Kansas Has a Bill To Repeal the NGSS

We often refer to Kansas as “The Flat Earth State,” and for good reason. They have a long and hilarious history of opposing science — especially evolution. If you need a reminder of that state’s idiocy, see Kansas Flashback: The Crazy Days.

Things seemed to be calming down last year when the Kansas State Board of Education adopted the pro-evolution Next Generation Science Standards (the “NGSS”). We wrote about that here: Kansas Is Having a Lucid Moment. A lawsuit has been filed to nullify the NGSS — see Kansas Creationism Lawsuit Update: 19 Oct 2013 — but there’s been no news of that lately.

Now, however, things are suddenly heating up. The forces of ignorance are striking another blow at reality. The Kansas City Star of Kansas City, Missouri has this headline: Kansas bill would nullify Common Core, evolution-friendly academic standards. It’s an AP story, so we’ll only give you the first sentence:

A new proposal before the Kansas Legislature would nullify reading, math and science standards for public schools adopted previously by the State Board of Education.

They don’t say who sponsored the bill, or what its number is. So your Curmudgeon visited the legislature’s website. We found it. The bill is HB 2621. It says the sponsor is the Committee on Education. The whole committee? It seems so — after all, this is Kansas.

You can read the text of the bill here — it’s an 8-page pdf file: text of HB 2621. Most of it is about things that don’t interest us, but the part that attacks the NGSS starts at the bottom of page 3. Here’s the guts of it:

New Sec. 4. (a) The Kansas college and career ready standards for English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects adopted by the state board of education on October 12, 2010, are hereby declared null and void, and shall have no force and effect. On and after July 1, 2014, but prior to July 1, 2016, the state board of education shall only provide for statewide assessments for reading which are identical to the statewide assessments that were utilized by the state board of education in school year 2012-2013.

[…]

(d) The next generation science standards and the Kansas college and career ready standards for science adopted by the state board of education on June 11, 2013, are hereby declared null and void, and shall have no force and effect. On and after July 1, 2014, but prior to July 1, 2016, the state board of education shall only provide for statewide assessments for science which are identical to the statewide assessments that were utilized by the state board of education in school year 2012-2013.

[…]

New Sec. 5. (a) There is hereby established an advisory council on curriculum content standards within the state department of education. The advisory council on curriculum content standards shall be advisory to the state board of education on the development and adoption of curriculum standards under K.S.A. 72-6439, and amendments thereto.

The next couple of pages describe the membership of the new advisory council and the method for selecting them. Very boring. And that’s about it.

This is great stuff for the blog, so your Curmudgeon is pleased. Kansas is back in action. They ain’t no kin to no monkeys, and by golly, they’re serious about it. We’ll be hearing more about this, so stay tuned to this blog.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Kansas Has a Bill To Repeal the NGSS

  1. I would be wary of the appointed committee members, most of whom would have 4 year terms, and many of them are parents. What credentials would they bring to the table regarding knowledge of science and math? Even the non-parent appointees could easily be creationist supporters, and these appointments are made by the Republican led legislators and Republican governor. I can visualize the deck being stacked very heavily against science, and of course, evolution.

  2. Yeah, because who wants students ready for college and careers? What a stupid idea. Schools are there to babysit kids while the parents work.

  3. (Forgive me I don’t remember the name of the comic I’m quoting)

    “Kansas, it’s out in the heartland. It’s called the heartland because the brain isn’t there.”

  4. They might not be kin to monkeys, but I will bet your average monkey will be more ready for college than their children will be when after graduation.

  5. I know I shouldn’t but, “The forces of ignorance are striking another blow at reality.” made me laugh, heartily.

  6. Ceteris Paribus

    If you are a member of the Kansas legislature, then reducing education standards right now may sound perfectly rational. In fact it would appear to dovetail quite nicely with an as yet unhatched plan to introduce private school vouchers in Kansas.

    When Kansas recovered from the 2008 recession, the present governor and legislature decided to use the increased revenue to pay for tax cuts rather than restore the earlier cuts in education budgets which had been made to balance the budget.

