Science Standards Input Opportunities: In person OR take the Survey!

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You still have an opportunity to give input to the Science Standards Review Committee at the remaining regional community meetings .   Each meeting will include a presentation on the standards review process, an update on Wyoming’s science standards, and time for the public to comment. The remaining regional community meetings will be held at 6:00 p.m. in the following locations:

June 8, Storey Gym Board Room, 2811 House Avenue, Cheyenne

June 9, Evanston High School, Seminar Room, 701 W. Cheyenne Drive, Evanston.

If you are unable to attend PLEASE fill out the Wyoming Department of Education’s  SURVEY.   (Until June 12th)

Below is information on the concerns voiced by parents across our state.  Feel free to use this information to help you craft your comments for the meeting or the survey:

1)  What specifically do you want your kids to get out of science standards?  (critical minds which have had opportunities to see/debate controversial issues in science from more than one viewpoint? Adequate content for quality high school courses in Physics and Chemistry? Excellent preparation for STEM career paths?) More Ideas HERE!

2) In contrast, what is it about NGSS that won’t help accomplish the goals you have for your children?  Help HERE and More Help HERE(Remember that NGSS is already in use in our state prior to any adoption AND we know the State Board of Education and WDE will be pushing to use NGSS as a spring board for Wyoming Standards).

3) How can the state do the best possible job communicating with you about opportunities to get your input on standards adoption and other major educational decisions being made at the state level (rather than you having to seek it out)?

  • Notes in backpack from your district?
  • Text or phone messaging system already used by your district?
  • Facebook or Social media? Info on joining from your district?
  • An e-mail notification system you can sign up for?
  • How much notice do you need for public meetings/public input?

We believe that our state can arrive at a set of superb standards characterized by autonomy, academic excellence, objectivity and transparency.  Details HERE.

Below is information found on the Wyoming Department of Education’s website concerning the community meetings.  There is a presentation that will be shown at the meetings you may view below if you are unable to attend.

Science Standards Review Committee

The Science Standards Review Committee will meet in Casper June 15-16, 2015 to revise, as necessary, the Wyoming Science Content & Performance Standards, so as to recommend a set of science standards to the Wyoming State Board of Education for adoption.

Thank you for being involved!

Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core

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Community Meetings Planned on Science Standards: Your Input Needed!

News on the Science Standards Front in Wyoming

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Parents who’ve been concerned about standards adoption in Wyoming (and a close call nearly sweeping in the controversial Next Generation Science Standards right on the heels of the Common Core) now have an opportunity to chime in and be heard before the science standards review committee moves forward in its process. The purpose of these meetings is to give the public a chance to give input on two things:

  1. What Wyoming Science Standards should look like
  2. How the WDE can do the best possible job inviting parents to and including them in this process

Meetings are being held at multiple locations throughout the state. Community Meetings Press Release

It goes without saying that if parents don’t show up…we won’t be heard. Those of you who’ve thus far been unable to travel to speak to legislators and the State Board at their meetings NOW HAVE YOUR CHANCE. Here’s what parents need to be prepared to talk about:

1)  What specifically do you want your kids to get out of science standards?  (critical minds which have had opportunities to see/debate controversial issues in science from more than one viewpoint? Adequate content for quality high school courses in Physics and Chemistry? Excellent preparation for STEM career paths?) More Ideas HERE!

2) In contrast, what is it about NGSS that won’t help accomplish the goals you have for your children?  Help HERE and More Help HERE

3) How can the state do the best possible job communicating with you about opportunities to get your input on standards adoption and other major educational decisions being made at the state level (rather than you having to seek it out)?

  • Notes in backpack from your district?
  • Text or phone messaging system already used by your district?
  • Facebook or Social media? Info on joining from your district?
  • An e-mail notification system you can sign up for?
  • How much notice do you need for public meetings/public input?

We believe that our state can arrive at a set of superb standards characterized by autonomy, academic excellence, objectivity and transparency.  Details HERE.

The process must genuinely provide for meaningful participation by teachers, potential employers in the field of science, doctoral-level content area experts, AND parents, who should not have to wait until the end of the process to “comment”.   Adhering to the above principles would elevate Wyoming as an education leader among states instead of a follower in the continual march toward centrally-controlled, mediocre education. If you possibly can…please carve out time for the sake of your children and ALL students in Wyoming to make certain the parental voices are heard!

Thank You!

Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core TakeBack

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“The Lack of Science in the Next Generation Science Standards” a Discussion with Jim Nations!

April Natrona County 
Republican Men’s Luncheon
(ALL are invited to attend – lunch not provided)
A Discussion on the Next Generation Science Standards 
with Jim Nations
Jim Nations
Mr. Nations is a science and engineering public relations consultant living in Casper.  He holds a B.A. in Public Relations, a Master of Science degree in Space Studies, and has worked in the space, energy, and transportation industries.
 
Mr. Nations talk is titled “The Lack of Science in the Next Generation Science Standards.”  After Mr. Nations discusses his concerns with the standards, we will have open discussion.
 
When: Friday, April 10 12-1 PM
 
Where: Parkway Plaza Hotel, Railroad Room (next to the pool)
 
Who: All men and women are invited!
 
No RSVP necessary
 
Questions: Call Chuck Gray at 251-1372 and JR Riggins at 262-8446  
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A Sincere Thanks: Our Thank You Letter to Legislators

ThankYou

Dear Legislators,

Parents have asked much of you this legislative season. Thank you all for your attention to and careful consideration of the matters relevant to our children’s lives and schooling. Of course, we especially thank so many of you who chose to respond favorably to our appeals for the restoration of local control, a genuine parental voice in public education, and parental rights.

