Robert Lattimer with Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) informed me that the Nebraska Department of Education has opened up their draft science standards for public comment. The commenting period closes on June 23, and you do not have to be a resident of Nebraska to participate.
The survey link can be found here.
Lattimer shared his thoughts about the standards in an email:
I have reviewed the standards and find them to be a clone of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). There is some rearrangement of NGSS performance expectations, and a few slight modifications have been made. Like NGSS, the thrust is materialistic with respect to biological evolution, and there is an activist environmental agenda.
I would suggest you provide input on the following performance expectations on evolution and environmentalism. Note that there is a comment space on the web form for each grade level.
Page 23 (Grade 6, SC.6.12.4.c). Change “rise” to “change.” Change “past century” to “past several centuries.”
Page 25 (Grade 7, SC.7.7.3.d). Change “minimizing” to “changing.” State that human impact can be either positive or negative.
Page 29 (Grade 8, SC.8.9.4.a). State that nearly all mutations are harmful or neutral and lead to a loss of fitness for the organism.
Page 30 (Grade 8, SC.8.10.5.a). The standard implies that there was no teleological causation in the Earth’s past. This is an assumption or hypothesis, not proven fact.
Page 30 (Grade 8, SC.8.10.5.b). The standard assumes that homologies result from evolutionary relationships. This is an unproven assumption that eliminates the possibility of teleological causation.
Page 30 (Grade 8). Standards SC.8.10.5.a and 5.b relate to macroevolution (unguided common descent), and SC.8.10.5.c and 5.d relate to microevolution (adaptation or small-scale change within a species). This distinction should be made, since micro is well-established but macro is an unproven hypothesis.
Page 30 (Grade 8, section SC.8.10). These standards relate to biological evolution, which is age-inappropriate for Grade 8. These standards should be moved to high school Life Sciences.
Page 37 (Life Sciences, SC.HS.8.3.b). Change “elements” to “molecules” or “chemical compounds.”
Page 38 (Life Sciences, SC.HS.10.5.a). This assumes that common ancestry (macroevolution) is true. Evidence that infers teleological causation should be included.
Page 38 (Life Sciences, SC.HS.10.5.e). Change “new species” to “new varieties.” If a “new” species results from environmental change, it will closely resemble its predecessor.
Page 38 (Life Sciences, section SC.HS.10). Standard SC.HS.10.5.a relates to macroevolution, while the other four relate to microevolution. This distinction should be made.
Page 39 (Earth and Space Sciences, SC.HS.11.5.b). Coverage of Big Bang theory is OK, but the standard is incomplete. Add (a) the implication of the Big Bang (a beginning to the universe), (b) comparison with other hypotheses (steady state, multiverse, oscillating universe), and (c) fine-tuning of physical constants for life.
Page 40 (Earth and Space Sciences, SC.HS.12.1.b and 1.d). Global climate models are known to be inaccurate and are often used to predict dire consequences for the future. Either eliminate these standards or add precautionary language.Page 41 (Earth and Space Sciences, SC.HS.15.4.e). Note that human “modification” can be either positive or negative.