New Mexico’s Republican Governor wants science education to retreat to the Dark Ages

❝…In an attempt to make it easier for states to handle science education a bit better, a group of prestigious scientific societies banded together to make their own science education standards. The resulting Next Generation Science Standards were offered to the states free of charge, allowing them to be adopted in their entirety or modified to fit a state’s needs.

❝ Last week, it became apparent that New Mexico’s modification of the standards was a bit extreme, eliminating references to climate change, the age of the Earth, and evolution. And this week, some New Mexico legislators are blaming it on a misguided attempt to “politically sanitize” the science…The problems came to light earlier in September, when New Mexico’s Public Education department released a formal notice that it was seeking input on new science standards…Mother Jones decided to have a look at some of the changes, and they were rather striking.

❝ For example, a mention of “Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old geologic history” was chopped down to “Earth’s history,” neatly getting rid of the information about how old it is. A reference to the evolution of life was cut entirely. The clear rise in global temperatures was swapped out in favor of talk about temperature fluctuations. In short, the proposed new standards get rid of basic facts, specifically in areas that are politically or culturally contentious…for Republicans and other anti~science nutballs.

The one thing that was missing was why. This wasn’t a case of local politicians messing with science education as a part of their platform, as has happened in Texas and elsewhere…Two Democratic lawmakers have pointed the finger at the state’s Republican governor, Susana Martinez. The lawmakers, Bill McCamley and G. Andrés Romero…had been supporters of a bill that would see the Next Generation Science Standards adopted verbatim, a course that had been recommended by a panel of education experts organized by the state. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature but was vetoed by Martinez

You don’t have to be trapped by Know-Nothings in the American Confederacy to have children’s education threatened by bigots and superstitious fools. Martinez is governor by virtue of a Democrat Establishment throwing away easy electoral opportunities to satisfy a cabal more concerned with lineage in political power – than issues.

7 thoughts on “New Mexico’s Republican Governor wants science education to retreat to the Dark Ages

  1. Burqueño says:

    New Mexico’s largest school district joins backlash against the state’s Public Education Department’s science standards changes The Albuquerque Public School board voted 5-1 to send a letter disapproving of the changes, which included removing specific references to increasing global temperatures and the Earth’s age, to the state Public Education Department. These revisions caused an outcry. Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories were among those who criticized the changes.
    The one APS board member who opposed sending the letter was Peggy Muller-Aragón, who won a seat on the board thanks, in part, to spending from SusanaPAC, Gov. Susana Martinez’s political action committee. Earlier this year, Martinez vetoed legislation that would have required science teachers to follow the NGSS. In her veto message, Martinez said it would be more appropriate for PED to implement the standards through rules rather than putting it in statute.

    • Think of the children™️ says:

      Santa Fe NM: Overflow crowd opposes state’s proposed science standards Hundreds of New Mexicans waited in Santa Fe outside the Jerry Apodaca Building on Monday morning. They were there to share their thoughts about the statewide science standards proposed by the Public Education Department’s (PED) acting Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski. People started arriving an hour-and-a-half before the start of the 9:00 a.m. hearing, and others didn’t leave until almost 2:00 p.m. Some New Mexicans stood in line for more than three hours, waiting for their names to be called so they could enter the building, stand before public officials in a small auditorium and speak for three minutes each.
      But Ruszkowski did not attend the hearing, which frustrated many in the crowd as that news trickled out of the building to those waiting outside.
      On Sunday, the Albuquerque Urinal published an op-ed from the acting secretary who called for people to set aside politics and put “kids first.”

  2. Dumbing-down says:

    “An apparent attempt to water down language about evolution and climate change in the guidelines for science education in New Mexico met with protests this week at an eventful public hearing at the Public Education Department’s offices in Santa Fe.” (New York Times Oct 20, 2017)
    “New Mexico PED to drop some edits to science standards; opponents still question change” (Las Cruces Sun-Times Oct 19, 2017) “The state Public Education Department has agreed to eliminate the most controversial edits it made to the Next Generation Science Standards, but many opponents say those changes don’t go far enough.
    Education Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski said his department will restore a reference to the age of Earth and add the word “evolution” back into another section as a response to criticism raised by hundreds of scientists, teachers and others.
    The revisions, however, appear to leave in place most of the state’s proposed edits to the NGSS that the Public Education Department announced last month.”

