In April, a new set of voluntary, rigorous, and internationally benchmarked standards for K-12 science education called the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was released. For two years, a forty-one member writing team lead by twenty-six states and their broad-based teams worked together with partners to develop the standards, which “identify science and engineering practices and content that all K-12 students should master in order to be fully prepared for college, careers and citizenship.” The standards are based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education, which was published by the National Academies' National Research Council in 2011.
The lead state partners include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
The NGSS effort was entirely driven by the aforementioned states, and no federal funds or incentives were used. The Carnegie Corporation of New York was the primary funder.
"The Next Generation Science Standards are going to pull together inquiry and practice, and recognize the role of engineering. Pulling together the cross-cutting concepts is going to be a challenge, but it's really effective pedagogy," said Ellen Ebert, Washington State's Director of Science for Teaching and Learning at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. "In Washington State we're looking at the NGSS to propel students into 21st century; we're looking at college and career readiness. This is a real opportunity to help students see the potential of science in their lives."
SWE has been supportive of NGSS since its inception, especially since it is the first time engineering content has been included in science standards in such a meaningful way. SWE was actively engaged in the NGSS process, providing comments on the two public drafts of the standards.
To review the final NGSS, please visit here.
SWE’s comments on the second public draft of NGSS can be found here.