State science exams for 3 grades axed in spring testing

According to the Chicago Tribune, the State of Illinois is negotiating with the U.S. Department of Education to eliminate science testing this Spring. Federal law requires testing at least once in grades 3 through 5, 6 thorugh 9, and 10 through 12.

State School Superintendent Christopher Koch told the Tribune that the state is planning to field-test new science questions this spring and hopes the field testing will satisfy the federal government.

NSTA Executive Director is quoted in the article raising concerns that eliminating science tests would mean less time devoted to science instruction.

“We’ve seen that happen,” more so in grade schools than high schools, said David Evans, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association. “It sounds trite, but what’s tested is taught, in our current environment.”

Click here to read the Chicago Tribune article.

Wyoming Takes First Step to Repeal Footnote Preventing State to Consider NGSS

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial support to a bill that would allow the state to consider Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) when updating K-12 science standards. According to the Casper Star Tribune, representatives voted in favor of House Bill 23, a bill that repeals last year’s budget footnote that prevented the state Board of Education from considering the K-12 standards. The bill must pass two more readings in the House before going to the Senate.

Click here to read the Casper Star Tribune article.

Wyoming Moves to Put NGSS Back on the Table

On Monday, January 19, the Wyoming House Education Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill that would remove the budget footnote passed last year barring the State Board of Education from spending money to review or adopt the NGSS. The footnote was added despite a unanimous recommendation of the state’s standards revision committee (made up of Wyoming educators) to adopt the standards. The bill will now go to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Click here to read an article published by Wyoming Public Radio.

WVBOE Votes to Put Original Version of Science Standards Back Out for Public Comment  

Charleston Gazette reporter Ryan Quinn recaps the West Virginia Board of Education vote to “withdraw changes proposed to the state’s science education standards” and put the standards back out for public comment in its original version. The vote was 6-2 with only L. Wade Linger Jr. and Thomas Campbell voting no. According to the article, a Board vote is expected in March.

As reported earlier, unknown to many, including the standards writing committees, the Board made changes to two performance expectations in the document prior to adoption that changed the intent of the original version. The changes addressed climate change. Numerous organizations rallied to restore the standards to their original version, including the National Center for Science Education, Climate Parents, West Virginia Science Teachers Association, 100 members of West Virginia University’s faculty senate, NSTA, and many local groups and individuals.

NSTA sent a letter to the Board strongly encouraging them to eliminate changes that were made to the standards prior to adoption and revert back to the original published text.

 

Click here to read the article

Click here to read NSTA’s letter

Click here to visit the WVSTA website

WVSTA Encourages Members to Support NGSS

The West Virginia Science Teachers Association (WVSTA), an NSTA State Chapter, encourages its members to take action to support the NGSS in West Virginia science standards.  The letter to members follows:

Dear Members,

Many of you may not be aware of the changes made to the Next Generation Science Standards by the WV State Board of Education.  The executive board disagrees with changing ANY of the wording in the standards which were developed over 2 years and with the direct input of West Virginia K-12 educators, higher education faculty, scientists, government agencies (NSF, NASA), and WVDE staff.

We have several responses we recommend:

  1. Visit www.WVSTA.org and read the articles to become familiar with the controversy and the statement by the board in opposition to the changes.
  2. If you also agree that the WV science standards should be restored to their original wording, please sign the online petition (we will NOT share your address or email and you can choose to hide your name).
  3. Send an e-mail to the Board at: vharris@k12.wv.us The subject should state: “Please distribute to board members.” We suggest your message to Board members could include:  “Please replace all altered content in Policy 2520.3C (Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for Science in West Virginia Schools) with the original peer-reviewed science standards written in part by West Virginia scientists and science educators.”

Finally, the WV Board of Education is meeting Wednesday, Jan. 14 and has placed this topic on the agenda. If you are in the area, please attend the public comment portion and demonstrate your support for the process by which West Virginia carefully developed these new science standards, and your objection to changes being made to the standards.

