March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

State Board Adopts NGSS – Delays Decision on Middle School – Now What?

Posted: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

by Jessica Sawko

A new era of science education in California is now in the horizon. For many years CSTA has been advocating for new, high-quality science education standards that emphasize depth of understanding over surface knowledge, engage students in doing science, and foster critical thinking, and last month, those many years of hard work finally paid off. At approximately 4:00 pm on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 the California State Board of Education (SBE) voted unanimously to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for California. The vote was followed by an outburst of applause and cheers from those in the audience.

The matter of the Next Generation of Science Standards for California is not completely settled. Due to the overwhelming number of responses from teachers in California, the SBE deferred their decision on the arrangement of the middle school standards until their November 6-7 meeting. The State Board received many letters and emails in advance of their September 4 meeting both in support of and in opposition to the proposed integrated middle school arrangement of the Next Generation Science Standards. The board heard a presentation on the proposed integrated model for middle school. Presenters included Kathy DiRanna, statewide director of K-12 Alliance and Stephen Pruitt of Achieve (both will be presenting at the 2013 California Science Education Conference). During the public comment period there were speakers and organizations both for and against the proposed integration as well as those that encouraged the board to allow individual districts to choose between an integrated or discipline specific model.

The webcast archive of the September 4, 2013 State Board of Education meeting is available online. To view the presentation and public comment on Item #10 – the NGSS agenda item – use the navigation provided to jump to that section.

So Now What?

Full implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards will not be realized for a number of years (2015/2016 at the earliest). A planning group has been formed by the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop an implementation plan that will span several years and depends in some part of the signing of legislation currently on Governor Brown’s desk (see this month’s legislative update). As a part of the implementation planning process, CDE is interested in learning about your professional development needs and implementation concerns. During the month of October they are collecting data from stakeholders around the state via a online survey. Please take a few moments to share your thoughts and needs about NGSS implementation.

In the meantime, CSTA is offering numerous workshops and other events during the 2013 California Science Education Conference in Palm Springs. If you are new to the Next Generation Science Standards or very familiar with them and would like to explore what this might look like in your classroom, the conference is the place to be. For a list of all workshops addressing the Next Generation Science Standards, click here. There will also be opportunities to ask questions of California Department of Education staff members and NGSS experts during set times at the CSTA booth in the exhibit hall. That is what will be taking place formally. On an informal basis, the conference will allow you to interact with teachers from all over the state with a wide array of experiences that will allow you an opportunity to talk about the Next Generation Science Standards and what it might mean for you and your students in the coming years. If you are able to attend the conference, please register by October 7 to take FULL advantage of discounts and save you time when you arrive at the conference.

If you have an opinion on how you think the State Board of Education should vote on the matter of arrangement of the middle school science standards, please send an email to the State Board of Education. Your voice does matter and it is important for the State Board to hear from as many educators as possible on this issue, no matter your position. To send your comments to the State Board:

  • Send an email to sbe@cde.ca.gov.
  • Include “Next Generation Science Standards Middle School Arrangement” in your subject line. Please use this subject line until the agenda for the meeting is posted on October 25, 2013 – at which time you should include the agenda item number and subject as your email subject line.
  • Focus your comments on the matter to be considered by the State Board, the proposed arrangement of the middle school standards (available here). Rationale documents supporting the proposed model are available for download from the CDE website.
  • Please copy CSTA on your email to the State Board so that we may continue to hear from as many members as we can (please copy csta@cascience.org).
  • To open an email window with all of this pre-populated, click here.
  • The deadline for submitting your comments to the State Board is 12:00 pm on Monday, November 4, 2013.

Adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards if but the first step of many in this multi-year process. As always, and only through the support of our members, CSTA is here to represent science educators, provide you with up-to-date and accurate information, and to promote high-quality science education. CSTA will continue to update our website and include information in California Classroom Science with information on the Next Generation Science Standards and how you can be involved in the process.

 

 

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

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For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

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From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.