November 29, 2011 – The initiative to develop K–12 science standards is expanding with the addition of 6 more states. In September, 20 states were announced as lead state partners.
Now, 26 states will lead the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a shared effort that will clearly define the content and practices all students will need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation. Partnering with the states are the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve, who is facilitating the collaboration.
"A majority of the states, educating more than 50 percent of our nation's students, have committed to developing the Next Generation Science Standards and they should be commended," said Michael Cohen, president of Achieve. "Their collaboration with the leading voices on science and science education will produce a set of rigorous standards that will provide students with a complete science foundation and prepare them to be college- and career-ready."
The newest state partners to lead this effort are Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon.
All states were invited to join in June 2011. The first round of states included Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. A follow-up invitation to the remaining states was extended in October 2011.
The development of the Next Generation Science Standards is a two-step process. The first step was completed with the release of A Framework for K-12 Science Education by the National Research Council in July 2011. The framework identifies the core ideas and practices in natural sciences and engineering that all students should know by the time they graduate. It was developed by a committee representing expertise in science, teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and education policy.
The second step is the development of science standards based on the Framework. The 26 state partners will guide the standards writing process, gather and deliver feedback from state-level committees and come together to address common issues and challenges. The states also agree to commit staff time to the initiative and, upon completion, give serious consideration to adopting the Next Generation Science Standards. States submitted a letter with the signature of the Chief State School Officer and the chair of the State Board of Education as part of their application.
Drafts of the science standards will be made available for public input at least twice during the NGSS development process. The NGSS should be completed by the end of 2012.
American students continue to lag internationally in science education, making them less competitive for the jobs of the present and the future. A recent U.S. Department of Commerce study shows that over the past 10 years, growth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. The report also shows that STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than other jobs in the coming decade.
"We must provide our students a strong science education so they have the necessary knowledge to compete in a global economy," said Stephen Pruitt, Vice President of Content, Research and Development at Achieve, who is coordinating the NGSS effort. "A strong understanding of science is crucial not only to our success as a nation, but to living in the 21st century."
For more information, visit the Next Generation Science Standards website at www.nextgenscience.org.
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