We found this in the Salt Lake Tribune of Salt Lake City, Utah, the location of the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their headline is Public feedback on evolution, climate change to be considered in rewrite of Utah school science standards. The newspaper story already has 77 comments.
Utah is considering adoption of the pro-evolution Next Generation Science Standards (the “NGSS”). As that Wikipedia article explains, the NGSS were drafted as a privately funded (i.e., non-governmental) effort by the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Research Council, and others. States remain free to run their own education systems. They may adopt the NGSS voluntarily, or they don’t have to. So far, about 13 states have adopted the NGSS. [Addendum: That’s fifteen states, according to the National Center for Science Education — see NGSS adopted in Iowa.]
But it’s not smooth sailing in Utah. We can’t determine if the opposition is coming from creationist organizations, but it probably is. The Discoveroids, for example, hate the NGSS. Casey Luskin wrote back in 2013:
The NGSS are ardently pro-Darwin-only, and would withhold from students any information about the scientific weaknesses in Darwinian theory.
[L]eading groups skeptical of modern Darwinian theory (including Discovery Institute) were excluded from the NGSS drafting process, but pro-Darwin advocacy groups like the National Center for Science Education, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Science Teachers Association were invited.
Although we don’t know who is causing the problems in Utah, they’ve got problems. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
A set of proposed standards for middle school science was recently released for 90 days of public review, which included a series of town hall meetings that drew loud, capacity crowds. But school board members ordered Utah Office of Education staff back to the drawing board on Friday to incorporate public feedback into a full rewrite, prior to an additional, 30-day review period.
That’s a long review period. And the meetings “drew loud, capacity crowds.” Now there’s going to be a rewrite, followed by yet another 30-day review period. Things don’t move swiftly in Utah. Then we’re told:
Board member Leslie Castle questioned whether the push to rewrite and review the standards was a distraction meant to kill the proposed changes. She said that as the debate drags on, only “religious zealots” will remain, as moderate members of the public are lost to attrition. “We are going to have not only the most underfunded students in this country, but we’re going to have the stupidest ones,” Castle said.
She doesn’t have to worry. Louisiana will always be number one in the stupid category. Let’s read on:
The out-of-state origins have riled critics, who worry students would be subjected to political bias on controversial subjects like evolution and climate change.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! So far, this is a routine tale. The NGSS sometimes face that kind of opposition. But here comes the fun part. This is why we decided that the Utah situation is blog-worthy:
During the public comment portion of the board’s Friday meeting, Morgan County resident Lydia Nuttall said science education should include multiple theories on the origins of human life.
Lydia Nuttall? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! This is wonderful! Pay careful attention to what she says:
Holding up a bag of Cheerios, she compared education to meal planning and said students should be offered multiple options for breakfast, rather than a single item. “They need to be taught something more than just one ideology for the origins of mankind,” Nuttall said. “We can’t say we have freedom if we’re just teaching one way of thinking.”
The news story goes on for a while. It’s going to take some time for Utah to decide what to do, but we’ve already given you the entertaining stuff. Make of it what you will.
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