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.

 

West Virginia Becomes 14th State to Adopt Next Generation Science Standards

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On December 10, 2014, West Virginia became the 14th state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), joining California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

“We’re excited. It’s the right thing to do,” said Gayle Manchin, President of the West Virginia State Board of Education in an interview with NSTA. W. Clayton Burch, Associate State Superintendent, added that the NGSS “will raise the rigor and will assist teachers in having a framework that will serve them and the children well.”

Burch noted that the process of adopting the new standards was seamless with many partners, including higher education, at the table supporting the NGSS. When asked about response from West Virginia science teachers, he said that it’s very been very positive, especially the focus on “fewer topics in more depth.”

Manchin indicated that the NGSS will also help raise the quality and level of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses they offer to students.

West Virginia is targeting implementation for the 2016-17 school year and will begin working with teachers and providing them with professional development. “Now the real work begins,” Manchin added.

The National Science Teachers Association congratulates West Virginia leaders for adopting the NGSS and stands ready to support science teachers and leaders as they begin the implementation process. Visit the NGSS@NSTA Hub for the latest resources and information.

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.

Wyoming Science and Math Educators Issue Position Statement Supporting NGSS

A group of 46 science and math educators at the University of Wyoming recently issued a position statement urging the state board of education to reconsider its position on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The statement, “Why the Critics of the Next Generation Science Standards are Wrong,” is intended to help the board fully understand the research upon which the NGSS is based. The statement explores in depth the questions “What is science?” “What is the nature of science literacy?” and “How do students learn science?”

According to the statement, “Those of us who are involved in training teachers or providing professional development have already revised our programs to align with the NGSS and we have no intention of going back to standards that we know to be out of date and inferior. The NGSS provide the most research-based road map that exists for teachers, administrators and those of us in higher education to make these changes. The actions of the legislature and Governor Mead have denied teachers and students access to the most powerful tool available to make this happen. As a result, our students will not be as well prepared for college or the world of work as students from states who have implemented NGSS.”

Click here to read the position statement

Click here to read an article in the Wyoming Star Tribune

 

 

Kentucky Schools in Early Stages of NGSS Implementation

TV station WDRB in Louisville, KY, explores the work of science teachers in Jefferson County Public Schools who are in the early stages of implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). According to middle school teacher Amy Strite, teachers will be “much more explicit in making connections to previous learning — connections to these cross-cutting concepts that hopefully will let students see science learning as much more connected.”

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Click here to view the segment.