State Legislators Attempt to Halt Adoption of the NGSS

Recent news articles highlight political attempts to derail new science standards because of science content, such as climate change. In March, Wyoming’s legislature passed a bill preventing the Department of Education from spending money to review or adopt the NGSS despite a unanimous recommendation of the state’s standards revision committee (made up of Wyoming educators) to adopt the standards. NSTA sent the Department of Education a letter encouraging them to adopt the standards.

  • Click here to read The New York Times article: “Science Standards Divide a State Built on Coal and Oil” (May 18, 2014)
  • Click here to read an article in the Sheridan Press: “Board of Ed. continues review of Next Generation Science Standards” (April 30, 2014)
  • Click here to read NSTA’s letter to the Wyoming State Board of Education.

Last week in Ohio, a key piece of legislation (HB 487) which would prohibit the state from adopting science and social studies standards not developed in Ohio was approved by a Senate committee. NSTA is encouraging Ohio supporters of science to speak up and reject this language.

  • Click here to read an article on Cleveland.com: “Legislation positions Ohio to dial back support for Common Core state standards” (May 20, 2014)
  • Click here to read NSTA’s letter to Ohio science educators.

And in Oklahoma, a joint resolution in the House  which would reject the state department of education’s rules implementing Oklahoma’s new science standards, was passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 55-31 vote on May 21, 2014. The effort was stymied on May 23 when the Oklahoma legislature adjourned without action.

  • Click here to read an article in the Tulsa World (May 22, 2014)
  • Click here to read an update by the National Center for Science Education (May 23, 2014)

Other interesting reads:

  • Huffington Post article by Bill Chameides:States of Denial: We Don’t Need No Climate Education” (May 21, 2014)
  • Education Week blog by Liana Heitin:”Pushback’ to the Common Science Standards: Real or Overblown?”  (May 20, 2014)

NSTA Urges Ohio Educators to Contact State Legislators to Support NGSS; Say “No” to HB 487

On May 20, a key piece of legislation (HB 487) which would prohibit the state from adopting science and social studies standards not developed in Ohio was approved by a Senate committee.   HB 487 “blocks future adoption of nationally-developed standards in subjects such as science and social studies by preventing state officials from entering into any agreement that would require the state to hand over control of the development, adoption or revision of academic standards.” This would prohibit adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) because the standards were developed by a wide range of stakeholders in 26 states, including Ohio.

This legislation is expected to be voted on by the full Ohio Senate shortly. We need you to take action immediately and support the Next Generation Science Standards. Please do one or all of the following today:

  • Contact your Ohio Legislators and the Governor:  Call or email your state senators and representatives today and let them know the facts about the NGSS. Tell them not to support HB487.
  •  Post on Twitter: Following are some suggested tweets you can post. A list of twitter handles is below.

o High quality #science standards support economic development and college/career readiness in Ohio. Support #NGSS.
o For states, by states. #NGSS supports #STEM innovation in Ohio.
o Science teachers in Ohio support the #NGSS! No to HB487!

  •  Activate your networks:  Pass this email on to your networks – business and community leaders, teachers, administrators, higher education professionals, and parents – and ask them to act now.
  • After you contact your legislator and post on social media, write a letter to the editor or an Op-Ed:  Draft a brief piece for Ohio news outlets – newspapers, blogs – that showcases your support for the NGSS and why these standards are necessary for Ohio.  Consider writing a letter to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch.

Get background about the NGSS, fast facts, and reasons why we need NGSS below.

Please act now. Legislators should not be making critical decisions without input from educators, parents, students, business leaders and the higher education and research community.  The NGSS were developed by Buckeyes and would improve science education in Ohio.

