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Science instruction declined in California during pandemic, survey finds

The pandemic set back the momentum to implement the state’s Next Generation Science Standards, and only about 1 in 4 districts are making science a high recovery priority, the Public Policy Institute of California revealed in a new report. 

In a survey of 213 school districts, 62% reported that science became a lower priority in 2020-21, citing staff shortages, teacher burnout, a lack of dedicated funding and an emphasis on math and English language arts; 43% provided summer science programs.

Only a quarter of the districts surveyed made science a priority in their recovery plans, although nearly half included plans to adopt, develop or buy new science materials, and 38% included teacher training in science in their Local Control and Accountability Plans.

Among its recommendations to promote equitable investments in science education, PPIC suggests adding data on student performance on science assessments and on science course taking and completion to the California School Dashboard.  It also recommends compiling evidence-based strategies for science recovery so that districts can include them when using federal Covid relief funding. 

PPIC will hold a webinar on Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. on the report and future strategies for science education. Go here to read the report and here to register. 

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