Thank you in advance. Your commitment to quality science education in West Virginia is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

 

Libby Strong, President

West Virginia Science Teachers Association

www.WVSTA.org

NSTA Encourages WV Board of Ed to Maintain Fidelity to NGSS

In a letter to the West Virginia Board of Education, NSTA encourages the members of the Board to eliminate changes that were made to the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives for Science in West Virginia Schools and revert back to the original published text. The West Virginia standards are based on the Next Generation Science Standards, but changes were made to two performance expectations prior to adoption that do not reflect the intent of the origial published NGSS document.

“NSTA supports the NGSS the way the writers wrote it because it reflects the best research in science and how students learn science. It is our hope that you will reverse the changes…so as not to compromise the work of so many science and education experts, including many science teachers in West Virginia.”

Click here to read the January 13 letter.

West Virginia Revisits Science Standards

According to a January 12 article in The New York Times, the decision by the West Virginia Board of Education to make changes to its science standards has come under fire and prompted a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 14, when the board will reconsider its action. The board could decide to go back to the original language of the standards, do nothing and move forward with the current standards, or drop the new standards altogether.

Minda Berbeco, from the National Center for Science Education, states that “they are taking the standards, they are calling it the next-generation science standards, and they are changing the composition of the science to match their own personal views,” she said. “That defeats the purpose of having standards developed by scientific advisory boards.”

The West Virginia Science Teachers Association indicates that “the science was compromised” by these modifications.

Click to here read the full article.

W.Va. Science Teachers Association criticizes global warming education changes

The West Virginia Science Teachers Association, an NSTA state chapter, is criticizing the state Board of Education’s changes to K-12 science education standards focusing on climate change, indicating that the changes compromise and misrepresent the science. 

“Climate change will be addressed in West Virginia classrooms, and teachers will continue to provide students with the data and skills they need to be informed West Virginia citizens,” WVSTA President Libby Strong wrote in a statement. “The science was compromised by these modifications to the standards, specifically by casting doubt on the credibility of the evidence-based climate models and misrepresentation of trends in science when analyzing graphs dealing with temperature changes over time.”

According to the article, WVSTA said it did not know about the changes before the news media reported on them.

Gayle Manchin, president of the school board, has called for a public discussion on the changes at the next school board meeting, to be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Charleston.

Click here to read the article in the Gazette

Click here to read the statement by the WVSTA.

Climate-Change Education Advocates Denounce ‘The False Science From West Virginia’

Many news stories, including the Huffington Post, have reported on West Virginia’s adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. As first reported in The Chaleston Gazette, “a member of the state board of education requested last year that alterations be made to a blueprint of new science standards, suggesting in particular that climate change not be treated as a “foregone conclusion.” After the state Department of Education drafted those changes and made the standards available for public comment, the SBOE voted in December to officially adopt them.”

The original standards ask students to assess the reasons for the rise in global temperatures over the past century. “The new version, however, asks students to assess the “rise and fall” in global temperatures. Additionally, while the original standards asked students to use data to make an “evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change,” the new standards ask students to assess the credibility of ‘geoscience data and the predictions made by computer climate models … for predicting future impacts on the Earth System.’”

Click here to read the full story in the Huffington Post (1-7-15)

Coalition of State Bioscience Institutes Endorses the NGSS

The Coalition of State Bioscience Institutes (CSBI), a national collation of 42 state bioscience organizations and the Biotechnology Institute, has endorsed the Next Generation Science Standards. According to the statement released on December 4, “Building the talent pool for our nation and our companies requires the development and adoption in every state of internationally-benchmarked standards for student success. We strongly support local initiatives to update science learning standards to improve student achievement including adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards, which are based on the National Research Council’s Framework for K–12 Science Education. These standards will provide all students with a coherent and content-rich science education that will prepare them for college and careers.”

Click here to read the press release