So how does it feel to work for more than a year to produce a set of "world class" science standards, only to have others come behind you and insert words you never would have used yourself?
Disappointing, says Janet Acerra, a teacher at Forest Lakes Elementary in Oldsmar who served on the committee that wrote Florida’s new science standards.
"I understand the political pressure," Acerra said. "But I wonder when we’ll put our children’s need to be the best they can be ahead of political correctness."
The Board of Education approved the standards 4-3 Tuesday, but not without agreeing to add language that clearly identifies every scientific concept – including evolution – as either a law or a theory. The result: Gravity is a law. Evolution is a theory.
Would Acerra have approved the standards with the changes? "No. I would have said, ‘Let’s return to the table and keep working.’ Unfortunately, government doesn’t work that way."
Besides worrying about whether students will be shortchanged, Acerra, a National Board Certified teacher, wonders how the revised standards will strike groups that had applauded them in their original form, such as the Fordham Institute.
"When they saw the document we produced, those organizations that previously had graded us with F’s were coming close to giving us A’s," Acerra said. "This version may not be viewed in that same way."
- Donna Winchester, Pinellas education reporter