November 13, 2014
State Schools Chief Torlakson Announces Guidance on New Science Standards
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said the state is one step closer to implementing the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS) as the State Board of Education today adopted a new plan.
"This plan lays out what the state, districts, and the community can do to ensure that the exciting new science standards are implemented smoothly," said Torlakson. "These standards will provide all students with a deeper understanding of science so they are better prepared for college and careers, including jobs in the high-technology fields," said Torlakson.
The NGSS Systems Implementation Plan for California offers school districts and the community strategies on how to provide educators training and resources to teach the new standards. The plan helps districts align local testing to improve teaching and learning. There are also tips on improving communication; how to get everyone to work together; and using the new standards in before and after school programs.
The CA NGSS moves away from teaching science by rote memorization in a single subject matter, and now teaches students how to use analytical skills learned in several subject matters to understand the world around them. For example, CA NGSS integrates engineering and technology practices to help students understand science and the natural world. The CA NGSS also connects students with the Common Core State Standards, which teach them 21st century skills needed for college and careers.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related industries are major drivers of California's economy. A 2011 U.S. Department of Commerce 2011 U.S. Department of Commerce study [http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/reports/documents/stemfinalyjuly14_1.pdf] (PDF) found that over the last decade, growth in STEM jobs grew three times faster than other occupations, and will continue to outpace non-STEM jobs in the next decade.
California was a lead partner in a national movement to develop the NGSS. The State Board of Education adopted them in 2013 to better prepare students for college and careers in STEM fields. The CA NGSS replaces the old science standards last adopted in 1998.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100