Common Core Science Standards Up for Public Comment

NGSSCNN reported last month that the Common Core Science Standards or “Next Generation Science Standards” were going to be coming out.

If you step into a high school chemistry class late next year, the students might be learning the same thing. But they could be manipulating foam or paper mache models to show how bonds are made, or moving electrons around on a computer screen, testing what happens when a transfer occurs.

Science classrooms in America will begin to change next year, when 26 states are expected to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards. How those students learn will often differ from the education their parents, or even their older siblings, had.

What will change… the article continues…

Instead of just listening to a lecture, or maybe creating a model that represents a cell or an atom, students will use the models – often created on computers – to collect data or make predictions.

Their models won’t be graded based on artistry, but on their knowledge of what they represent and how they go through processes. Is the sodium atom correctly constructed? What happens when electrons from that atom get close to electrons from a chlorine atom? Instead of seeing electrons bounce from one atom to the other, students will change their own dynamic models, forming the bonds themselves. Students won’t be memorizing knowledge, they’ll be constructing it.

The standards will integrate more technology and engineering – the T and E in STEM curriculum you’ve probably heard about. Science and math will still be major parts of what kids learn, but expect engineering principles to receive as much attention as the scientific method does now.

Educators and business leaders hope this will keep students interested enough to pursue science, technology, engineering and math fields in college and prepare them for the workforce.

It sounds great, but again like the math and ELA core standards before them the Next Generation State Standards are being put together by a select group of writers who mysteriously can’t be found on the website.  They probably won’t be field-tested and being driven by those who reside in an echo chamber.  We do see some of the familiar players who are funding the development of NGSs.  Please note that the second draft of the standards is currently open to review and comment until January 29, 2013 and you can give your feedback here.

These standards like the ones that came before them will likely be implemented by different State Boards of Education without Legislative approval.  So a small group of educrats will once again be determining education policy to impact the rest of us – including private schools and home schools.  I guess we can be encouraged this time around that there are fewer states that have signed on.