Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Opinion
Education Opinion

New Science Standards Face Uphill Battle

By Walt Gardner — May 21, 2014 1 min read

The loudest complaint about the Common Core standards for reading and math is that teachers were not adequately consulted. But what about the Next Generation Science Standards? (“Science Standards Divide a State Built on Coal and Oil,” The New York Times, May 19).

Consider the situation in Wyoming. After 18 months of study and comparison with standards from other states, a committee of science educators unanimously recommended that the State Board of Education adopt the guidelines. Nevertheless, the Wyoming Legislature banned any public spending to implement the standards. Lawmakers did so because of the part of the standards regarding climate science. They saw the inclusion of the subject as a direct threat to Wyoming’s economy.

I’ve never been to Wyoming, but what is happening there is a reminder that no subject is immune from meddling by outsiders. In this case, the motive ostensibly is economic because the state is highly dependent on coal and oil. It is the nation’s largest energy exporter. Therefore, you’d think that oil companies like Exxon and Chevron would be against the Next Generation Science Standards. Yet they surprisingly support them.

But the larger question is what the rejection means for students in Wyoming. Just as students were shortchanged in states where the teaching of evolution in science class was challenged, so too will they be shortchanged by the rejection of climate science. Teachers who are certified in science have knowledge that politicians do not possess. When science teachers came to a unanimous decision about the Next Generation, that should have been the end of the matter.

Instead, Wyoming has the dubious distinction of being the first state to reject the standards. But it won’t be the last by any means, proving once again that what teachers think is beside the point.

The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools
Head of Lower School
San Diego, California
San Diego Jewish Academy

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read