As nuclear weapons treaties vanish before our eyes, Kentucky’s new social studies standards will leave our kids clueless
Nuclear weapons are a hot news topic right now. On February 1, 2019 the New York Times reported the US cancellation of a Reagan-era treaty with Russia following a history of violations. Today, NBC News reports that NATO is concerned and considering new options. For sure, the Iran Nuclear Deal has been a recent hot topic and concerns about nuclear proliferation in Korea cropped up again less than a month ago, as well.
It’s important “stuff” and those of us old enough to remember the Cold War understand how important these situations can become.
But, a key to understanding the current situation is having some knowledge of past history. And, that brings us back to our concerns about the very vague revision to Kentucky’s public school social studies standards that got approved by the Kentucky Board of Education last week. It looks like kids educated to those pending standards would be clueless about the history behind today’s headlines.
You see, the new Kentucky standards essentially ignore everything having to do with nuclear energy, weaponry included. A word search of the PDF version of the standards indicates that crucial terminology needed to intelligently discuss the current nuclear issues is totally absent. The words “Atom,” “Atomic Bomb,” “Atomic Energy,” “Nuclear” and even the very general but important term “Energy” are all incredibly missing from Kentucky’s new standards. Without such terms, there is no way the social studies document can even describe such things as a “Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,” let alone an astonishing amount of other important material that every Kentucky child deserves to know regarding this important, but also potentially very dangerous, energy source.
It isn’t that way in other states. Here is a quick comparison of what Kentucky’s new social studies standards leave out that other states with top-rated standards don’t omit.
If you are concerned about the newly approved social studies standards and the related regulation that will incorporate them, 704 KAR 8:060, Kentucky Academic Standards for Social Studies, the public now has a chance to weigh in on them. The actual public comment period is currently expected to run from February 15 to March 31, 2019 with a live presentation opportunity for concerns on March 27, 2019.
Comments on the regulation/document can be sent to:
or via mail to:
Deanna Durrett, General Legal Counsel
Kentucky Department of Education
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601.
Because all public comments must be considered by the Kentucky Board of Education, you might also want to address them, as well. The board’s joint mailing address is:
Kentucky Board of Education
c/o Kentucky Department of Education
501 Mero Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
Individual board member contact information is here.
If you think all Kentucky children deserve to learn about issues of nuclear energy that can, and do, impact their lives, the time to speak up is now.