Letter: A flawed case against science standards

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
A flawed case against science standards

Ann Marie Banfield’s essay on NextGen (Sunday Monitor Forum, April 16) is a self-serving distortion of the facts in several areas. First, she implies that New Hampshire school enrollment is dropping because more parents are choosing alternatives. Overall, New Hampshire K-12 enrollment in both public, private and charter schools is down from its all-time high in the early 2000s. Demographics, not ideology, is driving the decrease.

Her claim that Gov. Chris Sununu campaigned and won on the issue of scrapping Common Core is an exaggeration; opposition to CC is standard issue for nearly every GOP candidate in the country.

Banfield’s claims regarding NextGen standards rely on a Fordham Institute review, which gave the new standards a “C+” grade. Fordham, however, makes plain its own preference for a different kind of science education – one that relies on the regurgitation of facts rather than on doing science. It’s a difference in philosophy.

There is a long list of business, industry and science groups that support the NextGen Standards. It should count for something in any discussion of science standards.

Finally, Banfield belongs to an organization reflexively opposed to any national standards for education, as do the two individuals she mentions who “examined” NextGen. Therein lies Banfield’s (and Commissioner Frank Edelblut’s) real objection. Add to this the fact the standards contain no mention of “creation science” and give climate science the attention it deserves, and the far-right has one more hobbyhorse to ride.