Episode 1112 | THE LINE: Department Of Education Considers Changes To Science Teaching Standards


>>WELCOME BACK TO THE LINE
TABLE. THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
SET OFF A FIRE STORM THIS WEEK BY PROPOSING CHANGES TO
SCIENCE TEACHING STANDARDS. THOSE STANDARDS HAVEN’T BEEN
MODIFIED IN 15 YEARS, BUT CRITICS SAY THOSE PROPOSED
CHANGES ARE POLITICALLY MOTIVATED. DIANE SOME OF THE CHANGES
INCLUDE PHRASES LIKE A RISE IN GLOBAL TEMPERATURES TO
TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATIONS, OR, THE PROCESS OF EVOLUTION WILL
BECOME BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, BUT THE ONE I WANT TO START
WITH IS THE AGE OF PLANET EARTH ITSELF THAT SCIENCE SAYS
SORT OF FIGURED OUT 4.6, YOU KNOW, BILLION YEARS BUT IT IS
NOW NOT OLD SOMEHOW. THAT HAS BEEN STRUCK FROM THE
WORDING AS WELL. HOW DID THIS HIT YOU WHEN YOU
SEE THIS?>>I AM ABSOLUTELY ASTONISHED
ABOUT THIS WHOLE PROCESS OF THE WHOLE STORY. TO ME SCIENCE, PARTICULARLY,
IS WHERE YOU PRESENT ALL THE FACTS. YOU DON’T CHANGE THE FACTS TO
MEET YOUR PREFERENCE. AND, I KNOW THAT HAS HAPPENED
THROUGH THE YEARS, PEOPLE WRITE HISTORY BOOKS AND WE
CERTAINLY CHANGE HISTORY A GREAT DEAL, BUT THE POINT OF
SCIENCE EDUCATION AND EDUCATION IN GENERAL SHOULD BE
TEACHING YOUNG PEOPLE HOW TO THINK AND EVALUATE. GIVE THEM ALL THE FACTS. KIDS ARE SMARTER THAN YOU
THINK. WE OUGHT TO GIVE THEM
EVERYTHING THAT IS THERE AND I LIKE THE IDEA OF PREPARING
THEM, THIS NEXT GENERATION, SCIENCE STANDARD, PREPARING
THEM FOR THE FUTURE THAT WE HAVE, THE CURRENT PRESENT AND
FUTURE BECAUSE ECONOMICS — WE ARE MOVING IN THE DIRECTION OF
SCIENCE ENGINEERING. WE NEED TO BE EQUIPPING OUR
CHILDREN THE VERY BEST WE CAN. AND THE OTHER POINT THAT
CONCERNS ME A GREAT DEAL ABOUT THIS IS THE MESSAGE WE ARE
SENDING SO FAR AS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. WE JUST MADE A BIG TO-DO ABOUT
BRINGING AMAZON TO NEW MEXICO. AND HE IS A VERY STRONG
ADVOCATE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARD
AND SO WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE ARE WE SENDING ABOUT HOW WE
ARE GOING TO TRAIN OUR CHILDREN FOR THE FUTURE?>>CAN YOU PICK UP ON THAT? WE ARE A SCIENCE STATE.>>EARLIER THIS YEAR, I WENT
TO THE MARCH FOR SCIENCE DOWNTOWN IN ALBUQUERQUE AND IT
REALLY STRUCK ME AS HOW MUCH OUR STATE IS GROUNDED IN
SCIENCE. THERE WERE PEOPLE THERE
FROM — OF ALL DIFFERENT POLITICAL STRIPES, FROM
SANDIA, LOS ALAMOS, FROM ENGINEERS, PHYSICISTS, NUCLEAR
FOLKS, AND, YOU KNOW, TO HAVE OUR SCIENCE STANDARD DUMBED
DOWN IN THE FACE OF OUR CULTURE HERE, OUR SCIENTIFIC
CULTURE HERE, IS PRETTY ASTOUNDING AND ALREADY I THINK
THE LOS ALAMOS FOUNDATION HAS EXPRESSED OUTRAGE. SCIENCE TEACHERS ARE IN
DISBELIEF. IT IS LIKE, YOU KNOW, THE FLAT
EARTHERS HAVE COME BACK AND –>>WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE
