The following summarizes content from the state's application for Lead State Partner in 2011.
Commissioner of Education: John B. King Jr.
Primary Point of Contact: Anthony "Will" Jaacks — P–12 Science Education
Partner Organizations: NYSED College and Career Advisory Panel; Empire State STEM Learning Network; New York State Science Education Consortium; NY ECLIPSE (New York Enhancing Collaborative Leadership for Improved Performance in Science Education).
Background: New York requires students to earn at least three units of credit in science to graduate from high school. The New York State Board of Regents adopted the New York State Learning Standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology in 1996, which were made up of seven standards: four process standards which were common across the three content areas, and three content standards, one for each subject, mathematics, science, and technology. The mathematics content area standards have since been replaced by the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. The science standard includes key ideas and performance indicators divided between the Physical Setting (Earth and Space Science, and Physical Sciences) and the Living Environment (Life Sciences) which were further developed into core curriculum resource guides, one for elementary (K–4), intermediate (5–8), and one in each content area (Living Environment, Physical Setting/Chemistry, Physical Setting/Earth Science, and Physical Setting/Physics) at the high school level. Science standards are assessed in grades 4 and 8 and then through end of course Regents exams at the high school level. Students are required to pass at least one high school Regents exam in any of the four content areas to satisfy the requirements for a high school diploma. To qualify to take a Regents exam in any of the sciences students must complete a course of study leading to that exam and complete 1200 minutes of actual hands-on (not simulated) laboratory experience with satisfactory documented laboratory reports. The current science standards were scheduled for review during the 2011–12 school year due to the New York State Board of Regents’ Standards Review Initiative. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is strategically timing this review process and adoption to align with the development of the NGSS.
Commitment: New York has shown strong commitment to standards based learning through its adoption of the Common Core State Standards and its position as a governing state in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Additionally, NYSED established the Board of Regents’ College and Career Readiness Working Group, comprised of early childhood, K–12 education, higher education, and business and industry professionals, to make recommendations for potential adjustments to NYS graduation requirements to better align them to college and career readiness, and would take into account the NGSS in this endeavor.
STEM Involvement: New York State is comprised of rural, industrial, suburban, and urban areas, a unique microcosm of the nation at large, which requires NYS graduation requirements and standards to be wide and encompassing. New York graduates have various business areas to enter and therefore must be highly knowledgeable and well-skilled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. NYS currently has sixteen No Child Left Behind Mathematics and Science Partnership grant programs that provide professional development to PreK–12th grade teachers of STEM subjects in order to enhance STEM curriculum throughout the state. Additional partnerships have developed between secondary schools and STEM departments at institutions of higher education in order to further improve STEM efforts statewide. New York has also developed initiatives that other states could follow such as plans to pilot computer based science testing in grades 4, 6, 7, and 8, curriculum models in STEM subjects, and teacher development focused on learning and accountability.
Alliances and Infrastructure: New York has numerous alliances and programs that will assist with the creation and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. New York State has created NYSED College and Career Advisory Panels, one on college and career readiness and four content specific (ELA/literacy, mathematics, social studies/history, and science) comprised of experts in the field to assist with standards, standards implementation, assessment, curriculum, and professional development. Currently the New York State science associates within the Office of Curriculum and Instruction carry out monthly conference calls with district level science education supervisors in the state’s “Big 5” city school districts of New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers, and the NY ECLIPSE (New York Enhancing Collaborative Leadership for Improved Performance in Science) leadership team which partnered with the National Science Resources Center, the Big 5 city districts, and the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) districts. Additional bimonthly calls occur between NYSED and the state’s science education professional associations in order to discuss current science education policy, research, and practice. NYSED also works with programs like the Empire State STEM Learning Network and the New York State Science Education Consortium to further education, professional development, and communication in science fields. “Communication and collaboration is alive and well within the State of New York. Science education stakeholders are ready and willing to participate in the development of science standards that will guide science education into the future.”
Check back soon for more information on New York's state team and implementation plans