ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico’s new Secretary of Education is proposing changing the way kids learn science. The teachers union says the Public Education Department is promoting “junk science.” The education secretary says the new STEM-ready standards will get students ready for the 21st century economy.

“The STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These standards get them ready for the 21st century the way our standards in the past decades just haven’t done,” said Christopher Ruszkowski.

Ruszkowski said the Next Generation Science Standards focuses more on getting students ready for the modern workforce like lessons in robotics. 26 states have passed similar standards. Critics are claiming Ruszkowski changed the model used by other states.

“These standards that PED is proposing is taking that out and they’re saying fluctuations in the climate. It’s politically motivated, it’s not motivated by what’s best in the field,” said Stephanie Ly, President of the New Mexico Teachers Union.

She claims PED is moving education in the wrong direction.

“It’s not debating whether students should learn all the different sides of the story, they really should, but the fact is that there’s a truth and there’s junk science,” she said.

KRQE News 13 asked the secretary if he was taking out teaching evolution and climate change in schools.

“There’s been science standards in New Mexico now for over a decade and our teachers have always had the access to adapt to their local needs and their local context,” he said.

Last spring, the governor vetoed a bi-partisan bill that would have implemented the new science standards. Instead, the new secretary made changes to those standards. He now wants to by-pass the legislature and implement the system on his own.

Secretary Ruszkowski said the door is still open for changes. Public comment will be held on October 16.