Nashua Telegraph: Nashua BOE proceeds with science standards pilot

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Nashua Telegraph reporter Tina Forbes did a great piece on the debate about the Next Generation Science Standards Monday night on the Nashua State Board of Education.  It’s full of quotes from both sides of the issue and highlights the importance of clarity at the state level.

Teachers led the push for the new science standards, but everyone weighed in.  The whole piece is important but here are some of the telling quotes:

I want to make sure we have enough time as a community to think about this before we make a vote,” Murotake said at the board meeting on Monday.

Nashua High School South student Ben Telerski advocated for the standards.

As a student, the Next Generation Science Standards seem to be exactly what’s needed,” he said, noting the state Board of Education voted not to review science standards until 2022. So I don’t know why this discussion is even happening.

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Pennichuck Middle School parent Pam Jordan said she is personally invested in adopting the standards since her daughter wants to become a conservationist.

I’m very excited about the way that it’s set up – that it promotes critical thinking – and while kids will still be memorizing facts, the point is to put those facts into practice,” she said.

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NGSS has its good points and its bad points,” [Murotake] said. The detractors of NGSS have gone so far as to call it ‘junk science.’

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Hallowell said the board waited on buying textbooks to adopt the standards first.

Rest assured, this is a political motion, he said.

After board discussion, members suspended meeting rules to allow Janosik to speak again.

I really couldn’t sleep tonight if some of the misconceptions were left on the table,” she said.

The standards aren’t a curriculum, and they aren’t connected with the Common Core, she said.

They were written independently, Janosik said. They were written by a framework from the National Research Council.”

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Board President George Farrington disagreed with the delay, saying it was “political maneuvering.”

For the last 18 months, I’ve heard, ‘Concord can’t tell us what to do,’ and now we have a change in leadership in Concord and we have to wait for the ‘white smoke’ up there to see what we can do, Farrington said.

The teachers are here tonight, and they’re saying, ‘This is what we want to do,’ and we’re saying, ‘We need to check it out because we’re better informed about it.’ “

Oden suggested rephrasing the motion to allow for a pilot of NGSS. Hallowell rephrased the motion, with amendments from Sandra Ziehm and Howard Coffman, resulting in a new motion:

“The Nashua Board of Education supports an NGSS pilot in the 2017-2018 school year and the school district shall not formally adopt the standards until the conclusion and evaluation of the pilot.”

The motion passed 8-0, with Ziehm absent from the room.