Alison Yin for EdSource
Sophomores attend chemistry class at Skyline High School

The State Board of Education on Thursday approved a new science framework that makes California the first state in the nation to produce a framework based on the Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 grades.

“This has been a long time in coming. It is really an exemplar for the nation,” said Ilene Straus, vice president of the board.

The framework, which represents a major overhaul of how science is taught to the state’s 6.2 million K-12 students, is essentially a blueprint for creating a curriculum based on the new standards that can be implemented in the classroom. The standards, more commonly known as NGSS, emerged after educational leaders nationwide met in 2010 and pushed for rewriting a science curriculum that had not been changed since the late 1990s.

At the core of the standards is the belief that science should no longer rely on memorizing facts and writing essays but on experiments and hands-on exploration of specific subjects.

While the new standards create common practices for teaching science, the framework consists of several chapters detailing what is to be taught at specific grade levels: transitional kindergarten; kindergarten through 2nd grades; 3rd through 5th; 6th through 8th; and the high school grades. Transitional kindergarten is a publicly funded program year for 4-year-olds who turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2 and miss the cut-off date for kindergarten.

Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction, said the new approach will dramatically upgrade and modernize science instruction.

“This framework will help our students become the scientists and technology leaders of the future as well as citizens who are knowledgeable and understanding of the natural world and the environment,” he said in a statement.

Work to develop the framework began three years ago after an extensive public process that generated more than 3,000 public comments.

Beginning next spring, the California Department of Education will hold events around the state to start preparing educators and administrators in all aspects of NGSS instruction. The department also is developing a new online science assessment that will reflect the standards and framework.

By Jan. 31, the Instructional Quality Commission, which is an advisory body to the state board, plans to recommend a curriculum framework that would begin preparing teachers for the next milestones in rolling out the new science standards in their classrooms.

In 2018, the state board is scheduled to adopt textbooks and other instructional materials aligned to NGSS standards and the framework.

SHARE ARTICLE

Thanks for reading.

Can you help sustain our reporting?

Our team of journalists, editors, and fact-checkers do an estimated 440 hours of research every week to bring you the news on California education. That's a lot of work.

For a limited time, your contributions will be doubled through the NewsMatch matching gifts program.

Comments (2)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments Policy

The goal of the comments section on EdSource is to facilitate thoughtful conversation about content published on our website. Click here for EdSource's Comments Policy.

  1. Jim Mordecai 1 year ago1 year ago

    Get the new, improved toothpaste. Oops. I meant the new, improved science standards and of course the test to follow based on the standards. How can we throw away textbooks? Most likely there will be science stuff to come with the textbooks that will be sold. There is finite amount of time for teaching and hands on is great but if there is not the time in the day then science will … Read More

    Get the new, improved toothpaste. Oops. I meant the new, improved science standards and of course the test to follow based on the standards.

    How can we throw away textbooks? Most likely there will be science stuff to come with the textbooks that will be sold. There is finite amount of time for teaching and hands on is great but if there is not the time in the day then science will become the new math and reading subject that drains time away from other subjects. Implementing a new curriculum whether or not standards based is a complicated matter. Selling a new textbook that is advertised as new thing is not. Waiting for the test to drop; as in the standards movement testing soon will follow to drain additional time from other subjects, causes me to question what a teacher is now spending time on that will have to be dropped from her curriculum.

  2. SLuchini 1 year ago1 year ago

    Will additional funding accompany the new science standards? I have not seen this mentioned either here or on the state site. Chapter 10 on the state site suggests in the Chapter 10 "Implementation" brief that Districts "form committees" to determine needs based on new standards and that "District budgets also need to accommodate the increased costs". It is also suggested that larger class space may be needed and training is needed to … Read More

    Will additional funding accompany the new science standards? I have not seen this mentioned either here or on the state site. Chapter 10 on the state site suggests in the Chapter 10 “Implementation” brief that Districts “form committees” to determine needs based on new standards and that “District budgets also need to accommodate the increased costs”. It is also suggested that larger class space may be needed and training is needed to handle chemicals – again where is the funding for this? Classes are overcrowded now in low-income areas of need and our state legislators fail to address that basic need. How do we expect large labs to appear when there is no room?

    Chapter 8 regarding “Access and Equity” has many suggestions on how to encourage and involve disadvantaged, special needs, English as a second language students, but again no funding is included. Until poverty is addressed and schools in areas of great need are brought up to the same standards as those in wealthier neighborhoods, these ideas will fall flat.

    As the parent of a student with disabilities, I’m still waiting for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to be fully funded 35+ years after that was passed. Federal legislators promised to fund up to 40% of special education support and we have never seen more than 17 – 21% (Obama’s stimulus gave us the best bump in the history of IDEA, but school districts were allowed to put up to 50% of that stimulus back into their general fund if they could prove full compliance of IDEA Such a joke as most schools in the state violate a child’s IEP and have hundreds of compliance complaints served daily.

    Common core, created by outside business interests, not educators or child development specialists, was rolled out and made children cry. These new science standards, while admirable (the hands-on aspect is wonderful), is not affordable in many communities. I hope it’s not another requirement that will place a school in jeopardy if failing to afford the tools to create the labs, equipment and teachers to accompany this.

    Start taxing the billionaire profiteer charter supporters (one, Bill Gates provides funding for this column) who send their earnings off-shore. While sending their children to private schools, they want to privatize education (and pocket the profits). Wish our public school kids could have extra-curriculars like the big boys: http://www.businessinsider.com/daughters-of-bill-gates-and-steve-jobs-compete-on-horseback-2015-10