very same as the NGSS Standards– by multiple parents who serve on the Utah parent committee for science standards.

Vincent Newmeyer, one of the parents who serves on the parent committee, has given permission to share his response to the revised standards.  He says that he is alarmed at the errors and unfitness of these standards for Utah students as well as the deceptiveness of the rewriting committee.

He explains that the Utah rewriting committee appears to be attempting to hide, by renumbering or rearranging, the truth that the new Utah standards are just NGSS standards.  He notes:

“Utah’s science standards rewriting committee has removed all but the performance expectations [from national NGSS] and renumbered them.  A few performance expectation sequences have been rearranged  and one new NGSS standard was inserted.  The Performance Expectations are essentially identical to what they were in the previous draft.  Again, in the introductory material it is still claimed to be Utah grown standards, perhaps because Brett Moulding from Utah is the chair of the NGSS writing committee.  These performance expectations as prepared are only one word different from the published NGSS Performance Expectations –yet again there is no attribution to NGSS.”

He points to the NGSS national science standards guidelines which state:  “States… that have adopted or are in the process of adopting the NGSS in whole shall be exempt from this Attribution and Copyright notice provision of this license.”  Newmeyer points out that Utah is either in the process of adopting national science standards in whole, or are infringing on copyright.  –So, which is it?

Newmeyer goes on: “Though we are just looking at grades 6-8, it is inconceivable that our state would adopt 6-8 (even if slightly modified) and then settle on a totally different standard for other grades, especially when you consider the desire to have a cohesive and progressively building program.  So in fact we are not just looking at grades 6-8.  We are laying a precedent for the adoption of NGSS for all grades with additional material not even considered.”

Why must we as parents, teachers and scientists, oppose it?

1.  Control.   Our state loses local control of teaching students what we accept as scientifically important and true, when we adopt NGSS standards rather than using standards we have researched and studied and compiled on our own.  We further lose control when we then test students using these national science standards that are aligned to the philosophies (and data mining structures) of the federal agenda.

2.  Content.  Vincent Newmeyer explains that some of the standards are based on recognized fallacies, and others on controversial assumptions.  Failing to properly research and vet these standards publically is unethical and unscientific.

For example, Newmeyer asks us to look at “the newly renumbered but present all along standard number 7.2.2 : “Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities  in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.”  This leads students to favor the Darwinian Evolutionary view –which has solid counterpoints arguing precisely the opposite view.  Newmeyer explains that although it is true that we can find similarities in embryos, still “if studied in detail we find differences that completely undermine the whole premise of why they inserted this performance expectation.  In the standard they are not looking at the differences.”

Even those who actively defend the Darwinian view of common ancestry who have looked at the data see the weakness of the argument, says Newmeyer.  He questions why we want to teach it in Utah as if it were settled science.  There are also standards that promote the controversial global warming paradigm, and there are other content problems in the NGSS standards.

Utah’s already using the standardized test developed by American Institutes for Research (SAGE) which includes science, English and math standards aligned to the nationally pushed agenda.  So the USOE is not going to want to go in another direction.  But it must.  If enough parents, teachers and scientists pelter the Utah State School Board and Utah State Office of Education and legislature with firm “NO to NGSS” emails, phone calls and personal visits, they can’t get away with this like they did with Common Core.

A few months ago, a concerned Utah State School Board member contacted every single one of the science teachers who were in her constituency district, asking them how they felt about NGSS.  She reported that every single one of them said that they wanted to keep Utah’s current science standards and they rejected NGSS.  Every  last teacher.

South Carolina rejected the national science standards.  So did Wyoming.  Kansas is fighting a law suit about it.  Are we going to do nothing in Utah to defend scientific objectivity and neutrality, not to mention defending the power and right to local control?

There will be a 90-day comment period.  You can also attend and speak up (2 min max) at the state school board meetings if you request time in advance.  Please participate.

Also, please share your passion with your legislators.  Find your representatives here or click here for the state school board’s email address and all of the Utah senators and representatives.


7 responses to “Common Core Science Standards Arrive in Utah This Week: 90 Day Comment Period Announced

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. “Our state loses local control of teaching students what we accept as scientifically important and true, when we adopt NGSS standards rather than using standards we have researched and studied and compiled on our own”
    – Did you mean that the church loses the control ? It’s enough that a certain church funded university does not support evolution, but to deny it for all of our public school students is just wrong.

    I do agree with the part that it has been a secretive process. I am an educator and there has been absolutely no input asked from us. You cannot find the documents they are discussing anywhere online and USOE gives you just a deadline without any documentation. I have talked to people who have been involved in the writing process and they are not allowed to give out any information. It is crazy to think that grades 6 – 8 are supposed to adopt the standards next year and there is no resources or information out there for the teachers.

  2. Utah Teacher, no she did not mean that “the church loses the control”. There is no religion in Utah that controls the content of what is or what is not taught in our public schools. As for a church’s own private university, they own and operate it, therefore they have the right to not support certain theories that a Christian church would not believe in. As a parent, I personally do not want my own children to be taught evolution in public school because I cannot trust public schools to teach it correctly to my children.

    Homeschooling Parent
  3. Vincent’s point was that Darwinism and global warming and other theories are being promoted as if they were scientifically important and true, while they are politically and intellectually controversial theories, not facts. His point is that public schools should teach neutral, objective and proven science, not theories as facts. 🙂

    • “His point is that public schools should teach neutral, objective and proven science, not theories as facts.”
      Supporting this notion shows you really don’t understand what you are talking about.
      The overwhelming bulk of amassed scientific knowledge has not been or ever will be “proven”, they are theories.
      Theories that have survived ALL the numerous challenges, sometimes extending into years, decades, or longer.
      Maybe an English teacher isn’t the best source for an opinion on science?

      I choose to remain anonymous
  4. Not only do we lose control by adopting these standards but these standards are very poorly written as they promote process over content in every science area. Students are only learn fragments of information to answer each root question. There is no coherent whole of ideas and little linking of ideas. It takes a great deal of specific science content knowledge to engage in scientific processes. It seems only fragments of content knowledge are included in the ideas section of the NGSS; one word topics like motion, energy, organisms. What specifically are our children supposed to know in each grade? How do we asses these processes over content? Bring up the California standards and compare their clearly written content ideas to the list of processes in the NGSS. We need standards that contain a clear outline of content, which when masted allows students to engage in scientific processes. This specific content is easily taught, understood by students and parents and easily assessed. How do you effectively teach or asses; 7.5.5: Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

    Any comparison of the NGSS standards to California science standards shows how far off base NGSS are when using correct principles to educate children.
    the NGSS are nothing incorrectly written garbage.

  5. Pingback: Please Show Up to Push Back on Science Standards at Statewide USOE Meetings Starting TOMORROW | COMMON CORE

  6. lap trinh iOS

Comments are welcome here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: