Hundreds appeared Monday in Santa Fe for the single public hearing scheduled to comment on controversial science standards proposed by the state’s Public Education Department.

Two Los Alamos schools officials, Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus and board member Andrea Cunningham, had signed up to speak, but due to a lengthy interruption from a false fire alarm and problems managing the hearing’s sign-in sheets, the two didn’t speak. A second board member was called on to speak.

Next Gen science standards were developed in 2013 by a consortium of 26 states, including people in New Mexico, and other organizations, such as National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Research Council.

Changes made at PED include replacing references to climate change with “temperature fluctuations,” removes mention of the earth’s age as 4.8 billion years, and tweaks instruction on evolution.

Attendees and commenters included scientists, educators and school officials, young students, academics, a rabbi, a Franciscan nun, and a politician or two.

Audience members clapped and cheered after every statement.


Calling one of the standards “propaganda for the oil and gas industry,” Los Alamos school board member Ellen Ben-Naim testified that renewable energy sources in New Mexico were ignored by the PED’s proposal.

She noted that PED and its secretary designate Christopher Ruszkowski, who wasn’t at the hearing, appeared to have ignored vetting requirements of instructional materials.

Click here to read the full story in the Los Alamos Monitor Online (October 16, 2017)



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