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Education Chairman Doesn't Expect Major Changes To Kentucky Science Standards

MC1 Charlemagne Obana

The chair of the Kentucky Board of Education doesn’t expect the controversy over newly-adopted science standards to lead to a change in those standards before they're implemented.

The Next Generation Science Standards were developed by an independent consortium of 26 states, including Kentucky, and are part of Kentucky’s 2009 education reforms. They will update what students will be expected to learn in science.The standards are based around updated scientific research and include more lessons around climate change and evolution--among many other topics--and that has drawn criticism from some. The state education board will get recommendations this week--formally called the Statement of Consideration--from education department officials, who have considered public comments for their report.  A spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education says they received thousands of comments--mostly written--last month from residents, many who were upset about the teaching of evolution and climate change. KDE also heard public testimony, which can be viewed here. The comments drew national headlines, but KBE chairman David Karem says it would be unusual for the state board to make large changes to the standards at this point. “I would not expect there to be changes to the major fundamental portions of the regs because the standards were developed by 26 states,” he tells WFPL. Karem says it’s not unusual to make changes technical changes to something that “needs attention,” but he often says those are technical and procedural issues. If the board approves the report it goes to the legislature for final approval. The appropriate committees can approve the standards or they can find them deficient, according to KDE officials. At any time during the process, KBE can defer, withdraw or reconsider the standards. The governor can also decide to move forward with implementation.