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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #17-1
January 5, 2017
Contact: Peter Tira
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson
Highlights Next Generation Science Standards to
Better Prepare Students for College and Careers

OAKLAND — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today saluted the innovative science instruction taking place at Edna Brewer Middle School in the Oakland Unified School District—instruction that will be coming to all of California’s public schools as a result of recent efforts to dramatically enhance and modernize science education.             

“As a former science teacher, I couldn’t be more excited by the learning I saw today in Jeri Johnstone’s eighth grade integrated science class,” Torlakson said. “It’s hands-on, interactive, and collaborative. Students and teachers ask lots of questions and work like scientists. These are the kinds of skills needed for success in high school, college and the modern workplace.”

The Oakland Unified School District is one of eight school districts and two charter school management organizations participating in the early implementation of California’s next Generation Science Standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) in 2013.

“I want to thank all the innovative, creative, and dedicated science teachers in California for working to improve science education. It’s a huge effort, but it will be well worth it when we see students who are thinking like scientists and fully engaged in their lessons,” Torlakson said.

Last November, the SBE approved a new California Science Framework to guide teachers, administrators and textbook publishers in teaching the new standards that emphasize scientific practices, thinking and reasoning. The California Department of Education (CDE) is preparing a new online science assessment to reflect the new standards and framework. A pilot test will take place this spring in grades five, eight and in one high school grade.

California’s updated, 21st century science curriculum covers instruction in kindergarten through grade eight. It expands and refines the discussion of climate change and for the first time includes engineering, environmental literacy and strategies to support girls and young women in science.

 Edna Brewer Middle School, which serves students in grades six through eight, has been teaching to California’s Next Generation Science Standards for the past four years.

“It’s no exaggeration to say the health of our entire state—our economy, our high-tech companies, our research laboratories, our environment—is dependent on our schools to produce the scientists and technology leaders of the future along with a knowledgeable citizenry,” Torlakson said. “I saw that future today at Edna Brewer Middle School, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction of science education in California.”

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

Last Reviewed: Thursday, January 5, 2017
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