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Letter To The Editor: Changes To New Mexico STEM-Ready Science Standards

on September 25, 2017 - 11:31am
By ELENA E. GIORGI
Los Alamos

New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) recently released a draft of proposed changes to New Mexico STEM-ready science standards to be voted during the hearing Oct. 16.
 
They can be read in full on the PED website (http://ped.state.nm.us/ped/PublicNotices.html), under rule 6.29.10. These proposed changes scrap facts like the age of the Earth and the fact that temperatures have been steadily rising in the past years. The word evolution has also been taken out.
 
As a mother, a scientist, and a science educator, I find such censoring alarming, disconcerting, and, frankly, hugely disappointing. This country sent a man on the Moon thanks to science. We have a rover scouting the surface of Mars thanks to science — and parts of that rover where made right here, in our very own Los Alamos.
 
Just a few weeks ago, science saved the lives of millions of people in Texas and Florida because it predicted the arrival of two massive hurricanes and people were able to evacuate and prepare. Science today saves the lives of the hundred thousand yearly new cases of breast cancer and prostate cancer thanks to advanced diagnostics.
 
I bet nobody questions the science that forecasts hurricanes or cures diseases. Yet these proposed changes cast a doubt on certain fields of science like evolution and climate change. Science is real, you don't get to pick and choose what to believe based on an ill-advised political agenda.
 
Crossing out of our standards scientifically sound and proven facts such as the age of the earth and the steady rise in temperatures not only makes us uninformed, but it dumbs down the education level of a state that's already in bad need of improvement.

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