By Ryan McGoldrick, Communications Fellow
This past Wednesday, the House Education committee once again held a hearing on Idaho’s science standards, despite these standards already approved by the Idaho Legislature in years past and supported by Idaho teachers, education administrators, and everyday Idahoans concerned over their children’s future. These same supporters of science standards came out this week to pack two hearing rooms and testify in support of the current standards.
Like any hearing, there were a few opponents to the standards who testified but one underlying issue with their testimony was the conflation of Idaho science standards with “Common Core.” Common Core is an effort to create consistent english and math standards across states. Science standards are not included in Common Core. Idaho’s science standards were developed by experienced Idaho teachers and written specifically for Idaho students.
“When we actually wrote this document (Idaho’s science standards), every word in this document was scrutinized, was argued over, and ultimately vetted by a team of award-winning Idaho teachers. These standards reflect what Idaho teachers think about Idaho science students and what they need to know to move forward.” -Melyssa Ferro, the 2016 Idaho Teacher of the Year.
The educators who came out in support of the standards pointed out that if the Legislature refuses to approve the rule, it would remove all K-12 science standards across the state.
“When we talk about removing them or major portions of all them wholesale, that throws our school system into chaos. …Don’t cripple our students’ education.” -Eric Thies, HS Physics Teacher
One legitimate concern by all parties is the education of Idaho’s rural students. With over 7,000 unfilled STEM jobs in the state of Idaho, it’s essential that rural students have access to the same tools to succeed and be placed into good, high-paying jobs.
“Standards really create an equity platform for students in the state of Idaho, by opening up opportunities for those rural students to receive access to the same types of resources as students in our more populated parts of the state.” -Melyssa Ferro
In other words, if the Idaho legislature keeps altering and removing standards, teachers won’t have the opportunity to develop and share effective curriculum throughout the state. Instead, teachers will be scrambling to meet the altered standards, and Idaho’s students will fall even further behind.
Our Take: Science standards have already gone through a rigorous process of both public and administrative scrutiny. It’s time to stop playing politics and approve these standards once and for all.
Science Standards in the News
- Majority support science standards at hearing – 1/22/20 (Idaho Press)
- Consistent, thorough, Idaho content standards should be retained – 1/21/20 (Idaho Education Association)
- Educators back science standards – 1/22/20 (Magic Valley Times)
Read more about science standards here.
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