Many of you are interested in how Common Core and the SBAC test may play out in the future. First, the new federal law Each Student Succeeds Act or ESSA gives more flexibility to the states to determine educational policies. So it is a step in the right direction.

Second, the SBAC test has been shortened by 30 minutes for math and by 30 minutes for English. Superintendent Ybarra has suggested not using the SBAC for high school rather using the SAT. She has also suggested that a committee be brought together to rethink our testing system. We need a testing system that does not take a lot of time, gives immediate feedback to teachers to formulate instruction, and is designed and given by Idahoans.

Finally, the Next Generation Science Standards will probably be rejected this year. The review process had some flaws so the department will re-hold hearings and get more input. I appreciate the work that Idaho teachers did on the standards.

One of the issues that I have about modern science is that it has been politicized. Science is measurable, repeatable, and verifiable. Scientific theories that rely upon historical interpretations and assumptions should be treated with much less weight than observable science that can be implemented into technology. The same can be said about science that depends upon computer models and assumptions about the future.

If anyone ever says that “it is settled science” then I know that their position is a political position being used to justify the use of government power. This must be guarded against in teaching science to our youth. Science is about continual questioning of the known and the unknown. The NGSS violated this in several instances. I hope this is rectified.