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Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, Inc. is a non-profit educational organization that promotes the education of the public about the methods and values of science and advocates excellence in the science curriculum. Activities include participation in educational and scientific organization conferences, workshops for science teachers, operation of a speakers' bureau, and related activities.
The formation of OESE was prompted by the attempts in the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee in 1999 to diminish the teaching of evolution by the introduction of creationist textbook disclaimers to be inserted into any textbook used in public schools that discussed evolution. There have been bills introduced almost every year since 1999 for legislation that would allow teaching creationism in science courses; OESE has opposed all such attempts.
Join OESEOESE is seeking members. Memberships are available for $10. Please print and fill out the OESE membership application and mail to the address indicated on the form. Tax-deductable donations are also welcomed. Further info in the OESE brochure.
Climate changeRecognizing the increased attention climate change education has received in recent years, OESE has added an emphasis on the support of the teaching of climate science in public schools. To that end, we have added links to climate change and climate change denial sites. Many of the recent bills that have attacked the teaching of evolution in the public schools have also included attacks on climate science. We have also added a section on climate and earth science on our teaching resources page.
Pie-chart useful in communicating scientific consensus on Climate Change
Governor Fallin approves the state's adoption of the new Oklahoma Academic Skills for Science
Anti-science bills in 2014 Oklahoma Legislature
Governor Fallin signed HB3399 on June 5. despite massive opposition from many groups, including Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE), Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA), Oklahoma Business & Education Coalition (OBEC), Oklahoma PTA, Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Math (OCTM), Stand for Children Oklahoma, United Suburban Schools Association, ExpectMoreOK.org, State Chamber of Oklahoma, Tulsa Regional Chamber, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Collaborative for Student Success, and others. Two retired Air Force Generals, former commanders at Tinker Air Force Base held a press conference urging Governor Fallin to veto HB3399. Two former Georgia Governors, who supported the development of CC, published a 'Point of View' column in The Oklahoman on 4 June ('Oklahoma should keep education reform effort'). Numerous messages were sent to the Governor's office by individuals. Thanks to all who sent messages to the Governor. We really appreciate your help. There may be legal challenges to the bill.
OESE and OSTA Press Release in response to Senators Sykes and Brecheen
Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education
Oklahoma Science Teachers Association
For Immediate Release: May 28th, 2014
Science Advocacy Groups Respond to Recent Statements from Senators Sykes and Brecheen.
In a May 23rd Press Release, Senator Anthony Sykes (R-Moore) and Senator Josh Brecheen (R-Coalgate) extol the virtues of House Bill 3399, which repeals the Oklahoma Academic Standards for English/Language Arts and math, which are based on the Common Core State Standards. Besides containing a number of factual errors the release also raises a number of questions concerning the new Oklahoma Academic Skills for Science that Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE) and the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA) cannot allow to go unaddressed.
Are Oklahoma's science standards the product of federal government and out-of-state interest groups?
The Oklahoma Academic Skills for Science (OASS) were developed by a committee of more than 50 Oklahoma science educators, scientists, engineers, business professionals and laypersons in a process that took over a year to complete. The process included a system of review and content vetting that involved an additional 450 people from school systems, universities, business organizations, and industry.
Did the group that created the standards base their work on Next Generation Science Standards?
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) served as a model for the new OASS, but for good reason. NGSS is the product of a five-year, privately produced effort to bring the best of what is known about high-quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education together in one document for the voluntary use by states to improve science instruction and scientific understanding. They were developed to be 21st Century standards for 21st Century science students. NGSS is not a federal program and many states are actively engaged in adopting them in total, including our neighboring state of Kansas.
Will going back to previous Oklahoma science standards mean going back to standards created by Oklahomans for Oklahomans?
Previous versions of the Oklahoma Science Standards were also heavily influence by the national standards projects of their time. The science Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) were based on the 1990's production of Science for All Americans from the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and the National Research Council's National Science Standards. When writing science standards, PASS authors would have been negligent to not use these tools when trying to define what is best for Oklahoma science students.
Does OASS heavily promote global warming alarmism, as has been argued?
