October 26, 2017

After outcry, NM to adopt science standards in full

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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 Albuquerque Journal first reported the news.

The decision comes after intense criticism of the original proposed standards, culminating in an hours-long, overflow hearing during which every speaker opposed the changes. PED Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski did not attend that meeting.

Shortly after, Ruszkowski announced PED would back off the standards.

NM Political Report reached out to a PED spokeswoman to ask why the department made the changes, and if the widespread, public opposition was part of it.

The NGSS were developed and recommended by scientists and educators in 2016 states.

The standards will go into effect on July 1, 2018.

Advocates and others praised the decision.

“We thank the PED for it’s move in the right direction, and we look forward to eventually seeing the adoption and implementation of the NGSS in their entirety and with fidelity,” Charles Goodmacher, NEA-New Mexico Government and Media Relations Director said in public comment he said would be delivered to PED Thursday.

The previous standards were controversial even within the department. One woman involved in writing the now-dropped standards quit rather than have her name be included in the standards, according to the Santa Fe Reporter.

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.”

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