Read more at Cleveland.com

Twitter Handles:

@SenCliffHite Cliff Hite
@Bill_Beagle William Beagle
@peggylehner Peggy Lehner
@ehk009 Eric Kearney
@GayleManningOH Gayle Manning
@Troy_Balderson Troy Balderson
@ninaturner Nina Turner
@Kevin_BaconOH Kevin Bacon
@sjones524 Shannon Jones
@CincySeitz Bill Seitz
@StateSenKearney Eric Kearney
@ChrisWidenerOH Chris Widener
@Sen_Edna_Brown Edna Brown
@KeithFaber Keith Faber
@jwuecker Joe Uecker
@SenatorTavares Charleta Tavares
@JimHughesOH Jim Hughes
@bobforohio Bob Peterson
@JohnEklundOH John Eklund
@LarryObhof Larry Obhof
@michaelskindell Michael Skindell
@TomPattonOH Tom Patton
@BurkeForOhio Dave Burke
@FrankLaRose Frank LaRose
@SenLouGentile Lou Gentile
@TimSchaffer Tim Schaffer
@senatorcapri Capri Cafaro
@JoeSchiavoni Joe Schiavoni

 

THE FACTS ABOUT THE NGSS

  • The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a new set of K-12 science standards developed by states, for states. The NGSS identify science and engineering practices and content that all K-12 students should master in order to be prepared for success in college and 21st-century careers.
  • It has been more than 15 years since the National Research Council (NRC) and the American Association for Advancement in Science produced their reports from which most state science standards are based. Since that time, major advances in science and our understanding of how students learn science have taken place and need to be reflected in state standards.
  • The NGSS are based on the NRC’s ‘A Framework on K-12 Science Education,’ released in July 2011. The Framework provides a sound, evidence-based foundation for science standards drawing on current scientific research—including research on the ways today’s students learn science effectively—and identifies the science ALL K-12 students should know.
  • The NGSS are built upon a vision for quality science education for ALL students not just a select few.
  • The NGSS are benchmarked against countries whose students perform well in science and engineering fields including: Finland, South Korea, China, Canada, England, Hungary, Ireland, Japan and Singapore.
  • The NGSS are NOT curricula.  Standards articulate and formalize what students need to know at each grade level – districts, schools and teachers will determine how the information is taught (the curriculum).
  • The NGSS were developed, reviewed and validated by a team from Ohio.

 

SOME RATIONALE FOR THE NGSS

  • Issues related to science and engineering are all around us in our daily lives. There is no end to the solutions and innovations human beings can develop to make the world a better place through scientific and engineering knowledge and discovery.
  • Global issues like medical research, nutrition, waste disposal, infrastructure development, telecommunications, and cyber-security all require science-based solutions and a basic knowledge of scientific principles. Today’s students need to be prepared to address these challenges.
  • Students will face unprecedented competition in the workforce not only within their home states, but also globally.
  • By 2015, nearly 60% of the new jobs being created will require skills only mastered by 20% of the population, according to a recent report from the American Society for Training and Development.[1]
  • According to the same report, job skills in STEM-science, technology, engineering and math-are among the skills experiencing the greatest increase in demand. In 1991, fewer than 50% of U.S. jobs required skilled workers. But by 2015, 76% of all newly created U.S. jobs will require highly skilled workers, with some proficiency in STEM.
  • Of course, science education is about more than building a strong future workforce; it affords students the means to gain resiliency, critical thinking skills and the knowledge they need to become capable, fulfilled adults in a technology-driven world.

 

BACKGROUND

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed by states, for states and 26 states voluntarily joined the process to develop the standards. The science supervisors in these 26 states’ education agencies worked with 41 writers to develop the standards and incorporate feedback from broad-based committees and the public. These committees consisted of critical stakeholders in education, science, business and industry, as well as the general public including, in some cases, parents and students. The draft standards received comments from over 10,000 individuals during each of two public review periods, including those in lead state review teams, school and school district discussion groups, and scientific societies. The writers then used this feedback to make substantial revisions. The final standards were released in April 2013. As of May 2014, 11 states and the District of Columbia have adopted: California, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Illinois.

