The Vernal and St. George science standards meetings have passed, but you can still attend the Provo, North Logan, and Salt Lake City meetings. The Utah State Office of Education (USOE) has set them up for parents and teachers to give input or to question the adoption of common, national standards for science for Utah.
Here are the remaining dates and addresses. Please come! You don’t have to be a scientist. You just have to care about defending principles of academic honesty, academic freedom, and preserving our students’ right to debate and discover truth, unfettered to a politically slanted set of science standards.
Wednesday, May 6
Provo School District Office
Location: Professional Development Center
280 West 940 North
Provo, Utah 84604
Wednesday, May 13
Cache County School District Office
Location: Professional Development Center
2063 North 1200 East
North Logan, Utah 84341
Tuesday, May 19
Salt Lake Center for Science Education (SLCSE)
Location: The Media Center
1400 Goodwin Avenue
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116
For a long time, the USOE was pretending that the revisions of Utah’s science standards were not the national, common science standards, (Next-Generation Science Standards or NGSS) and were saying that these new standards were just a revision. Now USOE admits this is actually NGSS, which is created by the same businessmen (at Achieve, Inc.) that wrote Common Core standards for English and math. USOE is defending the upcoming adoption, a facade-dropping that might have something to do with the fact that at least two parents who served on the committee to review Utah’s science standards, Alisa Ellis and Vincent Newberg, have spoken out and have exposed Utah’s adoption of NGSS.
This week, Alisa Ellis posted the following chart, showing that Utah’s “new, revised” science core is the exact same thing as the NGSS standards, word for word, but with renumbering. Vincent has pointed out that the NGSS standards are extremely biased and politically slanted, with “climate change” being presented over fifty times while electricity is mentioned once; with Darwinism presented as if it were settled science while life sciences like in-depth cell structure study, the human respiratory system, and other basic biology concepts being pushed aside in favor of the politicized environmental agenda.
If nobody shows up, speaks up, or posts comments at the USOE’s public comment site (only good for 90 days) then they’ll push forward with this agenda. Please show up and speak up.
After you leave your comments at the USOE’s survey monkey, please copy and paste your comments into an email for the local and state school boards. State email: Board@schools.utah.gov
Alisa Ellis also gave me permission to post her letter here, which went to the state school board. I appreciate her insistence that Mr. Scott, the USOE and the State Board cease censoring public comment. This censorship of the public happened when the public was asked to give comment about the English and math common standards by the Governor last year (two and a half years after Utah had adopted Common Core).
Only standards-specific comments were admitted! This ridiculous censoring practice pretends there are no problems with national standards outside their content. But there are two huge prongs to the pitchfork: content, and control. Trying to limit public comment to content-only issues just ignores the big problem of loss of local control and academic liberty.
Letter from Alisa Ellis:
State Board Members,
I’m writing to encourage you all to attend one of the 4 remaining science meetings that are being held around the state. I was very disappointed to hear that not one elected official was at the meeting in St. George last week. After one mom in attendance wrote to her local school board expressing her disappointment that they weren’t in attendance, a board member told her that they had no idea the meeting was taking place. This is the same story we’re finding across the state.
While it is your job to set the standards, the local boards will have to implement them. Notice should be sent to each local board in the state inviting them to these meetings. I already covered Uintah, Daggett and Duchesne for you.
After enduring years of pushback by citizens that are in-part frustrated by the lack of discussion with parents prior to adoption of Common Core, I expected to see these meetings advertised far and wide to get as many people there as possible. Each district has systems capable of calling or email every parent in the district. Why aren’t these systems being utilized? I sit in disbelief that I, a parent, have to ask friends to help me advertise, email local boards, get on the radio, etc to draw attendance to these meetings. It’s unbelievable. Please stop doing the bare minimum in advertising these events. It doesn’t have to cost money to get the word out.
It is also reprehensible the first meeting was only announced 2 days before.
According to the UT constitution it is the board’s job not the staff of the USOE to set standards. That means the responsibility lies on your heads. I’m tired of the the staff being the ones that shield the elected officials from those that elect them. By not attending these meetings and only listening to Ricky Scott’s report, you will be getting a sanitized/ censored version of public feedback.
Mr. Scott informed attendees that he would only be taking specific criticism and when given specific feedback he didn’t agree with, the citizens felt ignored. I understand the desire by the staff to keep the discussion focused on specific problems with the standards, but that is not the only complaint the public has. As elected officials you don’t get to tell us what we’re allowed to be concerned about. While important, it leaves no room for philosophical complaints. For instance, I see many, many problems with the specific standards but I also 100% do not agree with using a national standard, whether federal or private industry; it is not in line with my vision of education. Children should not be standardized.
Please take some initiative and stop the censoring of comments, unless they disparage individuals by name, or use foul language, etc.
Fordham Institute rated Utah’s science standards as being higher than the NGSS. So why is the USOE pushing so hard to adopt NGSS?
The biggest and ugliest answer may be that although Utah’s SAGE test, written by American Institutes for Research, already aligns to common core math and English, it doesn’t align with common science standards yet. Since Utah’s AIR/SAGE test is not (for science) yet aligned to the federally synchronized SBAC and PARCC tests, student scores cannot be understood by the overlords in their federal, common Edfacts Data Exchange lens. So the feds are most likely pressuring the USOE to align.
The question is, will parents and teachers just be too busy; will they just roll over; will they let someone else worry about it? Or will they stand up and say no?
Once lost, these freedoms don’t come back.
This video documents the deception history of the USOE and its false promises to legislators to NOT adopt nationalized science standards: