January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

The Season of Lists

Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2011

by Rick Pomeroy

As I was driving home over the Thanksgiving weekend, I realized that we are right in the middle of what I have come to refer to as “The Season of Lists.”  Every year at this time, we make lists of the things we are thankful for, things we wish for, and resolutions or things we want to do or change. The more I thought about it the more I wondered about what would these lists look like for CSTA and for science teachers in California?

Stealing part of a late night television bit, here are my lists of the top 3 things in each of those categories.

Things to be thankful for

  • Passage of SB 300 authorizing the rewriting of the California science education standards.
  • A conference in Pasadena that introduced a new venue and engaged a new science teachers in our professional organization.
  • An experienced board of directors and an active membership who are working to steer the association into the future.

Wishes for the future

  • Development of new science standards that encourage critical thinking and problem solving and have robust content.
  • Inclusion of science in the core curricula at all grades in all elementary schools in California.
  • Increased membership in CSTA.

Resolutions for the coming year

  • To position CSTA as a key player in the development, adoption, and subsequent implementation of a new and robust set of science standards.
  • To increase membership in CSTA through a combination of outreach to new science teachers, re-engaging past members, and enhancing the value of membership to our current members.
  • To implement plans to insure a healthy and valued association for now and the future.

It is pretty clear that standards, both the existing standards and those that will evolve as a result of SB 300, play a central role in my thinking about the past the present and the future of CSTA. The existing standards have guided science instruction since their introduction in the late 90’s, and, along with the high stakes testing, are responsible for many of the things that science teachers hope will change under new standards patterned after the Next Generation Science Standards. Under the current conditions, science has been virtually eliminated from many elementary school classrooms at a time when parents and children alike believe that more science instruction is important. The content has been reduced to “knowing” a seemingly endless list of facts at the expense of  the problem solving and critical thinking that an inquiry based science curriculum promises to deliver. If the Next Generation Science Standards are adopted, there is a promise of less fact driven instruction, with a greater focus on the processes of science, and the knowledge and skills necessary to promote our students’ smooth transitions from school to college and careers.

As we move forward in the first steps of the reinventing of science education in California, it will be very important that science teachers are represented at all steps in the process. In the coming months, there will be opportunities for members to play an active role in the upcoming public comment periods on the Next Generation Science Standards, STEM task force, the California Teacher Advisory Council, and the Instructional Quality Commission.  As the organization representing science teachers, it is important that you stay connected and that you encourage your peers to renew or restart their membership. The cost of membership ($39) is a small price to pay for representation on such critical issues as those facing science teachers today.

As we move into the “Season of the Lists”, I encourage you to add items to these CSTA thoughts by commenting below.  Your thoughts will help as a way of providing guidance, direction, and inspiration.

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California, Davis and is CSTA’s president.

 

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis.

3 Responses

  1. Thanks, Rick.

    Glad you’re leading us..
    Bonnie

  2. I’d like a link on these to “like” this on facebook…right now the only option is to post it as a link, which is cool, but I like “liking” things as well. Good and interesting summary!

  3. Dear Cristina,
    Thank you for the suggestion!

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