September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces California Will Lead Effort in Writing New National Science Standards

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

SACRAMENTO—Demonstrating the state’s leadership in science, technology, and its commitment to 21st century learning, California has been chosen as one of 20 states to lead a nationwide effort to develop the next generation of science standards for public schools, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.

“From our universities to our laboratories, California has always led the way in science and technology, so it’s only fitting that we help craft the next generation of science lessons for students,” Torlakson said. “Having a hand in shaping these standards will give other states the benefit of our success as a technology leader, and give California’s education system and our own students a leg up in preparing for their futures in a science and tech-savvy world.”

A recent U.S. Department of Commerce study found that over the past 10 years, growth in jobs involving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (known as the STEM fields) was three times greater than that of non-STEM occupations. The report also forecast that STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than others in the coming decade. STEM-related industries continue to be a major factor in California’s economy.

The 20 lead state partners selected to develop the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are 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. NGSS will clearly articulate the science standards that are defined as the educational content and practices students will need to learn from kindergarten through high school.

“The lead state partners will provide important leadership and guidance throughout the development of the Next Generation Science Standards and are to be congratulated for making a strong commitment to improving science education,” said Michael Cohen, president of Achieve, a nonprofit organization heading up the effort. “This will be a collaborative process that will lead to a set of standards that provides America’s students a strong foundation in science and supports college and career readiness for all.”

The development of NGSS is a two-step process. The first step was the building of a framework that identified the core ideas and practices in natural sciences and engineering that all students should be familiar with by the time they graduate. In July, the National Research Council released A Framework for K-12 Science Education, developed by a committee representing expertise in science, teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment, and education policy. For more information on theFramework, please visit The National Academies Web site at National-Academies.org | Newsroom (Outside Source).

The second step is the development of science standards based on the Framework. As a lead state partner, California will help guide the standard writing process, gather and deliver feedback from state-level committees, and come together to address common issues and challenges. The lead state partners also agree to commit staff time to the initiative and, upon completion, give serious consideration to adopting the NGSS. In order to be considered, states had to submit a letter with the signature of the Chief State School Officer and the chair of the State Board of Education.

For more information on NGSS, please visit the Achieve Web site at Achieve, Inc. (Outside Source).

 

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2 Responses

  1. […] shall recommend science content standards for adoption to the state board and shall utilize the Next Generation Science Standards as the basis for their deliberations and recommendations to the state […]

  2. I am guessing maybe twenty years ago a group of us from UCI teacher courses were asked to listen to and make last minute recommendations to the science standards we now have. We were unprepared and had little time to seriously analyze them and could not seriously response. All these years I have regretted that we did not make a greater effort. A couple of years ago at Orange Co Dept. Of Ed we were invited to give recommendations to a small group who would then take ideas for revising the framework to the legislature for approval. No changes could be made in the standards. That is where the problems occur for teachers.
    I am just retired, but still feel committed to raising reasonable standards. After 45 years of teaching biology, chemistry, jr. Hi. Sci., junior college, and serving on several district standard writing committees, I have some experience too offer. If you are looking for people to become involved, shoot me back a message.

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LATEST POST

CSTA Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.