First, some background
The process to adopt new academic standards in Kentucky’s schools is somewhat involved.
After the Kentucky Department of Education develops a proposal (or, in the case of Next Generation Science Standards, grabs proposed standards from somewhere else), the Kentucky Board of Education must vote to approve a regulation adopting the new standards twice in two separate meetings. Then, the standards incorporating regulation is put out for a public comment period. If comments are received, the Kentucky Board of Education must then approve a “Statement of Consideration” of those public comments, deciding if more work is needed on the standards or if they are ready for a final review. That final review involves hearings and a vote on the regulation in two separate committees of the Kentucky Legislature.
The administrative regulation to adopt the highly controversial Next Generation Science Standards (704 KAR 3:303) is going through this process right now. The Board of Education completed its steps. Although it received thousands of comments, the board elected not to make a single change in the NextGen Science Standards, voting in early August to approve a very disappointing “Statement of Consideration” of those comments. In the process, the board thumbed their noses at those members of the public who pointed out a number of areas where NextGen Science isn’t ready for prime time in Kentucky.
So, the action now shifts to the Kentucky Legislature.
The first hearing on NextGen Science takes place on September 11, 2013 at 1 PM in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex in Frankfort. Very likely, NextGen is going to face a considerably more intense examination than the perfunctory consideration it got from the Kentucky Board of Education.
Legislators may also be concerned about the board’s not very interested handling of the public’s comments. It seemed like the board was ready to jump on any excuse to avoid having to think more carefully about the science standards. You can draw your own conclusions about the board’s attitude by watching the video of the meeting, on line here (Note: This is in a new HiDef video format and may require an advanced viewer like the VLC Media Player).
The board’s discussion on 704 KAR 3:303 starts at 1 hour and 4 minutes into the webcast. Note in particular that the questions were prematurely cut off when the governor arrived to celebrate the new Age 18 dropout legislation. Although there was a promise to return to questions, that never happened, and the vote was taken without a continuation of the questions.
The board should have asked more questions. In the end, some of the board’s approved Statement of Consideration’s excuses simply don’t stand up to reasonable examination. To learn more about that, click the “Read more” link.