Kentucky Governor Moves Forward with NGSS

KYgovNews reports  indicate Kentucky Governor, Steve Beshear, will override a vote by the state’s Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee that voted 5-1 on September 11 to reject the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In a statement reported by the Courier-Journal, “Governor Beshear fully supports the science standards adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education and is disappointed that the … subcommittee did not approve them today.”

In a press release issued by Kentucky Education Commission Terry Holiday, more than 3,700 comments were received in favor of the standards, and less than two hundred opposed. In addition, 70 state and national groups have endorsed the NGSS, including NSTA.

Click here to read a news story by the Courier-Journal.

Click here to read the press release by Terry Holiday.

(Photo credit:  2011 AP file photo by Ed Reinke, published in Courier Journal)


California’s Decisions Show That NGSS Is State Driven

By Ted Willard, Director of NGSS@NSTA

The California State Board of Education unanimously adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) this week, making it the sixth state to do so. The decision not only represents a move forward for evidence-based science instruction but also highlights the control and flexibility individual states have in terms of the NGSS.

The NGSS was developed by states and was designed for states. Despite erroneous claims that NGSS (and the Common Core) are unfair mandates from the federal government. California was one of twenty-six states that oversaw the development of NGSS and they made decisions about its structure.

These lead states collectively made decisions about the overall scope and structure of the standards. For example, they agreed that while the standards should specify what students must learn each year in the elementary grades, states should have flexibility in what topics are studied each year in middle school and high school.

Some educators believe that students are best served when they study some life science, some Earth science, and some physical science each year. Such an approach allows simpler ideas in each discipline to be studied in earlier grades and more complex ideas in each discipline to be studied in later grades. Topics can be sequenced to build upon and one another over several grades. In addition, this approach presents students with the full variety of science every year.

Others believe that students are best served when they focus on a particular topic every year. as this allows students to see the coherence of ideas within that discipline. In addition, since teachers often have expertise in one discipline but not others, this approach makes it more likely that students are taught by someone with a deep conceptual understanding of the topic.

My point here isn’t about which of these approaches is best; both have their merits. Instead, I want to point out that the developers of NGSS recognized that these decisions are better left to the states. Appendix K of the standards provides model course maps for either of these configurations. More important, the appendix walks through the process of how the NGSS writers developed the model course maps so that states would have guidance about how to do the process themselves.

What does this have to do with California? The board deferred until November on deciding the sequencing of science topics in middle school. Currently in California, the sixth grade curriculum focuses on Earth science, the seventh grade curriculum focuses on life science, and eighth grade curriculum focuses on physical science. A panel of experts in the state recommended an integrated approach where students in each grade would study some of each discipline.

To reiterate the point: When a state chooses to adopt NGSS, THE STATE IS MAKING A CHOICE. NO ONE IS MAKING THE STATE DO ANYTHING.

Furthermore, when the state chooses to adopt NGSS, there are many other choices that must be made. One of these is to choose how courses will be structured in middle school. But there are other choices as well about assessments, professional development, and curriculum materials.

Choosing NGSS is just the first step in a process that can lead better instruction for all students.

So I congratulate California for choosing to adopt NGSS, and I am happy for the students in California because regardless of whether they are taught only one science discipline each year of middle school or a blend of several disciplines each year, they will now have the opportunity to study science more deeply with these standards.

I encourage other states to make the same choice for the benefit of their children.

California Joins List of States Adopting NGSS


On September 4, California became the 6th state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards after a unanimous vote by the State Board of Education. A timeline and plan for implementation will be decided in the coming months. The State Board did not make a decision about middle school standards and if they should be taught by discipline–earth science in 6th grade, life science in 7th grade, and physical science in 8th grade–or revamped into new integrated science courses.

Click here to read a blog post by Ed Week’s Erik Robelen.

Click here for a news article by Ed Source.

Click here to read the press release by the California Department of Education.



Get the Free Next Generation Science Standards App


NSTA is excited to announce, in partnership with MasteryConnect, a free app for the Next Generation Science Standards.

MasteryConnect, the makers of the most downloaded app for the Common Core (with over 700,000 downloads), has created a great way to get the standards in the palm of your hand … through an app on your tablet or mobile device.

The Next Generation Science Standards app gives you multiple ways to view the standards including DCI and Topic arrangements, and also includes convenient search functionality. The app also makes referencing standards in the Common Core simple by providing a linkage between the NGSS App and MasteryConnect’s Common Core App.

As part of the partnership with MasteryConnect, NSTA is providing additional free resources within the app, including several articles from NSTA’s peer reviewed journals, and free chapters from its line of NGSS-related titles, including The NSTA Reader’s Guide to the Next Generation Science Standards and Science for the Next Generation: Preparing for the New Standards.

You can download the Next Generation Science Standards app (as well as MasteryConnect’s other free apps) by searching “MasteryConnect” or “Next Generation Science Standards” in your app store or visiting the iOS Store or Android Marketplace. Look for the app to be available in the Windows Store soon.

AAPT Urges Adoption and Implementation of NGSS

AAPT - American Association of Physics Teachers

The American Association of Physics Teachers issued a statement on July 29 urging adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Following is an except from that statement:

“The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) supports the adoption and implementation of common, nationwide science education standards to provide a coherent science and engineering education program for all K-12 students, not just those aiming for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. The Association supports the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as a guide for the development of assessments for grade-level and grade-band measures of student performance in science and engineering and the Association urges states to adopt and implement the NGSS.”

To read the full statement:


Maryland and Vermont Adopt NGSS

On June 25, 2013, the state boards of education in Maryland and Vermont voted unanimously to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), bringing the number of states to formally adopt NGSS to five (Rhode Island, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Vermont). Full implementation in Maryland’s public schools is expected to be completed in time for the 2017–18 school year. In a press release Vermont Governor Shumlin stated, “I hear often from Vermont businesses struggling to fill positions due to the lack of applicants skilled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The Next Generation Science Standards help address these gaps and keep Vermont’s schools on the leading edge nationwide.”

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NSTA Responds to Fordham Institute Report on Next Generation Science Standards

Arlington, Va. June 13, 2013 — NSTA issued a statement regarding the release of a report by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute on the Next Generation Science Standards.

“The National Science Teachers Association strongly disagrees with the opinions of the Fordham Institute regarding the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS contains rigorous and substantive science content that will give all students the skills and knowledge they need to be informed citizens, college ready, and prepared for careers in a workforce that now considers science skills and knowledge to be basic and fundamental requirements. We also applaud the NGSS writers for maintaining a teachable number of core ideas.  If fully implemented, we believe the majority of students will leave high school with a far greater understanding and working knowledge of science than is currently being achieved.

To read the full statement:

Kentucky becomes second state to adopt NGSS

On June 5, the Kentucky state board of education voted to approve the Next Generation Science Standards to be Kentucky Core Academic Standards for Science (Science KCAS). The science standards must now move through the legislative review process and are not considered final until this process has concluded. For more information:

Rhode Island is First State to Adopt NGSS

On May 23, 2013, Rhode Island become the first state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) after a unanimous vote on by the members of the state’s Board of Education.

“Rhode Island is proud to be the first to forge a new path for science education as both a leading state in the development and the first state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards,” said Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist. “The new standards will make sure our students are exposed to rigorous science content and that they learn critical and contextual thinking skills needed to be prepared for college, career and life in the 21st century global economy.”

The NGSS establish educational goals that can give K–12 students the skills and knowledge they need to be informed citizens, college ready, and prepared for STEM careers.