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New Science Standards In Kentucky Called 'Necessary' By Some, 'Fascist' By Others

Called the "Next Generation Science Standards", the new guidelines proposed by the state Department of Education seek to revamp science education standards throughout grades K-12 in accordance with an improvement law passed in 2009. The department hosted a hearing earlier today in Frankfort, during which supporters and opponents could meet, discuss, and debate the newly-proposed standards. As was noted by the Courier-Journal:

"The majority of comments during the two-hour hearing came from critics who questioned the validity of evolution and climate change and railed against the standards as a threat to religious liberty, at times drawing comparisons to Soviet-style communism."

Blaine Ferrell, a representative from the Kentucky Academy of Sciences, was one of the few who attended that day who expressed his support of the Next Generation Science Standards. "Students in the commonwealth both need and deserve 21st-century science education grounded in inquiry, rich in content and internationally benchmarked." Another advocate, a biology professor named David Robinson, explained how Kentucky frquently gets overlooked by biotechnology companies, and cautoned that a lack of contemporary science education could potentially cause the state to be "left behind" when it comes to industrial development. 

New KDE logoAccording to The Spectrum, Kentucky's Department of Education did just that. "The standards, which incorporate all areas of science, were developed through a consortium of 25 other states and input from educators and scientists across the nation." Unfortunately, many community members reamined unconvinced. One was Matt Singleton, a Baptist minister and internet radio host from Louisville, who said:

"Outsiders are telling public school families that we must follow the rich man’s elitist religion of evolution, that we no longer have what the Kentucky Constitution says is the right to worship almighty God. Instead, this fascist method teaches that our children are the property of the state."

Another, Dena Stewart-Gore of Louisville, claimed that the new standards would single out students with religious beliefs. She subsequently speculated as to the potential consequences:

"The way socialism works is it takes anybody that doesn’t fit the mold and discards them...we are even talking genocide and murder here, folks."

Daniel Phelps, an environmental geologist who attended the hearing, fired back:

"I’ve actually read this, unlike many of the people who have commented today. Everything is actually based on evidence — arguments from evidence are actually given priority in the Next Generation Science Standards."

As was noted by the Huffington Post, states like Kansas, Maryland, and Vermont have already adopted the Next Generation Science Standards. While today's hearing was the only one conduncted in person, the state Department of Education will also be accepting written testimonies until tomorrow, July 31st. 

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  1. You can't fix crazy, but perhaps you can prevent it from having any influence on public school curriculum.

    Posted by: MateoM | Jul 30, 2013 7:47:31 PM

  2. These idiots probably offer the best arguments for "genocide and murder" that I've ever heard.

    Posted by: David | Jul 30, 2013 8:12:09 PM

  3. "rich man’s elitist religion of evolution"

    Right . . . .

    Posted by: LiamB | Jul 30, 2013 8:12:28 PM

  4. They are just mad because of the Tea Party label under the second from the left.

    Posted by: Bubba | Jul 30, 2013 9:09:01 PM

  5. The irony (which they'll never get) is that these very same people are just fine when "Soviet-style" brutality is focused on the LBGT community. The ignorance/hatred is utterly breathtaking!

    Posted by: Geoff | Jul 30, 2013 9:11:47 PM

  6. I mean REALLY. On one hand you've got "God pulled the universe, as is, straight out of nothing about 6-10 thousand years ago" or you've got the scientific method, upon which all medicine, science, even the internet which allows you to communicate with people across the globe is based.

    Gosh, it's SO hard to know which one of those has more validity!

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 30, 2013 9:38:37 PM

  7. The crazy aside - there are a LOT of typos in this article.

    Posted by: mvecera | Jul 30, 2013 10:07:08 PM

  8. Is that Derrick in the back?

    Posted by: Hagatha | Jul 30, 2013 10:35:32 PM

  9. Anyone with any scientific integrity has doubts about teaching science theories as facts, has doubts about global warming and certainly about evolution, a damaged and fragmented theory. Evidence can be cherry picked, and it usually is. One need not be religiously inclined to see this.

    Posted by: Kev C | Jul 30, 2013 10:45:49 PM

  10. Please tell us that the illustration showing the white man as the pinnacle of evolution isn't from the new standards...

