K-12 Education In Tatters Nationally. NM Science Standards Omit Climate Change & Evolution. Seriously?

IATSE, DPNM, Retake and others are sponsoring a rally to protest NM’s new science standards that omit evolution and climate change. The post also includes a look at the general state of public K-12 education in the US as well as background on the proposed NM Science Standards. Not a pretty picture.

Monday, Oct 16, 8:30-10am, Department of Education, 300 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe. Rally for Science Education.  The remainder of this post provides ample evidence for why it is important to take action against the NM Department of Education and its proposed obliteration of true science instruction in NM. Click here for more information on the rally and to RSVP. Organizers want a good idea of how many will attend to make sure they are abiding by their permit. 

New Retake Resource:  Last week, we published a list of reliable media resources derived from the Local Futures website. As promised, we have expanded that list of resources to include a list of books that we highly recommend. It is vitally important that we continually educate and inspire ourselves and the books on this list were selected for precisely this purpose. We welcome suggestions.  Click here to find the update inventory of media and books. Happy reading.

Donations Needed. To keep our posts flowing, the meetings happening, the website up to date and to get flyers and other printed material in your hands, we need a very modest amount of financial support. Usually donations at our Town Halls are sufficient, but no more. We are entirely volunteer-driven, but we do have costs. Even donations of just $10 can add up, but we could really use a few $25, $50 or $100 donations.  Please make checks out to Retake Our Democracy and mail to Retake Our Democracy, P.O. 32464, Santa Fe, NM 87594.  Thank you so much.

Events & Opportunities.  We have a ton of events, rallies, films, house parties, and trainings over the next two weeks. It is staggering. Kingian Non-Violence Training, presentations at the Economics of Happiness Conference, two outstanding documentaries from Norman Lear featuring Rosario Dawson and more. Click here to get to check out these opportunities to form community.

New Mexico Proposes to Remove Evolution & Climate Change from Science Instruction While Promoting Oil & Gas Benefits

If you hide the truth from our youth, it is so much easier to ignore what is going on.

New Mexico is not going to rise from its near bottom ranking in K-12 education if it prevents its students from studying real science. What’s more, how are these students to weigh in thoughtfully as voters and participants in the public debate if they have not been taught about climate change, man’s contribution to its acceleration, or even that evolution is actually an undisputed fact. The rally announced above is a direct response to the NM State Dept. of Education’s proposed changes to the national Next Generation Science Standards. It is astonishing to see the degree to which the Department wants to tinker with these national standards and infuse our state’s science instruction with patently pro-oil and gas garbage. In an article from Ars Technica:  “Roundhouse legislators 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, who complained that it would interfere with the executive branch’s vetting of the standards.”

Now we see what Martinez had in mind by ‘vetting.’  More from Ars Technica: “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.” Our governor, she never ceases to amaze.

Click here to read the full Ars Technica report, although the Mother Jones article below covers more ground.  Mother Jones went into far greater depth on the NM edits to the national standards and to scientific reality. Click here to read the excellent Mother Jones report. Mother Jones reports how the state’s revision of standards included a new standard lauding the benefits of the oil and gas industry, something that is not at all part of the national standards. I wonder who asked for that to be included?

The National Picture: K-12 Two Systems One for the Haves, One for the Have Nots

But the science revisionism found in New Mexico is only one manifestation of a deeper malaise in K-12 education nationally.  After describing how the public education offered middle class and affluent students is not in crisis, Frontline notes that there is a second system of education:  “The second system of public education, which is based principally in poorer urban and rural areas, is indeed in crisis. Too many of the students in those schools are dropping out well before high school graduation. Too many are receiving high school diplomas that do not certify academic confidence in basic subjects. Too many are being left unprepared for the world of work. Too many are being left unprepared to go on to higher education and advanced technical training. Those schools are indeed in crisis and they require emergency treatment.”  The Frontline report goes on to identify the implications of continuing to operate the equivalent of two systems of education, one for the more affluent and one for the poor.  “If we do not close the gap between the two systems of public education in America, the system that could and should be better, but which is not failing its students, on the one hand, and the system that is failing its students on the other, then we will be condemning our society to the perpetuation of the distinctions and the inequalities across lines of race, ethnicity, and class that we’ve been struggling to overcome in recent generations. I don’t know of very many people at any point along the political spectrum who want to look forward 10 or 20 years and see an America divided along lines of race, ethnicity, and class.”

A Brookings Institute report outlined the eight ways in which the K-12 public education system favors Whites and Asians at the expense of Latino and African American students. The table at left shows the degree to which black and brown students do not benefit from  the K-12 education system.  Asian students are four times as likely to graduate from college than Latino students and over 3 1/2 times as likely to do so as Blacks. Whites are three times as likely to graduate college than Latino students and twice as likely as blacks. These are enormous disparities that then play out in the workforce.  Not only is the diploma a ticket to job interviews and higher paying positions, the relationships established while in college provide a network that increases access to future jobs.

Click here to read the full Brookings report. It is full of intriguing findings about the sources of race-based educational disparities.

I hope to see you Monday morning to raise your voice at the Rally for Science Education at the NM Dept. of Education in Santa Fe.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Child, Youth & Families, Pre-K, K-12 & Higher Education

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1 reply

  1. Hi Paul n Roxanne: For well more than 25 years it has been very difficult at times to organize coherent thoughts when observing the statements and actions of the so-called professional class. What you reveal today are bookends holding up volumes of tragic behavior – one end is the insistent pressure of white priviledge to determine who gets what, how and when; the other side of the vise is the wall of ignorance built by that tradition upon which are written the codes of illusion that must be believed to escape the center and become a useful brick in that wall. The Guv is one brick, the capitalist gorgon is the screw turning the vise.

    In the center are the objectified fears of that pale World of Worry – people of color, deviant white malcontents, Wild Nature, actual knowledge as revealed by science, art, music and literature, and liberating philosophies grounded in peaceful co-existence. I have witnessed and experienced this grinding onslaught since RayGun made his deals with the devil. Viet Nam and Korea were the pilot programs, failures due to picking on people who already had a sense of self. The war against insurrection was easier won at home, and so here we are.

    They do not need to be correct. They never have been. They have only needed to be brutal, cunning and deceptive. These attributes I know all to well, having been brought up in that Marat de Saude.

    It will get worse, much worse. Their rage grows as their fear intensifies. We still have the numbers, and, thanks to them, we have the genius and the will to survive that only the biodiversity of human culture can provide. Fare forward, and pick your battles wisely.

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