Hundreds protest proposed changes to NM science curriculum

Oct 18, 2017

By KRQE News 13 and Jackie Kent

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – People have passionate feelings about the Public Education Department’s proposal to change the way science is taught in the state.

Many at a heated public forum in Santa Fe Monday said they worry this is an attack on teaching evolution and climate change while the PED maintained the move is about giving teachers more flexibility.

“This is about an assault on the law between church and state,” one man said during the forum.

More than 100 people had no hesitation laying into the PED’s proposed STEM-Ready Standards, which challenge evolution, climate change and questions the age of the earth.

Educators, students and others expressed concern over what they described as a politically driven, flawed curriculum from an economical and educational standpoint.

“Companies would be unwilling to relocate here,” Los Alamos Public School Board Secretary Ellen Ben-Naim said. “And Los Alamos — we have the National Lab, of course — and I’m worried about scientists even wanting to relocate here and to raise their families.”

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2 comments on “Hundreds protest proposed changes to NM science curriculum

  • Getting hundreds of protesters to a public meeting is a real achievement, I hope they can continue to organise and grow.

    The political reaction has been typical, Secretary Ruszkowski’s response is the normal ‘if we ignore them they might go away’ they all try until they see a political movement with staying power.

    Secretary Ruszkowski doesn’t even try to be convincing, his public statement is merely a banal waste of space:

    “This proposal was created after studying the work of leading states around the country …

    Which states? Why are they the leading states? Why was the new national standard ignored?

    … [The proposal] is designed to create as much flexibility as possible for our local schools …

    Meaningless phrase alert.

    New Mexico’s public education system has made unprecedented progress over the past three years …

    What, no reference to factual evidence? How do we know that’s true unless you give us the facts? What do you mean by progress, progress toward what end?

    Even if that were true, you seem to be saying: ‘Don’t look at what we’re doing, look at what we’ve done’ Buyer beware? What’s that thing they always say that even people pressed for time should remember when buying anything … oh yes: Past performance is no indication of future returns. You were saying …

    … with our students rising to the challenge of more rigorous academic standards in both reading and math

    I thought we were discussing science standards? Red herring, anyone?

    Today represents an important step forward in the state’s comprehensive STEM-Ready agena …

    Hundreds of nay-sayers at a public meeting in a room too small to hold them all versus zero supporters? Call me sceptical.

    … new proposed standards that could replace our current, outdated standards

    You mean like the new national standards that New Mexicans supported and that New Mexican taxpayers funded – those standards? Yes, why not those standards?

    As we move forward together …

    Sorry, KRQE News 13 saw you sanding alone, without a dream in your heart, without a love of your own. No wait, you didn’t even have the guts to turn up and defend the standards yourself did you. Oh dear.

    … rally around a higher bar …

    By whose measure?

    … that will better prepare students for the next generation of job opportunities …

    That’s so bad, it’s not even wrong.

    … and to stop some of the public posturing …

    Yes please Secretary Ruszkowski, if you would be so kind as to stop your posturing and get on with engaging with the electorate, that would be most helpful. You remember, don’t you: Democracy?

    The next phase is the all important work of implementation, and the PED will be laser-focused on what that looks like for our educators and students.

    Ha-ha New Mexican voters! I have my fingers in my ears, I can’t hear you!

    Politics in NM sounds so responsive, so mature, such a model of democracy … NOT.

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  • It looks like the spurious claims of political numb-skulls, to have researched the issues and consulted specialists, has been exposed as nonsense, and the national standards largely reinstated!

    New Mexico’s public education agency announced late Tuesday that it would restore references to evolution, global warming, and the age of the Earth that had been stripped out of the state’s proposed science education standards.
    The reversal comes after an outcry by teachers, scientists, students, and others—the culmination of which was a day-long public hearing on Monday in which scores of people spoke out against the draft standards.

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