IDEA THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IN PARTICULAR, THE WORDING HAS
BEEN KIND OF MUCKED AROUND WITH, FOR WHAT? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOU.>>I AM LESS SURPRISED AT
THAT, THAN I AM AT THE AGE OF THE EARTH AND THE DISPUTING
EVOLUTION. I MEAN, THOSE ARE THINGS THAT
WERE SUBJECT OF THE SCOPES TRIAL BACK IN THE 1920’S AND
THERE REALLY IS ONLY A PRETTY SMALL PROPORTION OF PEOPLE
THAT BELIEVE THOSE THINGS ARE BASED IN EVIDENCE. YOU KNOW. THAT IS WHAT I THINK OF NEW
MEXICO AND THE RELEVANCE OF OUR SCIENTIFIC HERITAGE HERE,
THAT IS WE BELIEVE IN EVIDENCE. WE BELIEVE IN FACTS. WE ALSO BELIEVE IN DIVERSITY
OF OPINION BUT WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, YOU KNOW, SCIENCE
IS THE BOTTOM LINE AND OBVIOUSLY IT IS NOT FOR THIS
ADMINISTRATION, BUT, THAT HAS VERY GRAVE IMPLICATIONS FOR
OUR STUDENTS BEYOND SCIENCE. AND THAT IS, AS DIANE
MENTIONED, THE ABILITY TO THINK CRITICALLY, THE ABILITY
TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN FACT AND OPINION. AND I THINK WE ARE SEEING THAT
BLEED OVER INTO PEOPLES’ ABILITY TO BE GOOD CITIZENS AS
WELL AS GOOD STUDENTS OR GOOD SCIENTISTS.>>DANIEL, THE IDEA OF GETTING
POLITICS IN EDUCATION, POLITICS HAS ALWAYS BEEN IN
EDUCATION. NONE OF US HERE AT THE TABLE
ARE NAIVE ON THAT POINT, BUT IS THERE A LINE CROSSED ON
THIS OR IS THIS SIMPLY FLEXIBILITY ON ALLOWING
STUDENTS TO KIND OF GET BOTH SIDES OF SOMETHING AND BE GOOD
STUDENTS, HASH IT OUT FOR THEMSELVES, THAT KIND OF
THING?>>END OF THE DAY WE HAVEN’T
LOOKED AT WORKING WITH THIS SCIENCE AND MATH STUFF FOR 15
PLUS YEARS AND SO THEY ARE MAKING A MOVE TO HAVE THIS
CONVERSATION ABOUT WHAT IT SHOULD BE, YOU KNOW, THE REAL
THING. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE
STATE SAYS THEY ARE TEACHING, THE TEACHER IN THE CLASSROOM,
YOU KNOW, TEACHERS IN THE CLASSROOM BRING THE
CONVERSATION FULL CIRCLE, HAVE THESE CONVERSATIONS, YOU KNOW,
DO I THINK WE SHOULD BE WIPING AWAY THE FACT THAT WE’RE —
THAT THE EARTH IS FOUR BILLION YEARS OLD VERSUS THE EARTH IS
WHATEVER SOMEONE ELSE SAYS IT IS, I THINK IT IS A MODEL FOR
THE CONVERSATION. I DO THINK WHAT IS INTERESTING
IS THAT WHAT WE ARE SEEING IS WHEN IT COMES TO THE CLIMATE
CHANGE AND THINGS LIKE THAT YOU KNOW, IT IS A NEW
RELIGION, IT IS EITHER LOOK, YOU 100% BELIEVE THE WORLD IS
COMING TO END AND IT IS AT HUMAN HANDS AND GLOBAL WARMING
IS THE PROBLEM AND THAT IS WHAT WE SHOULD HARP ON
EVERYBODY ABOUT OR THE PEOPLE THAT THINK, HEY, CYCLICAL THIS
IS WHAT HAPPENS AND FLUCTUATES, THEY LOST THEIR
MIND. AT THE END OF THE DAY, I THINK
CREATING AN ATMOSPHERE FOR THE KIDS TO HAVE THE CONVERSATION,
TEACHERS HAVE THE ABILITY TO INPUT AND HAVE THESE
CONVERSATIONS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, REGARDLESS WHAT
