KRWG

LCPS Superintendent Position Regarding Proposed New Mexico STEM-Ready Science Standards

Oct 6, 2017

Commentary: Attached is a letter from the LCPS Superintendent that clarifies the district’s position regarding the adoption of the proposed New Mexico STEM-Ready Science Standards.

October 3, 2017

Christopher N. Ruszkowski

Acting Secretary of Education

New Mexico Public Education Department

300 Don Gaspar Ave.

Santa Fe, NM 87501

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As the state moves forward with the long-anticipated adoption of new science

standards, the Las Cruces Public Schools wishes to express concerns about key

omissions in the proposed New Mexico STEM-Ready Science Standards. As an

early adopter of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), LCPS recognizes

the need for a revised vision of science education to prepare students for college,

career and citizenship. However, there is great concern that omissions in standards

that support conceptual understanding of complex systems will have a lasting

detrimental impact on science education. The removal of terminology such as

evolution and climate change flies in the face of the evidence accepted by the

majority of the scientific community. These omissions dilute the accuracy of key

scientific concepts that may forever impact the science literacy of students.

Public schools have the responsibility to provide students with the skills required

to become critical thinkers, capable of analyzing evidence and constructing

arguments based on the evidence. Taking on topics that are controversial and

engaging with content that has multiple interpretations is key to giving students the

opportunity to participate in authentic scientific inquiry. Removing these topics

would deny New Mexico students access to scientific inquiry, examination, and

debate that is fostered among students in states across the nation. Such a policy

decision would marginalize New Mexico students and render them less able to

compete with their peers across the nation and the globe.

The Las Cruces Public Schools continues to experience success with the

implementation of rigorous science standards. In 2015, LCPS began integrating

the Next Generation Science Standards, without modification, into science

curricula in grades 6-8. Science educators and stakeholders have embraced these

changes and there has been a notable increase in student achievement in science in

the middle grades.

Adopting modified standards not only imperils the education of students, but

potentially the economic future of our state. New Mexico can never hope to

improve quality of education, and in turn quality of life, if the state implements

policies that drive away industry and leave residents with fewer opportunities for

high wage employment.

Christopher N. Ruszkowski

On behalf of the students of New Mexico, now and future, we implore you to

provide them with access to science education that is afforded to students across

the nation. Maintain the integrity of science education by ensuring the NGSS

standards are adopted as designed, without omission of key scientific concepts.

This letter was unanimously approved by the Las Cruces Board of Education on

October 3, 2017.

Respectfully,

Sra. Maria Flores

President

Las Cruces Board of Education 575.527.5807

sraflores@lcps.net gewing@lcps

Gregory Ewing, Ed.D.

Superintendent