OASS standards contain very little in the way of standards about climate or climate change and certainly nothing that could be construed to promote global warming alarmism. The mechanisms of climate and weather are the focus of the OASS discussion and the understanding of those mechanisms are derived through data. The OASS writing team and subsequent advisory panels went to great lengths to insure the standards were free of politicization. Global Climate Change itself is not an area of study in upper grades of the Oklahoma Academic Skills for Science and lower grades concentrate on developing understandings of weather and it's relationship within climate.
It's been said the rejected science standards did not prepare students for work in STEM fields. Is that true?
Engineering design and STEM integration is a major theme throughout the OASS standards and an attractive feature that sets the stage for the possibility of someday developing quality STEM integration program for children across the state of Oklahoma.
As organizations dedicated to advancing the cause of quality science education, OSTA and OESE believe that well designed standards are the starting point for building rigorous and demanding science curriculum and instruction. The new Oklahoma Academic Skills for Science certainly fit these criteria. We invite Senator Sykes and Senator Brecheen to join us in developing the training and finding the resources to bring the vision of exceptional STEM curriculum and instruction to fruition for all Oklahoma children.
For more information contact:
Dr. Joseph Maness, OESE President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Melton, OSTA Communications Chair, email@example.com
Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education, Inc. is a non-profit educational organization that promotes the education of the public about the methods and values of science and advocates excellence in the science curriculum. Activities include participation in educational and scientific organization conferences, workshops for science teachers, operation of a speakers' bureau, and related activities. www.oklascience.org
The Oklahoma Science Teachers Association is the statewide professional association specifically addressing the interests and concerns of science teachers. OSTA is a state affiliate of the National Science Teachers Association
Updated Oklahoma Standards for Science upheld
Last year's HB1674, the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act by Blackwell and Kern, which passed the Common Education Committee by a vote of 9-8 last year but was not heard on the House Floor, was added to this year's House Floor agenda on February 18. Representative Blackwell has filed two floor amendments to the bill. One updates the year that the bill would take affect, and the other removes the specific mention of controversial subjects (evolution, climate change, etc.) in the bill. This follows the tactics used by Senator Brecheen (who is Senate sponsor of the bill) for his SB 1765 in that the bills are getting shorter and more obscure as to what the bill is really about. The bill passed the House, but was not heard by the Senate Education Committee before the April 3 deadline. Thanks to all that sent messages in opposition.
See last year's analysis of the bill for more information. Commentary against the bill is available from the NCSE and from Okie Funk. Commentary on the bill's defeat at Sensuous Curmudgeon and NCSE.
SB 1765 dead
Senator Josh Brecheen has introduced SB 1765, the "Oklahoma Science Education Act". The bill is almost identical to last year's SB 758 encouraging teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies. Unlike last year, there is no list of these scientific controversies, but all the code words of creationist legislation are included. Brecheen's SB 758 died in committee last year. Analysis of the bill by OESE's Richard Broughton can be found here. Further information is available at the NCSE web site and Okie Funk.
The American Institute of Biological Sciences has sent a letter in opposition to SB1765 to all members of the Senate Education Committee, as did the National Association of Biology Teachers. More coverage from the NCSE.
The bill was not heard in the Senate Education Committee before the February 24 deadline for bills to be heard in committee. The bill is currently marked as dormant. Thanks to all who voiced opposition to the bill to the committee. Numbers do count.
Second Teachers' Workshop On Climate Change & Variability.
Second Annual Oklahoma Evolution Road Trip
Congratulations to OESE board members
Thank you, DELTA Foundation
Darwin videos on YouTube
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL OESE TEACHERS WORKSHOP
The OKEVOL-L List Serve was established to alert and inform
all interested parties in the evolution/creationism debate in
Oklahoma. Messages will be sent only with approval of the list
managers so that traffic will be kept to a minimum. Information on
proposed legislative actions dealing with attempts to place
creationist materials into public schools, important scheduled public
meetings or debates on evolution/creationism, and any significant
other news items dealing with these issues or related items on
attempts at inappropriate or unconstitutional censorship will be
sent to subscribers.
Clergy Letter Project: All clergy members are encouraged to go to this link to sign the nationwide outpouring of support for teaching evolution. For too long, the misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and conflict concerning the teaching of evolution. The project is also described at the link.
OESE Joins Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science.
If you have questions about the website, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org