We think so.
At a time when key problems like climate change and vaccine hesitancy call for more citizens to be scientifically literate, we need to change the way science is taught in American schools. Influential national science education standards called the Next Generation Science Standards (the NGSS) can be improved to better meet the needs of young people in a democratic society.
In a discussion white paper on this website we identify four areas in which we believe national science education standards for grades K-12 can and should be improved:
- Include scientific misinformation as a topic for students to study;
- Teach about the key role of scientific institutions in science (e.g., the CDC, the IPCC, the FDA);
- Broaden the view of “scientific literacy” embodied in the standards; and,
- Provide more information for teachers about key principles of teaching and learning.
Read the white paper about important “missing pieces” in the Next Generation Science Standards, and how the standards can be improved, then join the conversation on our blog. On the blog page you can request emails to notify you whenever there is a new post.
Our new article in the Kappan illuminates deficiencies of the NGSS made clear by the COVID19 pandemic. Studying only what is in these standards, students would graduate high school without learning about immunization, viruses, antibodies, or vaccines, or about organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Continue reading
Some science educators advocate changing the NGSS only by adding or removing Performance Expectations. They believe the NGSS has sufficient strengths that its structure should not be changed. Weaknesses of that approach include not changing the overall goal of “preparing students for college and careers,” which is too limited, ignoring other essential science education goals. Continue reading
Dan Damelin, a Senior Scientist at the Concord Consortium, does not believe that the NGSS is perfect but told us, “I think NGSS has done a great service in promoting instruction that helps students learn about science by doing science. I see these standards as an opportunity to promote many goals that I support.” Continue reading