 

 

[1]  “Bridging the Skills Gap,” American Society for Training and Development (2010).http://www.astd.org/%20About/~/media/Files/About%20ASTD/Public%20Policy/%20BridgingtheSkillsGap2010.pdf

 

NSTA’s Ted Willard Featured on Education Talk Radio

Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was the topic of discussion during the May 19 edition of Education Talk Radio, and internet-based radio program. Host Larry Jacobs welcomed Ted Willard, NSTA’s program director for NGSS@NSTA. Ted talked about the new science standards and how they were developed, explored how they are different from earlier standards, and what is needed to implement the NGSS in classrooms and schools throughout the country?

Click here to listen to the archived session.

 

 

 

 

Business Leaders Sign Pledge to Support NGSS and Common Core State Standards

On May 16 during a two-day summit, 26 companies signed a pledge stating they will help advance STEM education and advocate for the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. The summit was hosted by Change the Equation, a Washington-based coalition of business leaders promoting STEM education.

Click here to read the pledge

Click here to read a May 16 article in Education Week about the pledge.

 

 

For Science Standards, Begin at the Beginning

In a commentary in the April 14 edition of Education Week, Kim A. Kastens and Abigail Jurist Levy from the Education Development Center in Waltham, MA, suggest using a structured, staged approach to implementation of the NGSS. Their recommendation is to “introduce the science standards initially in a school’s earliest grade—whether it’s kindergarten or 1st grade—and continue that introduction in what we call an upward wave, adding one new grade per year.”

Click here to read the commentary

 

Museums Step Up as Resource for New Science Standards

Museums and science centers are gearing up to be an important resource for teachers working to implement the Next Generation Science Standards. According to an April 11 article in Education Week, “some educators say that professional-development sessions held at museums…—unlike those at conference centers, universities, or districts—give teachers immediate access to the kinds of hands-on activities that the common science standards call for. In addition, such institutions often bring a wealth of expertise on both content and pedagogy, employing a mix of scientists and professional educators.”

The article draws attention to a study conducted at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago showing that one of its museum-based professional development programs led to gains in both teacher content knowledge and student achievement.

Click here to read the article

 

Wyoming state board sends science standards back to education department

The Star-Tribune reports that the Wyoming Board of Education voted on April 11 to return the NGSS to the state Department of Education for review, “the first formal action since a committee of teachers unanimously endorsed the Next Generation Science Standards and the Legislature hastily prohibited them.” It is unclear what that means for the future of the standards in Wyoming. Some members of the state legislature have opposed the adoption of the NGSS because of the inclusion of climate change.

Click here to read the article.

 

NSTA Encourages Wyoming State Board of Education to Adopt the NGSS

In a letter sent today, NSTA strongly encourages the Wyoming State Board of Education to adopt and fully implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Last fall, a committee of Wyoming educators endorsed the standards, however, Wyoming’s legislature recently passed a measure intended to block the state board from adopting them.  Supporters are encouraging members of the board to move forward with a vote to adopt the standards. The matter will be addressed at the board’s next meeting on Friday, April 11.

Click here to read the NSTA letter to the Wyoming Board of Education

Click here to read an article in The Billings Gazette.

Click here to read an article from the online news service, Wyofile.

It’s Official! State of Illinois Adopts NGSS

Illinois has officially adopted the Next Generation Science Standards. The state board of education voted in January to adopt the new standards, but was awaiting legislative confirmation. According to an Education Week blog, the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules has “no objection” to the adoption.

Read the Education Week blog here.

Oregon Becomes 10th State (+DC) to Adopt the NGSS

oregonAdd Oregon to the list of states to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Oregon State Board of Education voted unanimously on March 6 to adopt the new standards that will prepare students to be college and career ready. Oregon was a lead state in the development of the NGSS and has gone through an 8-9-month state review process after release of the standards last April.

According to Crystal Greene, communications director for the Department of Education, “Oregon educators were very involved in the review process. We had a great team of educators who provided feedback.” She also noted the high level of enthusiasm for the NGSS from science teachers and from the state board.

Plans moving forward include looking at professional development needs for teachers and material alignment. Oregon is a local control state so implementation and integration will be led by local districts. The timeline for assessment is 2018-19.

Other states that have adopted the NGSS, include Rhode Island, Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland, Vermont, California, Delaware, Washington, District of Columbia, and Nevada.