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This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Will Florida science standards be revisited before end of 2011?

A news article says,

After the bruising battle over the new state science standards ended in February, everybody thought the new standards were good to go until 2014. But are they? Maybe not, according to some overlooked wording in one of last spring's major education bills and the opinion of a key legislative staffer.
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SB 1908 requires the state Board of Education to adopt top-notch Next Generation academic standards by the end of 2011. And that apparently includes another set of science standards, because the BOE adopted the latest standards a few months before the bill passed and was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist.
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The Department of Education recently asked an attorney with the Legislature's joint Administrative Procedures Committee for his opinion. And the lawyer, Brian Moore, said the law seems to be clear. "I think they have to adopt everything again," he told the Gradebook this morning.

Does that mean the DOE has to undertake another full-blown, monthslong review of the standards? That's not clear. But SB 1908 says the education commission must submit proposed Next Generation standards to teachers, experts and others for "review and comment." Then they go to the governor, the Senate president and the House speaker at least 21 days before the BOE considers adoption.

If the Florida science standards need to be revisited before the end of 2011, that's good. The following errors need to be eliminated -- these errors were completely overshadowed by the controversy over whether to call evolution a "scientific theory":

(1) -- the statement that evolution is the "fundamental concept underlying all of biology." How can that be true when 13% of respondents in a recent national survey of science teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that an "excellent" biology course could exist that does not mention Darwin or evolution theory at all? Why can't these Darwinist crackpots recognize that there are some areas of biology where evolution is irrelevant?

(2) -- defining "scientific theories" as being "well-supported" and "widely accepted" by definition. For one thing, that definition is incorrect -- there are strong scientific theories and weak scientific theories. Also, state science standards should not define terms -- defining terms should be left to standard dictionaries. Giving non-standard definitions of terms creates confusion.
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4 Comments:

Anonymous dootland said...

Let me see if I have this right: There are 50 states and 50 separate science standards documents for each state, or does that vary by county?.

Isn't there a national science standard, such as "All students shall, by 6th grade, know the basic components of a human blood cell."?

By having such varied standards the quality of your education is determined not by the most educated and informed individuals on science but by someone who happens to have the free time and political drive to get elected to the school board.

Am I missing something here concerning how absolutely nuts this system is?

I confess my lack of knowledge on this subject, am new to this issue.

Thursday, November 06, 2008 2:19:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Let me see if I have this right: There are 50 states and 50 separate science standards documents for each state, or does that vary by county? <<<<<<

Iowa does not have its own science standards -- I believe that Iowa uses some kind of federal science standards.

There may be some local variation -- for example, the Dover Area school district's ID policy was just a local policy. Also, textbooks are often selected at a local level. Texas is a big exception -- the state board of education chooses and purchases the textbooks and distributes them to the local school districts. Because the state of Texas is such a big purchaser of textbooks, textbook publishers often tailor textbooks to suit the whims of the Texas board of education.

>>>>> Isn't there a national science standard, such as "All students shall, by 6th grade, know the basic components of a human blood cell."? <<<<<<

I think there may be some national standards -- I think Iowa uses them.

>>>>>> By having such varied standards the quality of your education is determined not by the most educated and informed individuals on science but by someone who happens to have the free time and political drive to get elected to the school board. <<<<<<

Not necessarily -- committees of experts are often appointed to draft tentative standards, and public hearings are often held at which experts and others may testify. A lot of the questions involved do not require any scientific expertise to answer -- an example is whether or not to teach both the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution (or "teach the controversy").

>>>>>> Am I missing something here concerning how absolutely nuts this system is? <<<<<<

I agree -- at the very least, there is a lot of unnecessary duplication and waste. I was once in favor of just having national standards for the sake of uniformity, but I am now in favor of just having local standards or no standards at all. Having centralized standards makes it easy for biased, well-organized special-interest groups to concentrate pressure on boards of education -- e.g., the 21st Century Science Coalition is a group of hundreds of scientists putting pressure on the Texas board of education to omit the "strengths and weaknesses" language from the new state science standards, particularly the biology standards. Texas is a particularly bad case because the system of public education there is so highly centralized, with the state board of education selecting, purchasing, and distributing textbooks for the whole state.

>>>>>> I confess my lack of knowledge on this subject, am new to this issue. <<<<<<<

It is a bad idea to profess ignorance. The boy who said that the emperor had no clothes did not say, "I am not a lawyer, but is the emperor committing indecent exposure?"

Thursday, November 06, 2008 3:33:00 PM  
Anonymous dootland said...

Thanks for the quick rundown on this. I learned something new.

I am now in favor of just having local standards or no standards at all.

I have to disagree: your tax money is going to educate people. It is a disservice to the student to have one standard saying "We will use the new math --if you feel 2+2=5 that's OK!" and another standard teaching tried&true methods of learning.

It would be nice if politics could be removed from the equation but that isn't going to happen.

Thursday, November 06, 2008 3:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Having centralized standards makes it easy for biased, well-organized special-interest groups to concentrate pressure on boards of education

I agree...I believe this is why public schools have failed in the past because of such special interest groups.

Political activists who are scientists are claiming to be promoting what I call "infallible" theories...

No longer do they believe their own proposals are strong or weak...Oh no, it's just strong or widely accepted. Both terms are used for the same meaning. The rest are just up and coming strong and widely accepted theories...

This nation needs some realistic scientific standards which includes strengths and weakness.

Friday, November 07, 2008 3:06:00 AM  

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