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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • New standards draw little local complaint

  • Angie McDonald, director of instruction for the McPherson school district, said residents have historically had objections whenever the district updates its science standards.
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  • Angie McDonald, director of instruction for the McPherson school district, said residents have historically had objections whenever the district updates its science standards.
    However, McDonald said the latest updates passed with relatively little complaint.
    Kansas adopted the latest standards, called the Next Generation Science Standards, on June 11. Since then, a lawsuit has been filed against the standards, saying it violates students' religious freedom because of the way it teaches evolution and climate change.
    McDonald said she has not heard any such complaints from McPherson residents. She also said the changes go beyond evolution.
    “In the past, we've had huge amounts of content,” McDonald said. “We need to teach more concepts so they can apply what they learn.”
    McDonald said the new standards cut back on some content and put a greater emphasis on scientific practices. She said science classes will now focus more in-depth on specific topics rather than teaching a little about a lot of topics during the year.
    “The goal is that students can master these concepts in that grade level,” McDonald said.
    The standards were created by the National Governor's Association and have been adopted by several states throughout the country. Similar standards have been created for other subjects, such as English and social studies.
    Though the science standards have drawn little local complaint, McDonald said new English standards have upset some teachers.
    The English standards put less emphasis on novels and more on information gathering and sharing.
    “A lot of teachers have novels they've been teaching for years,” McDonald said. “It's hard for them to give them up.”
    McDonald said the old science standards will be in effect for the 2013-2014 school year. Teachers will be trained in the new standards during summer 2014, and the new standards will take effect the following fall.
    Contact Josh Arnett by email at jarnett@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @ArnettSentinel.
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