September 2017 Column

Autumn is a great time of year.  Transitioning from summer to winter tends to result in the most pleasant temperatures in the Southwest.  It’s a time when we can reduce our dependence on air conditioning and still not be reliant on heating.  The recent moisture enables the plants to hold onto their growth season a little longer and continue to display beautiful greenery. We begin to notice the shortening of daylight as well as some crispness in the air. Fall in school seems to be the finality of summer and the time for academic instruction.  Fall activities already fill students’ and parents’ calendars.

As a former Science teacher, I’m always intrigued by the changing season as the Earth tilts on its axis to create the times of year in each hemisphere. As Americans, we tend to think the universe evolves around us and forget there is a vast world out there.  Although we celebrate Christmas in the winter, the southern hemisphere see Santa Clause in shorts during their summer month of December. The near sightedness we incur limits our ability understand the struggles throughout the globe. When you get right down to it, Science is what controls the world. It’s peculiar that we put so much emphasis on Reading and Math for academic grading when Science is the key to staying alive.  From simple machines to complex chemical compounds it is science that has allowed us to enjoy many of our current 21st Century life styles.

The Public Education Department is having regional meetings to discuss the adoption of a Science Curriculum.   As a one-time Science teacher, I’ve witnessed this train wreck from close proximity.  It is an unwinnable situation.  Science, due to its nature (no pun intended), has contrasting views on the obvious pain points of Evolution versus Creationism. Personally, I think it is a more difficult conversation for teachers in the younger grades because children rely upon their teacher for guidance.  At the secondary level, it allows great discussions IF people will approach each conversation with an open mind. I would venture to think the classroom discussion held in Hobbs, New Mexico, may be different than a similar topic in New York City. 

Communities have tremendous control over the direction subjects take and availability of materials.  When Common Core was implemented across the country, there was great consternation among people that the Federal government was taking control over local policies.  I am a firm believer that local control should always be the driving force of any decision.  Therefore, if the Federal Government was to implement a policy/standard which was contrary to our beliefs in Hobbs, we would adhere to the global thought, but ensure the message our children are taught is one that is congruent with our community morals and ethics. I believe the reason Common Core dissention has declined is the Hobbs School Board oversaw the implementation of the standards and were proactive to safeguard that our principles were adhered to without rejecting the entire set of standards. 

As we participate in the Science Curriculum debate, I think it is important to remember Hobbs Municipal Schools will abide by standards set by the State but will always be sensitive to our local community. 

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