Alisa Ellis, parent member of Utah’s Science Standards Review Committee, is calling for an immediate stop to:
1- the USOE’s public comment survey –because USOE has only allowed the public and the parent review committee to see a sterilized, watered down version, rather than a true, full version of the common science standards and appendices that teachers will be using– yet USOE is asking the public to comment in this blind manner;
2- the USOE’s statewide tour, aimed to give parents the impression that they have been given full disclosure of the new science standards. Since the science standards that the public is being shown, upon which the public has been asked to comment, are not the same as the standards that teachers are to be using, nor the same as the standards upon which the parent review committee was asked to work, this tour to present the standards is at best, partially truthful and at worst, a deliberate deception.)
Here’s Alisa’s letter to the state school board:
The public comment period of the proposed science standards needs to stop immediately and be restarted with the correct document. Mr. Scott admitted on Tuesday night that the teachers will not be presented with the draft of standards that the public is being asked to review but with the full version from Achieve’s Next Generation Science Standards. I don’t believe this review falls within the provisions of the law. The law does not say, “present the public with the watered down version because it would be “too overwhelming” for them to see the full version”. This is what was suggested was the reason for not presenting the public with the full version.
The NGSS have many things included besides simply the performance expectations. The full version has clarification statements, assessment boundaries; the full NRC framework with all the cross-walking to the Common Core standards and appendices. It is my right as a parent and citizen to be shown exactly what will be taught to my children.. This is both according to federal law and state law.
Therefore it is my recommendation that the public review period ceases immediately. It is apparent that the power structure is willing to do whatever it takes to push forth their agenda so I would also recommend starting fresh with a new writing and lead team.
Also, board member Dixie Allen claimed at the meeting in Vernal that the standards committee knew all along that the Next Generation Science Standards were being used. Mr. Scott also claimed that the draft given to the parent review committee, of which I am a member, was presented with a draft that cited the NGSS and NRC framework. This is not accurate. I have the copy in front of me and there is no mention of the NGSS standards. In fact, Sarah Young, at our first meeting proudly talked of all the hard work the writing team was putting into writing these “UT science standards” when in fact they were simply reorganizing the format and order of the national science standards.
This board has the desire to improve public relations, but with the deceptive and dishonest way things are presented I worry the gap in public trust is growing wider and wider. Also, as the state office of ed is currently facing a lawsuit for the lack of parental involvement surrounding the adoption of Common Core it would behoove the board to put a stop to the deceptive manner information is fed to the public.
Also, in the Vernal meeting Mr. Scott revealed that the writing team which he renamed the “organizing team” was given 6 sets of standards to pick from.
- I am formally requesting the names and titles of the individuals that chose the sets of standards the committee was allowed to choose from.
- I am requesting the six sets of standards offered the committee
- I am requesting the names and titles of every member of the writing/organizing team (I asked for this last fall)
- I am requesting all correspondence between the above requested individuals with staff and board members.
I also became aware today of an implementation guide published by ACHIEVE for the 6-8 grade standards. Here is an excerpt:
- Therefore, I am also formally requesting all minutes from meetings and discussions, both with board members and without, surrounding the revision of science standards.
- There were cameras present at the December review committee meeting held at the State Capitol. I am requesting a copy of all raw video.
As these requests will benefit the public at large, I am requesting all fees be waived and the process be expedited. I understand that correspondence between individuals will take longer than some of the other requests, I would like to see the committee names and standards immediately while the other information is being gathered.
Further, there was an attempt at the meeting this week to prevent recording of the meeting which would be in direct violation of open meeting laws. There was also an attempt to suggest committee members identities were to be kept private, which is also a direct violation of open meeting laws. Please do everything in your power to stop this practice.
This 7 minute video explains the deception using audio from legislative meetings and board retreats.
This video from the Vernal USOE science standards meeting below shows Mr. Ricky Scott of the USOE with Alisa Ellis asking questions about why the board refused to show the real standards to parents, citing “not overwhelming” parents as a reason for the lack of transparency.
Please support Alisa’s call for honesty and integrity in the process of setting Utah’s academic standards. Contact the state school board members today, asking for a full disclosure of the actual science standards to the public and an immediate ceasing of the tour and public comment survey as it stands. Include a copy of your letter to your local school board and to your elected representatives in the legislature. Find your senator or representative here.
Appointed Board Members:
3261 Twin Peaks Drive
Layton, UT 84040
526 South 170 West
Springville, UT 84663