Please Audit Utah State Office of Education’s Public Comment Survey   4 comments

After everything scientist and patriot Vince Newmeyer has written, after everything that people in other states have said and done (and sued about) concerning the INSANE  error of adopting national, common science standards; after all the parental uproar here in Utah, still, the USOE is still moving ahead with its bullheaded determination to strip Utah of any local control and align everything we do to federal standards. I am convinced that this is simply because of USOE’s passionate devotion to money –not to children, teachers or education– but to continued federal grant eligibilty.  There is no other logical explanation.
Today is the last day that you can make public comment on Utah’s move to “Utah Science Standards” –standards which are, in fact, national common standards also known as NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards.  See the official NGSS link here.
NGSS standards are beloved of the Obama administration (Obama launched a global warming education initiative recently).   NGSS are politicized and controversial, which Utah’s previous standards were not.  NGSS have been called the anti-science science standards because they minimize the scientific habit of actually questioning settled science, while maximizing “climate change” evangelism as presented by the left wing.
If Utah teachers and parents really wanted common NGSS standards, I would have to put a sock in my mouth and go away.  But the Utah Office of Education (USOE) has underhandedly presented these standards, refusing to admit that they are NGSS (by changing one word here or there) and by calling them “Utah Science Standards”.
The public comment site is RIDICULOUS.  I encourage you to go there tonight and spout off, but beware; they’ve made it hard.  They have almost made it impossible.
Click to make public comment here.  (Deadline today)
Hence my letter today, sent to the auditing department, asking them to sock it to USOE for their dishonesty and sellout of our schools and kids and real science.   Here’s the board’s email address if you feel so inclined to take a stand next to me on this issue.    board@schools.utah.gov    
—————————–
Dear Audit Department of USOE and State Board,
I am writing to ask you to audit the USOE’s public comment survey about the new NGSS/Utah Science standards.
These “standards” are being called “Utah Science Standards” but they are in reality the same as the NGSS, common national science standards.  This fact has been concealed by USOE in its presentations to the public, unfortunately, but it is true.
Today is the last day that the public is invited to comment.
I am certain that very, very few people have commented.    It severely restricts and frames comments.  The micromanaging nature of the survey, which is a narrow, opinion-managing effort, does not allow for true public comment on the entire scope, process, nature and academic quality of the proposed standards.
It limits commenters to specific strands of specific grades and even limits the space for commenting itself!  What if I was a science teacher who wanted to explain in scientific, pedagogic detail, why it’s so wrong to take out most of what we used to teach kids about electricity, for example?  That has happened.  But there’s no space for it on the survey.
But there is more.
  • Nowhere does the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to the fact that these standards are IDENTICAL to the NGSS common, national standards.
  • Nowhere does the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to the fact that these standards are exactly ALIGNED with federally-approved standardized testing.  (This is probably why USOE pushed these narrowed standards so hard; federal cash follows federally-aligned standards for embedded CEDS tags.)
  • Nowhere does the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to narrowing the science survey to only 6th through 8th grades.
  • Nowhere does the survey allow a member of the public to state opposition to the politically slanted nature of a new, extreme interest in environmentalism, materialism, and “climate change”; the survey pretends that the science standards are only about science.
  • Nowhere does the survey allow space for true freedom of expression.
I could go on.
It feels as if this survey was deliberately written to constrain the public to NOT say what they may want to say; as if the survey-data-tally officers wanted to be able to throw out any comments that did brought up the controversies that the creators didn’t want to discuss.
This is certainly an auditing issue.
Millions of dollars will be spent by USOE and the school system to replace Utah’s previous science curricula.  Millions will go to “trainings” for teachers to alter our traditional, time-tested science pedagogy to make it match the new, NGSS, national-federal standards.
Money will be spent (wasted) not just in an excited, misguided grab for the latest and the best, but in a sickeningly politicized, even anti-God, materialism-belief-based, green-evangelized “science” that the USOE pretends is not NGSS.
The dishonest presentation of the 6th to 8th grade science standards to the public as if they were not NGSS is an issue for an audit.  Does honesty matter, or not?
The money that will be spent bases in part on this very survey, will be taken from taxpayers to put Utah on the federally aligned (unconstitutional) curriculum for politicized science, which is an issue for an audit.
For almost four years, many of us (including teachers, like me) have been carefully, sadly following the  activities of the USOE as it has, time and time again, sold out what’s best for Utah’s children, teachers, and future autonomy, for money.  For grant upon grant upon federal grant.
It is sickening.  NGSS alignment is more of the same.
Please audit this public comment survey and let’s insist that USOE be honest.  Have a public comment survey that actually invites full commentary on all aspects of this transformation of our schools.
Audit this survey, and strike it.  Have an honest look at NGSS and ask the public about  moving to national standards for science.
Ask the public to evaluate NGSS, and call it what it really is.  Audit whether it is even legitimate science.  It redefines the concept by dropping the classic scientific model of questioning, basing itself and its unquestionable “facts” on controversial issues with heavy political underpinnings, not on real, actual, open-minded science.
Christel Swasey

