Denying Scientific Facts in the Classroom is Nothing Short of Educational Malpractice

Vice Chair Neomi Martinez-Parra

by Neomi Martinez-Parra, Vice Chair Democratic Party of New Mexico

Playing politics with educational curriculum is bad for kids, bad for jobs and bad for New Mexico. Last month, Governor Martinez’s Public Education Department unveiled politicized K-12 science education standards that ignore input from educators, scientists, parents and experts. As a teacher, I know that denying our kids information about important scientific facts is nothing short of educational malpractice, and it’s just plain wrong.

All New Mexicans should be concerned about these changes and speak out against this plan that puts New Mexico students at a huge educational and competitive disadvantage.

Our state’s economic future depends on the next generation having skills in math and science to compete in the global economy. I want my daughter to grow up with the education to do whatever she wants to do — all New Mexico children deserve that from our public education system. But these changes will put a roadblock in front of students who want to be doctors, scientists, inventors, biologists, and engineers by not preparing them for their future education and job opportunities.

The Las Cruces Sun-News (September 27, 2017) editorial was right when it condemned the idea of the proposed standards saying, “Science isn’t about finding the middle ground. It’s not about presenting a wide range of options designed to conform to various political and religious beliefs and simply letting people choose which one they are the most comfortable with. The proposed changes may soothe the feelings of those who disagree with scientific conclusions, but they will put our students at a disadvantage when competing against those from other states where the standards are more rigorous and less susceptible to political whims.”

Governor Martinez wants the New Mexico Public Education Department to remove sound science principles from our kids’ education. This sets a dangerous precedent that is a serious disservice to our kids and undermines the needs of our students, teachers, and economy.

We all want our kids to find opportunity and stay in our state. And with New Mexico’s economy moving toward technology, solar, and scientific research, we need our kids to be prepared to take those opportunities. Everyone talks about the “brain drain” being one of the biggest challenges facing our state — the Republican changes to science curriculum will only exacerbate the problem. Our economy and our young people will do better when we make smart investments in their futures, it’s clear this Republican administration is only interested in scoring political points.

I encourage everyone to protect our kids’ education by submitting a written comment against the proposed changes by the October 16th deadline so that the Public Education Department knows that parents, students, and New Mexico communities will not stand for a biased and unsound curriculum that will put New Mexico kids at a huge disadvantage.

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