Archive for December, 2014

Keep an eye on Collier County

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

A group of concerned citizens in Collier County, led by school board member Kelly Lichter, is taking on the self-appointed task of reviewing textbooks their school district uses. Here’s a news story about their efforts (be sure to watch the video). And here is their website (Southwest Florida Citizens’ Alliance). I don’t see anything directly related to science education in the story or on the group’s website, but there are a few references to initiatives and their topics of concern that have religious themes that could easily spill over into science education. It seems their main focus is on stopping common core and getting the federal government out of local government. It’s worth keeping an eye on them.

Florida Science News

Friday, December 26th, 2014

I just read this very interesting article published in Science Daily by the University of Texas Austin that was researched by scientist working on several Islands located just off the coast of Florida. This latest study is one of only a few well-documented examples of what evolutionary biologists call “character displacement,” in which similar species competing with each other evolve differences to take advantage of different ecological niches.   Scientists have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species — in as little as 15 years — as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species, introduced from Cuba.

Science Standards revision schedule

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Instandards picformation about the Florida science standards revision process is available at this FloridaSTEM website. There is a video and some downloadable documents there.

The important future fireworks dates to mark on your calendars:

  • June 2016 — draft of standards released for public input.
  • November 2016 — state board of education considers approval.

It would seem that the sequence of planned events (selection of framers, selection of writers, writers developing draft standards, etc.) makes it clear that the “national” Next Generation Science Standards are not being seriously considered for adoption here in Florida.

Dr. Dino’s new trial in January

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

News update: Trial for ‘Dr. Dino’ moved to January

A Pensacola evangelist accused of attempting to block government sales of his forfeited property will stand trial in January.

Kent Hovind, known as “Doctor Dino” for his views on creation and a biblical/dinosaur-themed amusement park, originally was scheduled to face a federal jury Monday on multiple counts of fraud. His trial was rescheduled to Jan. 5 so Hovind could be tried simultaneously with his co-defendant, Paul John Hansen.

Article in Florida Scientist journal

Monday, December 1st, 2014

The latest issue of the Florida Academy of Sciences‘ journal, Florida Scientist, was recently published and it was a special edition highlighting “citizen science programs in Florida.” I was invited to write an article about Florida Citizens for Science, which appears starting on page 230. Unfortunately, the journal doesn’t have any significant Internet presence, so I can’t link to anything useful. But if you are a member of the Florida Academy, look for my article!