Will the season of Kansas pseudo-science start again soon?
The State Board of Education is poised to approve science standards again in the next month or so, according to Janet Waugh, State Board of Education member from the 1st District. She is a former Turner School Board member.
Other than one letter received more than a year ago, the board has not received letters or complaints about the science standards, she said. That letter was ably answered by a professor who discussed the Big Bang Theory and evolution, and other topics, she noted.
After working on the standards, the final document was presented last month, so Waugh expects a vote to come either this month or next.
“I’m kind of sitting here holding my breath,” Waugh remarked. “I’ve lived through both of the challenges we’ve faced. It’s really disturbing when Kansas became the laughingstock of the nation and world. Now Kansas is one of the leaders,” she said.
The Kansas science standards committee now includes college professors, people from the industry and administrators, she said.
So far there hasn’t been a repeat of the previous controversy for science standards, except for one letter. Kansas does, however, have some other educational matters to take care of. As of earlier this week, school finance still wasn’t settled, and many educators were without a contract for next year as it is difficult for the districts to set a budget with unknown numbers. School finance is a task done by the Legislature, and this year a school finance lawsuit was taken into mediation.
“I believe this is the most challenging time in schools financially that I’ve ever experienced,” Waugh said, adding she included her days as a board member in Turner. She also added that the State Board of Education doesn’t have a role in determining school finance. “We are trying to educate these kids at high levels, and doing a pretty good job at it, but having to remove so many of the things in place that help students learn.”
Parents used to work directly with challenged students in certain programs, she said, but districts are having to remove a lot of programs.
“I think local boards are really doing a wonderful job under some extremely challenging times,” Waugh said.
To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email email@example.com.