Oklahoma House Committee Rejects New Science Standards

Monday afternoon  the Oklahoma House Administrative Rules and Government Oversight Committee voted 10-1 to reject the proposed Oklahoma Academic Skills for Science that have been in development for the past year and a half.  A rejection of proposed education standards by the legislature is unprecedented and at this point the real impact and implications are unknown.

According to teachers who were present at the hearing two dominant concerns expressed by members were:
  1. The use of the Next Generation Science Standards as a resource. – Testimony given by Tiffany Neill, State Science Director for SDE pointed out that the science writing committee requested NGSS as a resource as they represented the most up-to-date resource from organizations trusted and utilized by previous revision committees. She also pointed out that the writing committee did utilize other resources and they reviewed other state science standards.
  2. Weather and Climate being placed in early grade levels – It appeared to observers that committee members believe standards that reference climate at all might be utilized to direct students to being forced to subscribe to climate change theory. Of course, weather and climate is already in PASS.  (Isn’t it ironic that a state so dependent on weather and climate might be lead by elected officials who are afraid that science teachers might broach the topic in 3rd or 4th grade?)
What does this mean going forward?  The standards were approved by the  State Board of Education in March by a unanimous vote.  Supt. Barresi has made her support of the new standards very public.  Over 500 people worked to write, review, comment, or offer input to the development of the standards.  Forward-looking schools and school districts are already gearing up to implement the standards with inservice training and implementation processes taking place NOW.  Will Oklahoma have any new state standards for any subject after this Legislative session ends?
There is still time for voices from stakeholders to be heard on this issue.  What you think about the decision to remain with PASS standards rather than move forward with the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science? Below you will see names of people you can contact who might make a difference in the final decision. Please share this information with others who might want their voices heard.
  • Speaker of the House Jeffery Hickman: jwhickman@okhouse.gov  (email address corrected from previous post)(405) 557-7339
  • Senate President Pro Tem: Brian Bingman: bingman@oksenate.gov (405) 521-5528
  • Governor Fallin’s Office: Go to the following link to submit and e-mail to Governor Fallin’s office http://www.ok.gov/governor/#  (405) 521-2342

FYI, these are the members of the House Administrative Rules Committee:

 Chair Rep. Blackwell, Gus (R) District 61

Vice Chair Rep. Fisher, Dan (R) District 60

Rep. Banz, Gary W. Rep. Billy, Lisa J. Rep. Cannaday, Ed
Rep. Floyd, Kay Rep. Fourkiller, William Rep. Hulbert, Arthur
Rep. McCullough, Mark Rep. Mulready, Glen Rep. Shelton, Mike
Rep. Stiles, Aaron Rep. Thomsen, Todd Rep. Walker, Ken
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