    In Browbackistan, state school base funding is now just a little over $3,800 per student. It had been $4,400 per student.

    At the moment, the state supreme court has not yet decided whether a lawsuit brought by a school district. It claims the state is unconstitutionally shirking its obligation to adequately fund the school system, as found by a lower court. If the state confirms that finding, the state must pay more for schools.

    But in Brownback’s January State of the State address, he claimed that the state supreme court had no authority to decide what the legislature finds to be “adequate”. So Brownback and the Legislature may try to make an end run around the court by just ignoring it.

    But, my Magic 8 Ball says that if the state does lose the funding case, the legislature might just go ahead and say: “What? We have to pony up more cash for educations? Oh sure we will. And we will invent a voucher system to distribute it to private schools.”

    And about the only two things that creationist private schools might lust for even more than requiring students to dress in uniforms styled as “The Full Armor of God” would be free money from the state, and science standards the private schools can meet more easily.

  7. Holding the Line in Florida

    The NY Times had an article about Kansas today. The comments were rather interesting. The Guv’s stance on education wasn’t mentioned in the article, but was mentioned by several commentators. Ignorance is certainly bliss!

  8. Richard Olson

    The reactionariy party that dominates the state of Kansas is not so burdened by returning education in the state to roughly 1840ish standards that it is unable to find the time to stop the clock re human rights (from WIBW 12 Feb webpage):

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ The Kansas House has approved a bill aimed at keeping individuals, groups and businesses from being compelled to help with same-sex weddings.

    The House’s 72-49 vote Wednesday sends the measure to the Senate.

    Supporters describe it as a religious freedom measure. Opponents contend it will encourage discrimination against gays and lesbians.

    The bill bars government sanctions when individuals, groups and businesses cite religious beliefs in refusing to recognize a marriage or civil union, or to provide goods, services, accommodations or employment benefits to a couple. Anti-discrimination lawsuits also would be barred. Individual workers and government employees also would get some protections.

    The measure is a response to the possibility that the federal courts could invalidate the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriages.

  9. Ceteris Paribus: “In fact it would appear to dovetail quite nicely with an as yet unhatched plan to introduce private school vouchers in Kansas.”

    Yep — bet you’re right. First, denigrate the public school system — create a steady drumbeat of “how our schools are failing”. Next, demand that all schools be graded A to F on how well their students perform on standardized tests. Make no allowances for students’ socio-economic standing.

    Then, to “cure” the supposed problem, offer vouchers to give parents a “choice”. This is exactly how Indiana’s creationist legislature got voucher funding for private creationist schools.

    Keep this in mind before you parrot statistics that supposedly show how all US public schools are “failing” if you do not know how those statistics were derived. There is a huge amount of misleading (if not downright false) information out there.

  10. Ceteris Paribus

    RSG admonishes CP re a previous post mentioning US vs World education:

    Keep this in mind before you parrot statistics that supposedly show how all US public schools are “failing” if you do not know how those statistics were derived.

    Point taken. Be assured that in Kansas we believe the US was chosen by God Himself to be the best of everything. Not only on this planet Earth, but in the entire 6,000 year old universe. (Take that you Mormons!)

    I’m so mad at ungodly evolution being taught in our public schools that I will probably need to go out and beat someone up for Jesus before the day is over.

  11. I should have worded that differently.

    What I meant was we should not repeat statistics that supposedly show that US public schools are failing unless we are know how the statistics were derived and are confident in the source. “Parrot” was too strong a word, and I really meant all of us, not just you, Ceteris.

    The point I was trying to make is that it is part of the creationists’ strategy to get the public thinking our schools are terrible so that we will then be willing to use public money to support “school choice”, even if that includes religious schools.

    Even if the vouchers excluded religious schools, they are still a bad idea. The vouchers don’t cover full tuition; just a portion to make it possible for underprivileged students to attend private schools. What the private schools would do then is increase tuition, which would start an upward spiral in costs that would have the public clamoring for larger and larger voucher payments.
    Look what happened to health care costs — do we really want to go there with education as well?