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Bruno: How Good Are The Next Generation Science Standards?

5703402489_41ea0d46e0Last week I wrote an essay for EdSource arguing that California should not adopt the Next Generation Science Standards.

One real limitation of the piece is that I'm only familiar with California's existing science content standards. This means that I don't know whether the final draft of the NGSS represents a likely improvement for other states that might not have already have standards as good as California's.

My sense is that the NGSS may, in fact, be an improvement for a significant number of states. For example, while a 2012 review of state standards by the Fordham Foundation resulted in an 'A' rating for California, fully three-quarters of states earned a 'C' or lower. Ten states received an 'F'.

Existing state standards may be especially weak on controversial subjects. A 2005 review by Editorial Projects in Education found that many state standards neglected important aspects of evolutionary theory. In 2009 a study by the National Center for Science Education gave half of all state standards a grade of 'C' or lower for their treatment of evolution.

So while the NGSS are not great, they are arguably pretty good - especially on politically contentious issues like evolution and climate change - and that may be enough to justify replacing existing standards for many states.

I'd be curious to hear from science teachers outside of California on this. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)


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It would be nice to have all the states preform as well as California but the big picture is that not all states are California. When we try to make all the statess the same is when the federal government has to get involved and we have all seen how that has worked.

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