New Tool: Next Generation Science Standards: What’s different, and do they matter?

Posted on October 24, 2014

At this point in time, nearly one-third of all K-12 students in the U.S. live in states that have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). But, many teachers and school district staff have asked, so what? Are they really that different than what we have done before? My team and I get this question a lot, and tithis is a great question to ask. Education certainly seems to feed on launching new initiative after new initiative. But, we think learning about and implementing this new vision for K-12 science education is worth your time. It is primarily focused on working to equalize opportunities for all students to learn about fundamental concepts about science and engineering — and about the actual intellectual work of contemporary science and engineering. So, we wrote this STEM Teaching Tool to try and make the argument about "what is new here?" and to point to a range of helpful resources so that teachers, district staff, PD providers, parents, and everyone else who has a stake in K-12 science education. Standards have the opportunity to shift the entire educational system. We think there is great work to be done to engage more students in compelling, relevant science and engineering investigations and to support their learning in a more coherent way across K-12 both in and out of school. — Philip Bell