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PNS Daily Newscast - November 20, 2017 


On our Monday nationwide rundown; decision day for the Keystone XL pipeline; a border patrol agent killed in the line of duty in Texas; and time is running out to comment on fees that could double or triple at many National Parks in 2018.

Daily Newscasts

NM Rally Protests "Dumbing Down" of Science Education

Diverse groups are opposing efforts to remove information about the Earth's age, evolution, climate change and more from New Mexico school science lessons. (NASA)
Diverse groups are opposing efforts to remove information about the Earth's age, evolution, climate change and more from New Mexico school science lessons. (NASA)
October 16, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. — Opponents of proposed changes to New Mexico's public school science curriculum that would omit terms like "global warming" and “evolution,” will gather today for a rally - just before the Public Education Department meets to discuss the draft document.

Critics say the controversial changes are "dumbing down" science in the schools. Sister Joan Brown, executive director of New Mexico's Interfaith Power and Light group, said religion and science are not in conflict.

She said she believes the Next Generation Science Standards, already adopted by nearly 20 states, should also be adopted in New Mexico.

"We have a responsibility to our children in this state, and we have a responsibility to the truth, and to give them the best tools for their education,” Brown said. "And that's a moral responsibility that we have."

The proposed draft of science standards has generated opposition from school boards, science teachers and leading scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The rally begins at 8:30 a.m. outside the Education Building in Santa Fe. The Public Education Department meeting begins at 9 a.m.

State education officials have not disclosed who pushed for changes that deviate from the Next Generation national standards.

David Evans, executive director with the National Science Teachers Association, said he’s concerned that New Mexico's education governing board is trying to politicize science education.

"What it represents is essentially a confounding of science on the one hand, with political views or personal views or social views on the other,” Evans said. "And it's very important to us that what students learn in the science class is the science."

The 30-day public comment period on the draft standards ends today, and the public hearing in Santa Fe is expected to draw a large crowd. The Public Education Department has received nearly 200 written comments, most of them expressing concern about the proposed update.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM