June 28, 2013
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Proposes Next Generation Science Standards Focused on Deep Understanding of Science and Engineering Practices
SACRAMENTO—Working to help more students master the science skills they need to thrive in a changing world, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced he will recommend that the State Board of Education adopt the proposed Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
"Science instruction is crucial to California's future, and these new standards will bring the science being taught in our classrooms up to date," Torlakson said. "These standards eliminate arbitrary limits on hands-on experimentation and replace long lists of facts to memorize with a deeper focus on understanding the cross-cutting concepts within and across scientific disciplines."
Scientific understanding and technology have advanced markedly in the past 15 years when California's last science standards were adopted. The new standards integrate engineering practices with science practices to help students understand the workings of science and the natural world. They also provide a coherent progression of learning from kindergarten through grade twelve, so students learn step-by-step the knowledge and skills they need for college and careers.
"The new science standards will help students make connections with other parts of the curriculum, and like our new Common Core State Standards, will provide a chance for all students—no matter where they live or where they happen to go to school—get the world-class science instruction they deserve," Torlakson added.
The number of jobs involving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics has grown three times as fast as other fields—a trend experts believe will continue for the next decade.
A science teacher himself, Torlakson worked to make California among the lead states in the development of the NGSS. The voluntary standards were crafted through an open, transparent, and collaborative process over the past 18 months.
California teachers and scientists—along with college professors, business and industry leaders, and education experts—all took part in an 80-member California NGSS review team that thoroughly examined the standards six times.
The State Board of Education is expected to begin its discussions of the NGSS during its next meeting in Sacramento on July 10 and 11, 2013. The standards have been posted on the California Department of Education's Web site at Next Generation Science Standards.