The State Board of Education has decided to hold off on making any decisions about how to move forward with development of science standards. A footnote in the state budget bill that the governor signed earlier this month prohibits the Board from adopting, or even considering, a set of national standards that it had been reviewing for more than a year. Some legislators objected to the standards’ treatment of climate change and evolution.
On Monday, the Board voted down a motion to start the process of standards development all over again, but couldn’t agree on an alternative next step. Several other ideas, including ignoring the Legislature’s footnote, were discussed but not voted on.
Board members expressed concern that the scope of the Legislature’s restriction isn’t clear, and Department of Education Director Richard Crandall pointed out that it might be difficult to draw on other states' standards without considering the prohibited standards.
“Many of their standards are based on Next Generation Science Standards..." Crandall said. "How does that play into it? Knowing that some of these are going to be word for word the same as the Next Generation Science Standards. No matter kind of what direction we go we may end up with some that are identical in every word, sentence, period, so on…”
Assistant Attorney General Mackenzie Williams responded that borrowing from standards isn’t the same as adopting them wholesale. The Board agreed to convene in person to discuss the science standards in the near future.