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Prof. Julie Nucci is on the NYS team for the next generation science standards

Monday, October 3, 2011

Prof. Julie Nucci, a representative from the New York State team, has been selected to collaborate with 19 other state teams to lead an important effort to improve science education for all students. New York is one of 20 states that will lead the development of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which will clearly define the content and practices students will need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation. The NGSS process is being managed by Achieve, an education reform non-profit organization.

New York State Education Commissioner John B, King Jr. said, “These Next Generation Science Standards will be rich in content and practice and arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to support the preparation of scientifically literate high school graduates. Taken together with the recently adopted common core math and ELA standards they provide a foundation for the statewide curriculum and assessments essential to realizing the Regents goal of college and career readiness for all of our students. New York State’s future in the global economy depends upon graduates understanding science and technology."

“The Lead State Partners will provide important leadership and guidance throughout the development of the Next Generation Science Standards and are to be congratulated for making a strong commitment to improving science education,” said Michael Cohen, president of Achieve. “This will be a collaborative process that will lead to a set of standards that provides America’s students a strong foundation in science and supports college and career readiness for all.”

The development of the Next Generation Science Standards is a two-step process. The first step was the building of a framework that identified the core ideas and practices in natural sciences and engineering that all students should know and be able to do by the time they graduate. In July, the National Research Council released A Framework for K-12 Science Education, developed by a committee representing expertise in science, teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and education policy. The second step is the development of science standards based on the Framework. As a Lead State Partner, New York will guide the standard writing process, gather and deliver feedback from state-level committees and come together to address common issues and challenges. The Lead State Partners also agree to commit staff time to the initiative and, upon completion, give serious consideration to adopting the Next Generation Science Standards. In order to be considered, states had to submit a letter with the signature of the Commissioner of Education and the Chancellor of the Board of Regents. American students continue to lag internationally in science education, making them less competitive for the jobs of the present and the future. A recent U.S. Department of Commerce study shows that over the past 10 years, growth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. The report also shows that STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than other jobs in the coming decade. “Student achievement and educational attainment have stagnated in the U.S., and a host of our leading economic competitors are now out-educating us. In a knowledge economy, such stagnation is a slow-acting recipe for obsolescence. The only question is: Will the U.S. lead the effort or will we follow other countries?” write Arne Duncan and Reed Hastings, in a recent article entitled A Digital Promise to Our Nation.

“There is a clear benefit to providing our students with the strong science education they need to compete in college and the work place,” said Stephen Pruitt, Vice President of Content, Research and Development at Achieve, who is coordinating the NGSS effort. “A strong science education provides all students with opportunities to be successful in the 21st century.” For more information, visit the Next Generation Science Standards website at www.nextgenscience.org.

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