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State Board of Education Considers Next Generation Science Standards

In a meeting characterized both by procedural irregularities and emotion, Wyoming’s State Board of Education ultimately sent the proposed science standards back to the Review Committee for reworking.  While unclear how much of the Next Generation Science Standards could be included in the final product, board members voiced a need for A-rated standards that will benefit Wyoming students and be free of controversial assumptions.  The committee will be allowed to use the NGSS as a model, but it appeared that using other state standards as models will be expected as well.

Public comment was rearranged on the agenda to allow comments to be heard before the vote on the outcome of the NGSS.  A group called Climate Parents, some of whom we believe traveled in from out of state, organized statements to support the NGSS and the teaching of anthropogenic global warming in classrooms, and a teacher brought students to do so as well.  However, the students did not appear either personally invested or prepared to articulate that position.

Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core also organized statements among participants who could attend the meeting.  Members pointed out that the budget footnote was the correct response of the Legislature to concerned citizens and expressed reasons to push for more academically sound and objective standards than the NGSS.  We were joined by Representative Tom Reeder, Representative Lynn Hutchings and Michelle Sabrosky, who also contributed valuable testimony.  We so appreciate the time everyone took out of their personal lives to make a strong showing at this meeting.

Several testifying, including both legislators, asserted this meeting or ANY consideration of NGSS, even as a model, is not legal given the budget footnote’s restriction on funds.  In spite of this concern, the board proceeded to take action, and in the weeks to come, the legality of is the footnote will likely be investigated.

Some board members were anxious to adopt the NGSS for promulgation in spite of the legislature’s budget footnote “effective immediately” due to their own interpretation of the footnote’s effective date. Some board members like the NGSS and expressed concern we wouldn’t have “21st Century Standards” available immediately for our schools.  Others clearly were in favor of making the rejection of the standards the Governor’s problem by forcing him to veto the vote for promulgation, as Mary Kay Hill said she would advise the Governor to do should the state board move forward and adopt these standards.  However, the vote to adopt for promulgation ultimately failed this time.

The initial vote to send the standards back to the Review Committee also failed, as did a motion to approve the resolution by the Supervisory Committee members to stop this process and allow school districts to choose their own science standards.  There was a great deal of contentious discussion, frustration and consultation with legal counsel during the entire meeting, which even went to executive session at one point.  It was clear no one wanted to leave the room having done “nothing”, so it finally came back to a vote to reconsider the motion to send the standards back to the Review Committee, and that motion in the end passed.

It will be crucial now for citizens to monitor this process, participate in opportunities to contribute and be watchful for the necessary changes in the standards.  As Mary Kay Hill stated as she outlined the position of the Governor’s office, citizen engagement like this is unprecedented and a great opportunity to have genuine, open discussion and participation.  Our state can end up with academically sound standards that stay religiously neutral and scientifically objective and be the best in the country!

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TIME-SENSITIVE Petition for Science Standards

The State Board of Education meets on Friday, April 11th in Casper.  They will be discussing the science standards for Wyoming students.  Despite the Legislature and Governor passing a budget amendment to de-fund the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), some State Board members would still like to pass the NGSS. The NGSS are non-objective and lack quality.  This letter to the State Board and to Governor Mead is a great opportunity for Wyoming citizens to encourage the State Board to uphold the budget amendment and provide Wyoming students with quality, objective science standards.

 

Read and sign the petition here before Friday, April 11th at 7am

 
All who are able to attend the State Board meeting in Casper are encouraged to be there. The details can be found here

 

PLEASE SHARE THIS OPPORTUNITY VIA EMAIL, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, ETC

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NATIONAL TAKE ACTION ITEM WAS A SUCCESS!

Thank you to all of you concerned Wyoming citizens who contacted our Wyoming US Senators in last week’s “Take Action” item. The action item asked citizens to contact US Senators Enzi & Barrasso and ask them to sign on to Senator Grassley’s letter in support of blocking further federal funding for the Common Core State Standards.  To read Senator Grassley’s letter & accompanying signatures, click here (pdf). If you have time, please send a quick thank you note to our Wyoming US Senators:
Senator Mike Enzi: Website, or call (888) 250-1879
Senator John Barrasso: Website, or call (866)235-9553

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Building the Machine – The Movie

Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core wants to recommend this wonderful movie to parents across Wyoming.  We hope you will take the time to watch and learn.  Below is a brief description of the movie from the website.

Click here to view the movie.

Building the Machine introduces the public to the Common Core States Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and its effects on our children’s education. The documentary compiles interviews from leading educational experts, including members of the Common Core Validation Committee. Parents, officials, and the American public should be involved in this national decision regardless of their political persuasion.

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