Stand up for Oklahoma students!
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Oklahoma legislators just voted to deny K-12 students access to world-class science standards solely because the standards include climate science.
An Oklahoma House Committee voted on May 12 to reject the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science, which were developed by a team of 59 Oklahoma educators, scientists, engineers, and parents over the last year. More than 500 educators reviewed the standards, which then received extensive public input before being unanimously approved for adoption by the Oklahoma State Board of Education.
If this move to censor science education is approved by the full Legislature and signed by Governor Mary Fallin, Oklahoma standards will revert to the current, outdated standards that are in urgent need of upgrading. This would be a tremendous disservice to Oklahoma kids, who deserve access to the highest quality science education available.
It’s critical to speak out now against censorship of science education in Oklahoma. The extreme action taken by Oklahoma legislators to deny students a world-class science education -- all to keep them in the dark about climate change -- comes at a time when the new U.S. National Climate Assessment makes clear that climate change is a real, present, and growing danger that poses acute risks to the health and well-being of children. We’re already seeing impacts like intense heat waves, drought and water shortages here in Oklahoma.
To be clear, the climate science content in the new Oklahoma standards is uncontroversial, and already watered down from climate science content in the Next Generation Science Standards, upon which the Oklahoma standards are modeled. Here’s an example of what students in upper grades would be expected to learn: "Analyze and interpret data to explore how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in atmosphere and climate."
We who are Oklahoma parents, teachers, scientists, and science supporters want our kids to learn the best available science, including climate science. It is a dangerous precedent to allow science and other educational standards to be censored by voices hostile to science, rather than upon the research-based recommendations of credentialed educators.
Please join us in urging Governor Fallin and Oklahoma legislators to reject the anti-science legislation. Let’s tell them to accept the unanimous decision of the State Board of Education to adopt the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science without further political interference.
Thank you for taking action for Oklahoma kids!
Jim F. Chamberlain, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE
Nicole M. Colston, PhD
Retired Educator, Mother, Grandmother
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