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caption: Teachers and community members spoke against - but mostly in favor of - Amplify Science, the district's frontrunner K-8 science curriculum.
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Teachers and community members spoke against - but mostly in favor of - Amplify Science, the district's frontrunner K-8 science curriculum.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Seattle Public Schools approves contentious Amplify Science curriculum

The Seattle School Board has voted to adopt a controversial new elementary and middle school science curriculum.

At a packed board meeting that stretched late into Wednesday night, teachers and students testified that the curriculum Amplify Science makes the subject accessible to marginalized students.

Anastasia Sanchez is head of the science department at Denny Middle School.

"The weight of your decision will determine whether some students have a career in science or not," Sanchez told the board.

But some board members questioned whether the curriculum puts too much emphasis on online learning, and not enough on hands-on labs.

They asked whether it was worth investing so much in a curriculum on the hunch that it would boost science test scores for low-income students and children of color.

The board approved a last-minute amendment that requires a district analysis after four years to see whether the curriculum is boosting student performance.

Directors Rick Burke and Scott Pinkham voted against Amplify at all grade levels.

Director Eden Mack said “no” at the elementary level, citing the five-million-dollar price tag for teacher training.

This may not be the final word on Amplify Science.

A former science teacher has asked the State Auditor’s Office to look into the district’s competitive bidding process.