THEY CHANGE THE SCIENCE STANDARD TO, YOU ARE ABLE TO
BRING IN, JUST LIKE WE HEAR WITH HISTORY AND EVERYTHING
ELSE, YOU BRING THE TOPICS TO THE TABLE TO HAVE THE
CONVERSATION AND YOU ENTICE THE KIDS TO LEARN AND FIGURE
OUT AND DISCUSS. AT THE END OF THE DAY, WHAT
YOU’RE SEEING IS POLITICALLY DRIVEN THAN IT IS
EDUCATIONALLY DRIVEN.>>AGAIN, I ASK THE SAME
QUESTION, HAS A LINE BEEN CROSSED FOR YOU ON THAT?>>NO, I THINK IT IS POLITICAL
BY BOTH SIDES, FOR EXAMPLE EVERYBODY IS MORE ENGAGED IN
THE POLITICAL SIDE OF THIS.>>SO, SOPHIE, THE IDEA AGAIN
THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS A DEBATABLE SUBJECT. CERTAINLY, DAN AND WHAT HE
REPRESENTS HIS DUE, CERTAINLY, BUT WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT THE 10
HOTTEST YEARS IN RECORD HAVE COME SINCE 1998 AND WE ARE NOW
IN THIRD YEAR IN A ROW OF RECORD TEMPERATURES IN THIRD
YEAR THAT HAS JUST HAPPENED, IT IS A HARD SELL, ISN’T IT,
TO SAY SOMETHING IS NOT GOING ON HERE AND IT IS JUST ABOUT
FLUCTUATION.>>I TAKE EXCEPTION TO DAN’S
CHARACTERIZATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE AS A RELIGION. IT IS A FACT BASED INQUIRY AND
IT REMINDS ME — THIS DISCUSSION REMINDS ME OF ONE
OF MY FAVORITE PIECES IN THE ONION WHICH IS A SATIRICAL
WEBSITE AND NEWSPAPER. THIS PHOTO AND HEADLINE SAYS,
CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST PHARMACIST NOT REQUIRED TO FILL ANY
PRESCRIPTIONS, AND IT FEELS TO ME WITH THIS SET OF STANDARDS,
THAT ESSENTIALLY WHAT THEY ARE SAYING IS NONBELIEVING
SCIENTISTS, LIKE SOMEBODY WHO IS A SCIENCE TEACHER, IS NOT
REQUIRED TO TEACH SCIENCE. THAT IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO
ME. I CAN MAKE THE CHOICE BASED ON
LOCAL STANDARDS, I WANT TO SAY THE EARTH IS 6,000 YEARS OLD. I AM GOING TO SAY EVOLUTION
DOESN’T EXIST BECAUSE I AM ALLOWED TO BASED ON THESE
STANDARDS. IN FACT, IT MAY EVEN BE
MANDATED BECAUSE OF THE TENOR OF MY COMMUNITY. WE SHOULDN’T BE IN A POSITION
WHERE WE ARE SAYING, A SCIENCE TEACHER DOES NOT HAVE TO TEACH
ACTUAL SCIENCE. THAT SEEMS EXTREMELY SHORT
SIGHTED. AND, TO SAY, OH, THIS IS ABOUT
COMMUNITY STANDARDS, THAT IS NICE THAT YOUR COMMUNITY OR
PORTIONS OF YOUR COMMUNITY MAY FEEL THAT IT IS OKAY TO TEACH
THINGS THAT ARE NOT SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE BUT IT
KEEPS YOUR STUDENTS FROM COMPETING IN THE STATE
MARKETPLACE, NATIONAL MARKETPLACE, THE GLOBAL
MARKETPLACE AND HOLDS US BACK AS A STATE.>>AND THAT IS WHERE WE ARE
COMPETING IS IN THE INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE. EDUCATION DEPARTMENT IS
COLLECTING PUBLIC OPINION ON THESE PROPOSED CHANGES THROUGH
THE MIDDLE OF OCTOBER. HEAD TO NEWMEXICOINFOCUS.ORG
TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN WEIGH IN ON THE ISSUE.

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