Another state has left its school board without a clear idea of what to do with recently formulated science standards. Following the lead of Wyoming, an Oklahoma House committee voted to reject the state school board’s adoption of new standards that were built on top of the Next Generation Science Standards. If adopted by the full legislature, the move will leave the state stuck using out-of-date standards that were recently given a failing grade in an independent analysis.
The legislators’ reasons for objecting to the new standards aren’t clear, but an audio of the hearing at which the standards were rejected is available. In it, Tiffany Neill, the director of science education for the State Board of Education, describes the process by which the new standards were created. Although Oklahoma did not adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, the committee that formulated the new rules was heavily influenced by them.
In addition, Neill said that the standards attempted to address subjects with the full education experience in mind; when the same subject was covered in a later grade, the standards attempted to build on the knowledge covered previously rather than simply repeating the lesson at a somewhat more sophisticated level. Finally—and this is apparently where the legislators’ issues come in—the new standards added a separate Earth sciences section for the first time.