Dr. Lynn Soreghan is a geologist at the University of Oklahoma. She studies what’s called deep time climate, basically we’re talking about Earth’s climate from hundreds of millions of years ago. She does it by studying ancient dust that has now solidified and become rock.
In this video she talks about why she loves geology, what ancient dust particles tell you about climate of the past, and what she thinks about the state of science education in Oklahoma. You can really see at the 2:52 mark as she tries to find the words to describe her frustration with some of the meddling that goes on in science education in our state.
I wrote previously about Senate bill 665. Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-District 6) says he wants to help teachers with controversial topics (essentially, science that he doesn’t like) but really it’s just an anti-science bill.
Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education has a fantastic post on why this is a bad bill. They call it a “sham” and point out that “no teacher group or scientific organization supports this bill“. In a nutshell, the OESE says this about the proposed bill, “In effect this bill would encourage students to simply reject parts of science they don’t happen to like. This will clearly confuse our students about the nature of science, inhibit their ability to understand important scientific issues facing society, and reduce their competitiveness for science related jobs.” Very well said.
The OESE will be tracking this bill as it makes its way through the legislature. They say the best way to stop it is by contacting the committee members where the bill will first be heard. Once those names are announced the OESE will post their names and contact information on their website.
This is super-duper important. Our state cannot afford to have bills like this become law.
A bill has been proposed in the Oklahoma senate that is, without a doubt, anti-science. Senate bill 665 was written by Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-District 6). The bill would create what Sen. Brecheen calls the Oklahoma Science Education Act. A bunch of words that say one thing but mean something entirely different.
SB 665 would force school districts and the state to “assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.” The bill does not mention what those controversies may be but, when you understand Sen. Brecheen’s history, it’s very clear evolution and climate change are two of his targets.
The National Center for Science Education has a good write up on Sen. Brecheen’s attempts to give biology teachers a way out of teaching evolution.
This all follows the roadmap set forth in the Wedge Document. It was a campaign introduced in the late 90’s by the Discovery Institute. The point of the Wedge Document is to show how a wedge can and should be driven between public opinion and policy makers to create a more theistic approach to science education, specifically evolution.
You can contact Senator Brecheen at email@example.com. Please let him know that Oklahoma needs more science education and less interference from lawmakers.
I have previously written about Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education but I wanted to post a little more. Click the video below to hear from Dr. Victor Hutchison. He’s a past-president of the OESE and the George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma.
He talks about OESE’s mission and why it was originally formed. The main goal, he says, is to protect teachers and students from lawmakers and lobbyists who try to suppress scientific knowledge. Dr. Hutchison says, “We hate to see the anti-science movement because it really prevents our students from getting the proper education in today’s competitive world.”
Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education recently hosted a workshop for science teachers from Oklahoma and Texas. The teachers were given a first hand account of how the climate is changing and some of the best ways to teach it to their students. They were also given an update on various state laws that regulate how certain science topics are taught. I don’t understand why this is so controversial….wait a minute, yeah, it’s all about politics and money. There’s no doubt the climate is changing across the globe. The big question now is what are we going to do about it? I just hope it’s not too late.
Thanks to the OESE for letting me drop in on the workshop. Here’s a little story about my visit.
Apparently science education in Oklahoma is not very good. News On 6 in Tulsa reports that most schools in the eastern part of the state were given D’s and F’s for science education. The article doesn’t address why science education is so poor other than to say the teachers are learning a new way to teach science, a more hands-on approach.
What do you think? How do you feel about your child’s science education? One goal of this blog is to see how scientists feel about the state of science education in Oklahoma. We’ll talk to scientists and researchers for their opinions but I want to know yours. Send me an email to scienceisok (at) outlook (dot) com.
If you can spare $10 here’s a great way to support science education in Oklahoma. Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education promotes and protects science education in our public schools. They also sponsor continuing education for our science teachers. I can’t think of a better way to support science in Oklahoma.