September 4, 2013
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces State Adopts Next Generation Science Standards
SACRAMENTO—New science standards designed to prepare students to thrive in a changing economy were approved today by the State Board of Education, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced.
"The adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards in California mark a crucial step in making sure our students are prepared to succeed after they leave our classrooms," Torlakson said. "Scientific information and technology have changed remarkably since the last time California updated its science standards, and how and what we teach have to change with them."
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will bring science instruction up to date. NGSS emphasizes a deeper focus on understanding the cross-cutting concepts within and across scientific disciplines. These 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 12, so students learn step by step the knowledge and skills they need for college and careers.
"The Next Generation Science Standards represent a huge leap forward for California's students and our schools," said Mike Kirst, president of the State Board of Education. "Scientific innovation remains at the core of the California economy, and schools play a huge role in equipping the workforce of tomorrow."
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related industries are major components of California's economy. A 2011 U.S. Department of Commerce study, "STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the Future [http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/reports/documents/stemfinalyjuly14_1.pdf] (PDF) ," found that over the past 10 years, growth in jobs involving STEM fields 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.
California was among the lead states that developed the standards, in a voluntary process conducted in an open and collaborative way over the last 18 months. California teachers, scientists, college professors, business and industry leaders, and educational experts all took part in an 80-member California NGSS review team that thoroughly examined the standards five times.
Next, a Strategic Leadership Team will be appointed by Torlakson to develop a plan to implement the NGSS. This includes a timeline for implementation, adopting a science framework, developing student assessments, and strategies for school districts. Once the team completes its work, their strategic action plan will be presented to the State Board of Education for approval at a future meeting.
In the meantime, California is preparing to host its first annual STEM Symposium, set for November 18-19, 2013, at the Sacramento Convention Center. This symposium will highlight how quality STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs align with Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards and provide strategies and resources for program implementation.
For more information, visit the California Department of Education's Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics Web page.