    Posted by: Vint | Jul 30, 2013 10:51:18 PM

  11. Keep your narrow minded religious beliefs in your church and out of schools.

    Posted by: Mmike1969 | Jul 30, 2013 11:04:33 PM

  12. "Sanctified ignorance is still ignorance." John Shelby Spong

    Posted by: Onnyjay | Jul 30, 2013 11:29:12 PM

  13. Evolution is the foundation of all modern biology and is not "just a theory." It certainly isn't any more flawed or fragmented an idea than gravitational theory, germ theory, etc. Sorry, but evolution is a FACT! Get over it!

    Posted by: fedorajoe | Jul 30, 2013 11:59:18 PM

  14. Oh Kentucky, you NEVER fail to disappoint me!


    Posted by: Marc C | Jul 31, 2013 12:32:03 AM

  15. @FedoraJoe. Fundamental parts of the evolution theory have been proven wrong. Physically tested and failed. Science has become utterly politicized and commercialized that scientific proclamations are simply not credible.

    And it occurs to me that global warming .. may not be a bad thing. Looking at the cycle of ice ages, the next one is long overdue. Perhaps global warming has kept us from it. And would it be so bad if many large coastal cities were swallowed by the sea?

    Posted by: Kev C | Jul 31, 2013 12:45:15 AM

  16. @KEV C. You are confused about the use of the word "theory" in the world of science. To quote Wikipedia: "Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge. This is significantly different from the word "theory" in common usage, which implies that something is unsubstantiated or speculative." Anyone with any scientific integrity knows this and is not taken in by arguments such as yours.

    These scientific theories have resulted in much of what we take for granted in the modern world, including your ability to post a comment on this website.

    Posted by: David | Jul 31, 2013 12:53:35 AM

  17. Holy cow. Kentucky is dragging itself into the 20th Century.

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 31, 2013 2:08:06 AM

  18. Fundamental to the Theory of Evolution: Speciation, the origin of new species. Status: Unproven but taught as true.
    Fundamental to the Theory of Evolution: Mutation, proposed mechanism of evolution. Status: Unproven/Disproven yet still taught as true.

    So right out of the gate, you have these huge holes in your theory. And 150 years after Darwin proposed it, the langauge of evolutionary studies is still filled with mays and coulds - maybe - could be - might be - possibly.

    Posted by: Kev C | Jul 31, 2013 2:47:54 AM

  19. There are cross-claims here that don't stand up to scrutiny. Either you don't teach evolution because you are religious or you don't teach it because it's a fallacious theory, but your religion doesn't make it fallacious.

    It's obvious why literalists want to dispute evolution, since it denies the opening of the bible that states man was made in God's image. However, they try to disprove evolution, which is a mistake. Disproving it will not change any religious matter.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 31, 2013 2:52:06 AM

  20. @Kev C - Public school students should be taught science. Science is the name for the discipline practiced by scientists. Among scientists in the field of biology, there is a consensus view on evolution. Even if there is a small minority of scientists who disagree with the consensus view, public primary and secondary schools are not research universities, and are therefore not the proper venue for evaluating alternate theories.

    Posted by: Merv | Jul 31, 2013 3:36:42 AM

  21. Public school students should be taught manners and good social skills, but it isn't going to happen. Having a science education may not useful for many students. Teaching science theories as facts is mostly motivated by atheism and anti-theism and should be disregarded as unscientific.

    Posted by: Kev C | Jul 31, 2013 3:51:27 AM

  22. Honestly, if these people in the south are not perfect examples of why DRONES should be used on American soil then nothing is. It is these bible-thumping backward assholes that continue to hold this country back, and actually want to take it back to the days of the Puritans. The truly scary thing is that the Tea Party gets more and more followers every day who want to put this country under biblical sharia law.

    Posted by: crazycorgi | Jul 31, 2013 3:54:26 AM

  23. Most of these people couldn't even define the terms "fascist" and "Communist." The Kentucky educational system has a bad record, and this is one of the reasons why.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jul 31, 2013 7:50:00 AM

  24. Public school science curriculum should be based on internationally-recognized standards. If the fundies don't like it, they can pull their kids out of public school.

    Posted by: shawnthesheep | Jul 31, 2013 10:35:51 AM

  25. Just because you have a faith; just because you believe in a higher authority does not mean you are stupid; illiterate; crazy; bible-thumping; assholes; ignorant; narrow-minded; or hateful. On the other hand, after reading the comments above, what can we say about so-called progressives?

    Posted by: Sharon | Jul 31, 2013 10:49:18 AM

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