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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Op-ed: Let science educators build new science standards | Deseret News

Photo: John R. Taylor
John R. Taylor, serves as president of the Utah Science Teachers Association. He is also an Associate Professor of Biology and Assistant Dean for Integrative Learning at Southern Utah University notes, "As Utah begins the process of revising the state science standards for elementary and high school, it’s a good idea to take a moment to ask why we teach science to K–12 students at all?"

University of Utah graduate Margarita Ruiz teaches during a class at Bryant Middle School in Salt Lake City on Monday, May 22, 2017. 
Photo: Alex Goodlett, Deseret News

Science, engineering and the resulting technologies are interwoven into our lives and will be integral in meeting humanity’s most pressing future challenges. National data illustrate the need for highly skilled workers with strong backgrounds in these fields and the need is steadily increasing. 

Finally, the Utah Science Teachers Association believes that all citizens should have a scientifically based understanding of the natural world in order to engage meaningfully in public discussions, be informed voters and discerning consumers. 

Problems arise when nonscience ideals impede the teaching and learning of science, either through the use of pseudoscience or the avoidance of topics because they are politically charged. This unfortunately occurred, to no avail, during the process of developing the sixth-eighth grade SEEd standards with regard to evolution and climate change, in particular. 

Let me be clear: Every major scientific organization in the country — indeed, around the world — is on record as firmly asserting the scientific credibility of evolution and anthropogenic influence on climate change. 

Science teachers have a professional responsibility to teach science topics as understood by the scientific community, as both the National Science Teachers Association and its state affiliate, the Utah Science Teachers Association, recognize. Furthermore, the UtSTA adamantly feels nonscience topics have no place in science classrooms.

State science standards play an important guiding role. 
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Source: Deseret News

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