Here's a response to one of them
The "author" has a name (/me waves to Anonymous), Doyle. While a few of your thrusts do indeed carry some truth, I am touched by the care you put into your thoughtful reply, and will take each point in turn.
It seems to me that the main problem is with this author's ignorance, poor reading comprehension, and hubris, not the standards.
I am plenty guilty of ignorance--I think any time spent with any of my hundreds of posts will show I gleefully share how little I know. My reading skills are reasonably OK for a public school teacher, but I do concede I have trouble parsing obtuse committee-speak. I draw the line at "hubris"--perhaps you meant raging egomaniac (for which I plead nolo contendre). Hubris requires more confidence than I can muster.
I don't think the author's evidently short attention span should dictate the level of complexity of the standards for K-12 science education. Did he think it would fit on a postcard?
Not sure what the point is here, but I will say this--give me a small enough font and a fine enough printer, I can fit the NGSS on the back of a postcard. I like postcards. Send me one!
Moreover, several of his comments suggest ignorance or illogical reasoning on his part, not that of the standards.
For example, the author wrote that sponges cannot move. This is incorrect. Sponges have two phases in their life cycles, one stationary and one mobile. Moreover, even stationary adults control their own structural movement.
All true, but I must confess that my point was not well-stated. To be more blunt, the definition of animal does not require the organism to move. A venus fly trap and a moss sperm both move, and neither is an animal.
Even that's not really the point--the point is that elementary school teachers will be using the standards, and as written, the standards will reinforce current biases.
The author also circled a statement about how most animals and plants use aerobic metabolism. He then complained that anaeorbic [sic] metabolism is also possible, which in no way refutes or suggests the insufficiency of the circled standard. He also complains that the standard does not discuss the production of water, but the author again seems not to have read. The standard refers to carbon-based units of energy, such that aerobic metabolism would result in CO2, but not necessarily H2O. For the latter, the input energy source would need to be a hydrocarbon. Read.
Again, I must confess to sloppiness of writing, if not to thought--the standard, as written, may reinforce prior misconceptions. I think the rest of my comment, the part explaining why tying these processes to tangible matter such as water in order to make it more real for a child, was the main point. (I live with a real writer, and she points out that it's my responsibility, not the reader's, to make the point clear, so I will work on that, dear Reader.)
Moving down the list, instincts do not require conscious thought. The author's use of a non-cognitive reflex to suggest that "non-cognitive" = "reflex" is suggestive of the author's poor reasoning skills. Then again, perhaps the author is cognitively burdened when appreciating aesthetics.
Again, the thrust of my words is about language, not science--the NGSS folks say "Some responses to information are instinctive--that is, animals' brains are organized so that they do not have to think about how to respond to certain stimuli."
The "that is" refers specifically to the preceding clause, implying that "instinctive" means "not having to think," which is, alas, too broad, and feeds the common misconception that animal responses are mechanistic.
My wife would agree that I am "cognitively burdened when appreciating aesthetics." She's more succinct. She thinks I'm a lout.
And I am. A loud, proud lout at that. But she's been working on it--I even know who Shakespeare is now.
|I'm the lout on the right.|
This nonsense continues throughout the author's whole review.
He seems not even to understand subject-verb agreement. For example, he cited a standard that reads, "Each distinct gene chiefly controls the production of specific proteins..." and then suggests that means "one gene, one protein." How is it that he doesn't comprehend "each gene" (singular) paired with "proteins" (plural)? The standard CLEARLY does not suggest "one gene, one protein." READ!
Yep, I've already had a trained geneticist from Columbia nail me on that one--I left it up to tame my raging egomania. It's good for the soul to be dead wrong on science now and again. Still, the standard implies that we know what "gene" means now--and that gets murkier as we learn more. Enlighten me.
Your point on grammar, though, needs a little refinement--I think you meant that I have issues with subject-object agreement. Email privately if you'd like a lesson.
The author might have valid feedback to offer on the draft--which is presumably the point of submitting the drafted standards for public comments--but he fails to demonstrate any such feedback in this article. In fact, I wonder if his reading comprehension is impeded with some pre-existing bias against the standards.
"The author" attempted to give feedback via the NGSS website, and found the process a bit onerous, onerous enough to fire up the ol' amygdala. I don't have a "pre-existing" bias--I have an existing, well-earned bias against Achieve, which managed to waste thousands of hours of student lives with an open-ended exam here in Jersey that was so bad it was never officially scored.I enjoy the exchange, and look forward to more.
Michael "The Author" Doyle
The first illustration is by Banksy, I think, and I believe CC, but will delete if otherwise....