4 responses to “Please Audit Utah State Office of Education’s Public Comment Survey

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  1. Here is contact information for individual board members:

    District 1: Terryl Warner*
    623 Anderson Avenue
    Hyrum UT 84319
    435.512.5241
    Terryl.Warner6@gmail.com

    District 2: Spencer F. Stokes*
    4259 Skyline Drive
    Ogden, UT 84403
    801.923.4908
    utahboard2@gmail.com

    District 3: Linda B. Hansen
    5149 Village Wood Drive
    West Valley City, UT 84120
    801.966.5492
    linda.hansen@schools.utah.gov

    District 4: Dave Thomas (First Vice Chair)
    7875 South 2250 East
    South Weber, UT 84405
    801-479-7479
    dthomas@summitcounty.org

    District 5: Laura Belnap*
    845 East 1500 South
    Bountiful, UT 84010
    801.699.7588
    lbelnap@utahonline.org

    District 6: Brittney Cummins*
    4601 Poseidon Drive
    West Valley City, UT 840120
    801.969.5712
    b4cummins@gmail.com

    District 7: Leslie B. Castle*
    2465 St. Mary’s Drive
    Salt Lake City, UT 84108
    801.581.9752
    lesliebrookscastle@gmail.com

    District 8: Jennifer A. Johnson (Second Vice Chair)*
    802 Winchester Street, #100
    Murray, UT 84107
    801.742.1616
    jj@jenniferajohnson.com

    District 9: Joel Wright*
    9102 Silver Lake Drive
    Cedar Hills, UT 84062
    801.426.2120
    joel.wright.uted@gmail.com

    District 10: Dave Crandall (Chair)*
    13464 Saddle Ridge Drive
    Draper, UT 84020
    801.232.0795
    crandall@xmission.com

    District 11: Jefferson Moss*
    1668 Aspen Circle
    Saratoga Springs, UT 84045
    801.916.7386
    jeffersonRmoss@gmail.com

    District 12: Dixie L. Allen
    218 West 5250 North
    Vernal, UT 84078
    435.790.6673
    dixieleeallen@gmail.com

    District 13: Stan Lockhart*
    1413 South 1710 East
    Provo, UT 84606
    801-368-2166
    stanlockhartutah@gmail.com

    District 14: Mark Huntsman
    435 South 700 East
    Fillmore, UT 84631
    435.979.4301
    mhuntsman@sunrise-eng.com

    District 15: Barbara Corry
    1022 Cedar Knolls
    Cedar City, UT 84720
    435.586.3050
    Barbara.corry@schools.utah.gov

  2. Pingback: From Big Think Tanks to Individual Thinkers: “NO” to NGSS Common Science Standards | COMMON CORE

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  4. Pingback: Utah State School Board to Vote on Science: Effects on Local Control, Academic Freedom | COMMON CORE

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