Kansas science standards vote Feb 13, 2007

UPDATE Wednesday Feb 14, 2007:  for the action taken by KSBE, see
http://curricublog.org/2007/02/14/kansas-science-decided/

UPDATE Sunday Feb 11, 2007: See this article in today’s LJWorld.com for background on the vote that is expected Tuesday.

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According to their agenda, the Kansas State Board of Education is scheduled to “Act on Kansas Science Education Standards” at 4:00 Tuesday afternoon on Feb. 13. A “CITIZEN’S OPEN FORUM” is scheduled to begin at 10:30, followed at 11:00 by “Recognition of 2007 Kansas Teacher of the Year Team.”

In an “Open Letter from Kansas Citizens for Science” signed by KCS president Jack Krebs, supporters of standards that will re-instate natural science in Kansas (in place of standards that allow inclusion of teaching supernatural explanations) are encouraged to attend the 10:30 forum and to write letters and emails to the Board. (The letter is appearing in Kansas newspapers today. It is also posted on the KCS website, and on The Panda’s Thumb (with a preamble for the pro-evolution audience there).

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anywhere the actual text of the standards document that the Board will be voting on. The KCS letter says these will be “new science standards based on the Recommendations of the Science Standards Writing Committee.” Apparently, this refers to standards that were recommended almost a year ago, although there have been reports since the November 2006 elections that the Writing Committee has been working since then on a revised document for action by the Board.

On Panda’s Thumb, Jack Krebs says

By the way, if you want to see for yourself the differences in the Committee’s standards and the ID standards, you can download a comparison document here. However, trust me, ours are better, :-)

That link opens (in Acrobat) a document on the Kansas Dept. of Ed. website that’s dated March 10, 2006.

Immediately after the November elections, there were some indications that the new Board would be prepared to take some time in doing this, to make sure they do it well (see earlier posts here under “Evolution” category). There may be exigencies from scheduling (tests, professional development, textbook purchases, etc.), and there are no doubt political concerns that can’t be second-guessed from a distance. Even though the new standards will not be exactly the same as what we can read in the Recommended Standards document, it’s understandable if folks feel the substantive issues have been discussed ad nauseam, so more hearings on the actual document that will be voted on may seem unnecessary.

Still, Jack Krebs and others have said we need to find a way to get this stabilized, instead of swinging back and forth with each election cycle. I’m not sure doing it this way is more than just the latest swing, albeit in the right direction.

What do you think?

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 7, 2007 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    True, this is just another bounce of the ball. And the BOE elections next time will be of great importance: two of the moderates are not running next time. Therefore, it’s time for moderates to be searching for good BOE candidates.

    At this time, elections are the way BOE members get chosen. So moderates need to get as active as wingnuts and make sure pro-science people get elected.


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