SANTA FE – Hundreds jammed into a crowded auditorium Monday and waited up to seven hours to urge state officials to abandon proposed science education standards during a chaotic public meeting interrupted at one point by a fire alarm.
Scientists, teachers, university professors and faith leaders demanded that the New Mexico Public Education Department adopt a nationwide set of teaching standards called the Next Generation Science Standards without changes proposed by the agency last month. Not one speaker expressed support for the PED’s proposed changes.
“I came here thinking there would be some controversy,” Dr. David Ewing, an Albuquerque physician, told a hearing officer after more than six hours of testimony. “I didn’t hear a single argument against adopting the NGSS standards (without the PED changes.) Where are the people who favor this stuff?”
The teaching standards posted on the PED’s website last month were based on the Next Generation Science Standards, or NGSS, published in 2013 by a consortium of states and the National Academy of Sciences. But the PED’s proposal contains changes to the NGSS. The standards as written have been adopted by 18 states and the District of Columbia.