Continued Action for Science. We have to continue to call and email the members of the Public Education Department Board and the Secretary of Education or the DEP will embarrass the state and undermine the integrity of science education statewide. How do you eliminate reference to evolution, avoid mention of the age of the earth, sugar coat global warming and eliminate reference to man’s established contribution to climate change and still call the curriculum science?
Most members of the PED and the Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski were absent from the hearings held yesterday,. Two hundred speakers gave their testimony with no one speaking in favor of the proposed revisions to the Next Generation Science Standards. I am guessing none of the PED Commissioners or the Superintendent will read the scores of pages of that testimony. So we need to make sure that they understand that we are paying attention to this vote and will hold each one of them accountable.
Ruszkowski has been quoted as stating that the new language has indicated that the proposed changes to the Next Generation Science Standards had been derived from ‘a variety of sources’ but has refused to identify where. An online search identified very similar changes introduced in West Virginia and Arkansas, beacons of educational excellence. No doubt these changes are inspired by ‘input’ from gas and oil industry lobbyists and religious fundamentalists.
Before contacting the Commissioners get briefed on the issues. Click here to read last Thursday’s post described the science standard issue in detail. See below to get a map of the PED Commissioner District boundaries and contact information for all ten Commissioners. Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, a 20-minute search for contact information for the Secretary of Education led only to the main DEP phone number, a number that went unanswered yesterday, going only to voice mail, but one of our supporters was able to locate the email address for the Secretary. I’d suggest everyone sending emails and leaving voice mails with both the Secretary and your DEP Commissioner. I’d also suggest your sharing this post with anyone who you feels about K-12 education, the integrity of our state’s instruction, and the future of our planet and ask them to also make calls. The DEP indicates it will take weeks to make a decision. I’d say we use those weeks to let them know where we stand. Your message needn’t be long, although the degree to which you can personalize your message, as to why you care about this issue and then simply indicate (Important: Use your own words) that:
- The Next Generation Science Standards were developed by scientists, educators and experts in curriculum and instruction;
- They should not be adulterated for political or religious reasons;
- Omissions of references to evolution, climate change, and the age of the earth are simply preventing our students from wrestling with the real wold’s challenges and that is not ok.
Please take a few minutes every few days to contact your Commissioner and the Secretary and even more importantly to get 3-4 or more friends to do the same. These are our elected/appointed officials and just as we need to hold our legislative representatives accountable, we need to do the same with these officials.
Contact Information for All Ten PED Districts and for the Secretary of Public Education. When contacting PED Commissioners, be respectful but also clearly state your reason for calling your position and what you would like them to do.
Also emphasize that you live in their District and that you vote.
Charles Ruszkowski, Secretary of Public Education Department