  3. Update says:

    “After outcry, NM to adopt science standards in full” “The state decided not to move forward with proposed science standards that would have taken out references to evolution, climate change and the age of the earth. Instead, the state Public Education Department will adopt the Next Generation Science Standards in full, with some New Mexico-specific additions. The NGSS were developed and recommended by scientists and educators in 2016 states.
    The standards will go into effect on July 1, 2018.
    The New Mexico-specific additions include requiring elementary school children to “Communicate information that describes how New Mexico scientists and engineers have improved or developed technologies, or improved society through applications of science” and ask high school student to “Communicate information that describes how New Mexico scientists and engineers have improved or developed technologies, or improved society through applications of science.”

    • Hyuck says:

      “As New Mexico’s Public Education Department promises new science standards, it quietly guts history and health requirements” “In a stunning rewrite of classroom learning measurements, New Mexico’s Public Education Department has deleted required teaching on landmark civil rights events, Roe v. Wade, immunization benefits, the dropping of atomic bombs during World War II and the process for impeaching state officials.
      The department’s published requirements for US history courses have stricken a host of measures, including knowledge of Rosa Parks and Malcolm X, as well as the seminal reproductive rights case, Roe v. Wade. Gone are measurements of students’ knowledge of trusts and trust busting, the role of banks in the Great Depression, and many requirements for knowledge from the Progressive Era.
      Similar assessments for New Mexico history classes stop measuring understanding of nuclear weapons and the Cold War arms race. They delete required knowledge of the impeachment process in the state, study of the executive branch and its powers and even basic knowledge of how a bill becomes a law.
      World history requirements no longer include the demise of slavery as a part of the Industrial Revolution. Taiwan’s split from China and Egyptian unrest are also not required learning.
      In a state with a widely publicized diabetes problem, end-of-course measurements in health classes delete references to nutrition, healthy food choices and alcohol abuse. Knowledge of emotional and physical changes during puberty will no longer be required learning. Nor will students be asked to learn about immunizations.” (see links)

  4. Ignorance is Strength says:

    “New Mexico Schools Are Failing And It’s The State’s Fault, Judge Says : Advocates involved with the lawsuit hope the court ruling has repercussions across the country.” (Huffington Post 7/24/18)
    “More than half of New Mexico’s public high school juniors cannot read on grade-level. The state has the lowest high school graduation rate in the country. About half of the students who do graduate end up having to take remedial courses to catch up to their peers in college.
    The statistics are especially bleak for low-income, Latino, Native American and so-called English language learner students, typically those for whom English is a second language.
    For years, New Mexico has failed to provide its public schools with enough money to provide an adequate education, a state judge ruled Friday. This deficiency is a violation of the state’s constitution, which promises all students access to a sufficient and uniform education system.”
    In Michigan earlier this month, a judge ruled that students in failing schools were not constitutionally guaranteed access to literacy.

  5. Bilagáana says:

    “For Wilhelmina Yazzie, joining the groundbreaking lawsuit against New Mexico wasn’t an easy thing to do. It was the only thing to do. The Navajo mother of three says she’s no different from the dozens of other parents who were party to Yazzie v. New Mexico, which declared the state’s public education system unconstitutional. By most accounts, she is no different from tens of thousands of New Mexico parents in general. “I want the same things that every parent wants for their children,” the 39-year-old legal administrator said.
    …Those sentiments are front and center in what is being called one of the most significant education lawsuits in New Mexico history, a case filed in March 2014 and concluded July 20 in a blistering 54-page ruling from First Judicial District Judge Sarah Singleton. The judge declared the state’s public education system a “dismal failure” that violates students’ rights under the constitution to a sufficient education.
    ..The suit is part of a decades-long national trend that’s seen coalitions of parents, children and school districts challenge their state’s public school systems. These cases argue that funds are distributed in arbitrary and inequitable ways, leaving at-risk students without the basic education they need to go to college, pursue a career, contribute to society, and succeed in the modern world. School finance litigation has unfolded in more than 17 states in the past decade, where plaintiffs include low-income students, those who aren’t fluent in English and others who are at risk of academic failure. In New Mexico, at-risk children include Native Americans, English language learners, Hispanic-Latino students and students who have a disability.
    Pursuing equality in court has its cost: New Mexico has already dedicated more than $4 million in legal fees to defend itself in the Yazzie lawsuit and in a second school-funding suit filed a month later. That amount of money is enough to cover the salaries of 93 teachers for a year, at the current average of $47,000 annually.”

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