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California Department of Education News Release
Release: #13-44
April 9, 2013
Contact: Tina Jung
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Next Step in
Nationwide Push to Teach Students 21st Century Science Skills

SACRAMENTO—New education standards that reflect the major advances in science over the past 15 years are one step closer to completion with the launch of a final public comment period before they go to the State Board of Education for adoption, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.

Achieve, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released the latest draft today of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS were developed through a collaborative, state-level process of which California was one of the national leaders. The NGSS will clearly articulate the science standards, defined as the educational content and practices students will need to learn from kindergarten through grade twelve. The new K–12 science standards will be rich in content and practice, arranged across disciplines and grades, to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education. The NGSS are based on the Framework for K–12 Science Education developed by the National Research Council.

"In the next decade, the number of jobs requiring highly technical skills is expected to outpace other occupations,"said Torlakson. "These Next Generation Science Standards will help students achieve real-world practical skills so they can help maintain California’s economic and technological leadership in the world."

The next step in the development of the NGSS will be a review by a panel of science experts, and public hearings are expected to be held in the spring throughout the state. In the summer, the State Board of Education should receive feedback from the panel and public hearings. Then in the fall, the State Board is expected to consider adoption of the NGSS.

A recent U.S. Department of Commerce study found that over the past 10 years, growth in jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) 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.

Torlakson convened his STEM Task Force last year to explore the status of STEM education in terms of curriculum, instructional practices, professional learning, student testing, resources, and community and business partnerships. The STEM Task Force will provide recommendations on how to improve teaching, learning, and equal access to STEM-related courses and careers for students in kindergarten through grade twelve. This "blueprint"for STEM education is also expected to include recommendations to integrate career technical education, the Common Core State Standards, and the NGSS.

To view the final draft of the science standards, please visit the Next Generation Science Standards [http://www.nextgenscience.org/] External link opens in new window or tab. Web site.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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