Sen. Jensen Seeking Attorney General Opinion on Proposed Science Standards

On November 17, 2014, The South Dakota Board of Education held the second of four public hearingsJensen regarding the adoption of proposed K-12 Science standards for South Dakota.

At this hearing, Senator Phil Jensen, Dist. 33 testified regarding his finding of the South Dakota Science Standards being the Next Generation Science Standards. You can listen to his testimony here at the 1:50:42 mark.

Thank-you Senator Jensen!

Good Morning Mr. Chair, Members of the Board,

Senator Phil Jensen out of Rapid City,

Wyoming is the first state to reject imposing Next Generation Science Standards on all public schools. Wyoming is rich in minerals, coal and other natural resources and opponents objected to what they consider climate change indoctrination in the standards rather than objective science. Other groups took issue with the NGSS treatment of evolution which some say promotes atheism.

“Parents took very seriously the findings of a lack of sufficient content for important high school classes–notably chemistry and physics–and very poor connections between science instruction and the mathematical concepts needed to master them,” said Cindy McKee, a spokesperson for Wyoming Citizens Opposed to Common Core. “While we are continuing to discover missing foundational knowledge and skills, probably the most alarming aspect of the science standards is their subjective treatment of controversial scientific issues, such as origins and environmental science.”

Cindy McKee, a spokesperson for Wyoming Citizens Against Common Core stated, “Parents took very seriously the findings of a lack of sufficient content for important high school classes, notably, Chemistry and Physics and the very poor connections between the science and mathematical concepts needed to master them.” She continues, “While we are continuing to discover missing foundational knowledge and skills, probably the most alarming aspect of the science standards is their subjective treatment of controversial scientific issues such as, origins and environmental science.”

McKee said, “Teaching children only one of many theories about climate change defeats the purpose of science which is to observe reality and evaluate conclusions about those observations. When it comes to those controversial issues, parents should be able to trust that their children are being informed, and not indoctrinated.”

An independent review of the NGSS by the Thomas B Fordham Institute found it omits key elements of science including much of high school chemistry and physics and includes scientific factual errors.  “In addition to the factual errors NGSS includes ‘outright propaganda and indoctrination’ and therefore cannot prepare students for science careers or majors in college”,  said Jim Nations, a Casper Wyoming scientist who has been involved in science and math education initiatives for decades.

We should have confidence that our science standards are not set up in such a way as to exclude scientific evidence and it appears that is exactly what the NGSS does. If science can’t be taught in a truly objective and neutral way, what can?

Now in regards to Senate Bill 64, the intent of the legislature was to put a hold on South Dakota implementing any further Common Core Standards. And yet, we see a parsing of the words and frankly plagiarism of the Common Core Standards by the work group.

I will be asking Attorney General Jackley to look into the constitutionality of the implementation of these Common Core Science Standards in South Dakota.

Please do not implement these science standards as they are inappropriate and unlawful.

You can read more on the proposed South Dakota Science Standards at these links. (Link 1) (Link 2) (Link 3)

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