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


Proposed Wyoming Legislation Would Allow Adoption of NGSS

According to an article in the Billings Gazette on Decmeber 15, Rep. John Patton from Wyoming will propose legislation allowing the Wyoming State Board of Education to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards. Republican Rep. John Patton says he wants to eliminate a budget footnote that prohibited the board from spending money to review or adopt the standards.

In March 2014, 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.

“What the proposed bill does is pretty straight forward and simple,” Rep. John Patton said Monday. “It simply removes Footnote No. 3 in the appropriations bill. It means the State Board of Education can continue with its work uninterrupted by the Legislature.”

Click here to read the December 16 article from the Billings Gazette.


Science classroom could soon look very different

Delaware science teachers are gearing up to implement the NGSS and transform science education for students. Educators are attending intensive professional development sessions geared at helping them translate the broad ideas of the standards into instruction. Officials expect it to be a gradual process over the next three years with all classroom materials and assessments aligned to the new standards by the 2016-17 school year.

“When you work as a scientist, or an engineer, or whatever you do, it isn’t all about what you know. Companies are trying to find people who can innovate, who can solve problems, who can come up with new ideas,” said Ross Armbrecht, a former DuPont engineer and current executive director of the Delaware Foundation for Science and Mathematics Education. “This requires a fundamental rethinking of how we teach.”

Click here to read the article in The News Journal. (August 2, 2014)


Next Steps for the Next Generation Science Standards

In a commentary in Education Week, Arthur H. Camins explores the next steps for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and what it will take for success as states and districts begin to adopt them. Camins notes that the NGSS have avoided some of the major problems experienced by the Common Core Sate Standards because the NGSS development process has been open and transparent, state adoption has been voluntary and not leveraged by federal funds, and that the guiding premises of A Framework for K-12 Education–the foundation of the NGSS–were already widely embraced. Moving forward, he identifies five state actions that will support success:

  • First, states should resist the temptation to tinker with the standards.
  • Second, states should interpret NGSS performance standards as they were intended—examples of what integration of the three framework strands and incorporation of engineering might look like in practice.
  • Third, states that adopt the standards must declare a moratorium on high-stakes science testing.
  • Fourth, from an accountability perspective, it is important to recognize two characteristics of the new science standards. They represent a new learning sequence in which understanding builds over a child’s entire K-12 educational experience. Therefore, quick achievement of its expectations for students at all grade levels is unrealistic. In addition, some of the standards stretch current ideas about concepts students are able to master at particular grade levels. These aspirational expectations require teachers to adopt a practical, action-oriented research perspective.
  • Fifth, federal, state, and district policymakers should give first priority to ensuring equity and adequacy of resources and long-term sustained professional development.

Click here to read the article in Education Week (July 22, 2014)


New Jersey Adopts Next Generation Science Standards

Congratulations, New Jersey! Voting to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards.

“New Jersey historically has adopted curriculum standards that establish a high bar for student learning. Today’s re-adoption of six content areas and the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards maintain the state’s commitment to providing schools with curriculum frameworks that convey higher-level skills and advanced learning,” said State Board President Mark W. Biedron. “The Next Generation Science Standards will enable schools to take science to the next level and to challenge and inspire students to embrace scientific inquiry both in and out of the classroom.”

To read the full press release, click here.


N.J. support for Next Generation Science Standards in education is critical

A guest opinion piece in the Times of Trenton by educators from three NJ colleges call on New Jersey’s education community to support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) because of its power to best prepare students for the 21st century. The piece examines the important changes promoted in the standards based on what we now know about teaching and learning science and the needs of the 21st century.

“It is critical for New Jersey’s education community to join together in support of the NGSS and that we all do our part to prepare our students for the realities of the 21th century.”

Click here to read the full article. (July 7, 2014)



Wyoming schools probably free to use NGSS

According to the Casper Star-Tribune, local school districts in Wyoming probably can use the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), despite a ban prohibiting the Wyoming Dept. of Education and state Board of Education from using funds to review or adopt the standards.

“The budget footnote prohibiting the Wyoming Department of Education and state Board of Education from spending money to review or adopt the Next Generation Science Standards does not apply to the budgets school districts use to buy educational materials like textbooks, said Mary Kay Hill, chief of staff to Gov. Matt Mead.”

Click here to read the article as it appears in the Billings Gazette



Common Core backlash won’t stop new science standards

A number of school districts in Wisconsin are not waiting for  state lawmakers to make a decision on state science standards and are beginning to use the Next Generation Science Standards. Some school districts in Green Bay are using the new standards to develop new curriculum, saying “instructors can’t teach today’s students using guidelines written more than a decade ago.” The current Wisconsin science standards were adopted in 1998.

“The state Department of Public Instruction had planned to move forward with Next Generation, but held off as backlash grew against Common Core State Standards — which Wisconsin adopted in 2010.”

Click here to read the article in the Green Bay Press Gazette.