What a tremendous opportunity we all have in Representative Harshman’s amendment to HB73. Parents now have real hope of bridging the large divide that has become so obvious between an unelected Wyoming State Board of Education and the electorate.   Our elected Superintendent of Public Instruction now has a role in helping the Board understand ways the standards adoption process may be legitimized in the eyes of parents and why the existing “public comment period” isn’t working. It also reassured the People that unfit standards need not be “locked in”. We know that the success of this opportunity depends on professionalism and goodwill on the part of the SBE and Superintendent Balow, and we look forward to seeing what is made of this great potential.

Although the ultimate language is different than what parents had hoped for, the fact that Senator Bebout’s amendment to HB23 even went through the process of such a healthy debate and a vote is remarkable. It’s clear that far too many people are simply not okay with taking the comfortable road of wholesale adoption of NGSS. What the People want in Wyoming education standards is true academic excellence.

We were disappointed that the issue of parental rights did not get the attention it deserved this session for lack of hearing, though we commend the House for passing HB94. Legislators can look forward to having another opportunity to help parents get these crucial rights codified in statute next year.

Again, thank you for your interest in understanding the concerns of parents of school-aged children in Wyoming. We ask that you join us in vigilance over what is done with the opportunity you’ve given parents, the SBE, and our elected Superintendent.

Respectfully,

Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core

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NGSS Letter to Legislators: Responding to Mischief! Unique Doesn’t Mean New Science!

Below is a copy of the letter we sent on behalf of  many parents who are concerned with the direction that HB23 could take our Wyoming in science standards:

Dear Legislators,

We hope to save you some time by hearing from a large group of Wyoming parents in one communication about HB23 (regarding NGSS). We are aware this bill will now go to conference, and we thought it wise to address this issue with all legislators.

Additionally, some folks are speculating that Wyoming will have to create its own version of science to comply with the word “unique”. Please allow us to correct this mischief and reach out to all of you to ask for your SUPPORT of the Bebout amendment to HB23.

“Unique science standards” does not mean unique science, although messaging it this way may feel like a smart move to those who support adoption of the NGSS.  However, what the parents who keep writing you in droves really want is so much better than what the NGSS offers and so simple:

  • Academic Excellence (including the adequate math-science connections and chemistry and physics missing from the NGSS, and not limited by “assessment boundaries”)
  • Objectivity (Where a scientific topic is controversial, INCLUDING all the evidence rather than assuming one possible conclusion, the NGSS on the contrary deliberately excludes evidence)
  • Transparency (easy access for parents as to what specifically will be taught in science, its associated curricula, and district-to-parent notification about opportunities to be involved in standards decisions)Educators constantly remind us that standards are merely a set of markers or goals, or that they are “only standards”.  They most certainly SHOULD be that. However, the truth is that standards are evolving into much more.  The NGSS is cluttered with material that essentially further explains a concept and gives guidance in how to teach it (called “clarification statements”) and constantly reminds teachers what will be on the test so as to keep them from over-teaching (“assessment boundaries”).

Teachers are professionals who bring skills to the table including the ability to differentiate learning – they don’t need to be limited in any way or be told how to teach a concept.  Parents should be able to expect that goals are truly just goals.  If we have teachers who think they need this heavy-handed “guidance” along with standards, quite frankly, they shouldn’t be science teachers. So, we would boldly suggest a novel idea for what “unique” would look like.  Just goals. No clutter.  Academic concepts to fulfilling the needs of students through the honors level in high school.  Genuine objectivity and the naturally resulting “critical thinking” the NGSS pretends to foster but does not.  And as a matter of process, interaction and involvement with parents built in.

Thank you for your attention to these points. Parents of Wyoming’s school children urge you to support this opportunity to develop standards that distinguish Wyoming with excellence.  Reaching for a mediocre set of off-the-shelf standards simply because it’s easy and educationally trendy simply doesn’t do the great state of Wyoming justice.

Respectfully,

Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core

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Former NASA Educator On the Next Generation Science Standards: Short on Science, Long on Errors and Indoctrination

NGSS_logo

As of the posting of this article, Wyoming continues to be in conflict over the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Did the legislature have legitimate reasons to defund its adoption in 2014, or was that political gaming? Does the NGSS promote political agendas based on incomplete science, or does it teach the “up to date” science concepts our students need to be “competitive in the 21st century global economy”? And the pressing issue of the day, should the budget footnote of 2014 now be lifted, and what should the science standards adoption process look like if it is?

Jim Nations

Wyoming’s Jim Nations has had quite a bit to say about that, and has now produced a written critical analysis that illustrates what he’s been trying to help parents and educators in our state understand…that there are clear scientific and ethical flaws with the NGSS that call these standards into serious question.

Mr. Nations is a former NASA educator and public relations professional. He holds a B.A. in Public Relations and an M.S. in Space Studies, covering space STEM topics as well as policy, legal, commercial, and military operations in the space environment.

He served at the Johnson Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory supporting shuttle and unmanned missions including Voyager I and II, Galileo at Jupiter, the Mars Observer and Magellan at Venus.

He is currently a private consultant in Casper, where his most recent project has him developing a unique deflection strategy for Earth-crossing asteroids.

Mr. Nation’s other activities utilizing his scientific training are numerous. They include energy, transportation and space exploration education projects, work in public relations with the Wyoming Department of Transportation, and volunteer work such as NASA Solar System Ambassador, Wyoming robotics competitions for Skills USA Wyoming, and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

Accomplished in many of the STEM fields for which NGSS proponents claim to prepare students, Mr. Nations is in the position to analyze these standards as an industry professional from outside the education establishment. This element has been sorely lacking, and Mr. Nations’ analysis will lend a valuable perspective as we all try to move forward in adopting new Wyoming science standards.

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