We asked Professor John L. Rudolph to review a draft of the white paper. Professor Rudolph is chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he educates future science teachers. His recent book How We Teach Science: What’s Changed and Why It Matters is a comprehensive history of American science education from the late nineteenth century to the present, making him exceptionally knowledgeable about how goals of science education have evolved over time.
After reviewing the paper, Professor Rudolph wrote:
“Thanks so much for sharing your white paper on revising the NGSS. I thought it was excellent. I have to say that it aligns almost exactly with my own critique of where science education is currently and where it’s heading under NGSS…. All the things you suggest I would heartily endorse. In fact, your outline of things neglected by NGSS closely parallels the syllabus of the science teaching methods course I teach every fall….
I think that we’re on the cusp of a change that will begin to prop up the legitimacy and authority of science given the way science and truth have been so thoroughly denigrated in the public sphere of late. Your work will, I think, be part of helping push things in that direction…. It helps that the paper is so very clear and readable too.”
We were optimistic when we asked reviewers for their comments, but frankly we were not sure what experts would think of the white paper. These comments from Professor Rudolph, and others, were encouraging to us. Without widespread support it is unlikely that science education standards will be improved.