The march to standardize and uniform the curriculum is a dangerous movement in a democratic society, and especially in one that is so diverse in cultures, languages, and geography as America. How can we really think that one set of statements of science objectives written by non-practitioners can be truly be valid for all learners, all schools, and all teachers?
The common standards movement, and now, a new generation of science standards rests in part on the opinion that state standards are inferior and inconsistent, and there is the need to increase student achievement, especially in science and mathematics, in order to remain competitive in the global economic environment. It’s had to argue with this. However, it is not true. America is one of the most competitive countries in the world, indeed, number 4 in the world.
The drive to develop the common standards has also been “adopted” by the U.S. Department of Education, and in its Race to the Top Fund ($4.5 billion), states that did not adopt the common standards lost 70 points on the 500 point scale for doing so. Why do these organizations want to develop a single set of standards, and will they be any better than the standards that exist in the 50 states today? The fact is state departments of education around the country have in one sense been coerced into accepting the common core standards in order to apply for very large Federal grants, and there is the assumption that a national set of standards will be superior to standards developed at the state level.
Next Generation Science Standards: Ready, Set, Almost!
As you know, the Next Generation Science Standards will be available sometime in 2013 from Achieve, Inc., the company that is benefiting from the Authoritarian Standards and High-Stakes Testing movement. NSTA and AAAS, the two major science teaching and science organizations in the United States are involved in the review process, and by and large appear to be uncritical of the new standards.
According to some science education researchers, standards present real problems to you, especially in the context of high-stakes testing. We’ll call standards in this context, “accountability standards.” Indeed, you might agree with these researchers when they say that accountability standards pose barriers to meaningful teaching and learning in the science classroom. One researcher reported that two attributes of the science standards impede teaching and learning as follows:
- The tightly specified nature of successful learning performances precludes classroom teachers from modifying the standards to fits the needs of their students.
- The standards are removed from the thinking and reasoning processes needed to achieve them.
Accountability Science Standards
The Race is On
- Report on Next Generation Science Standards Lacks Credibility
- The Common Core, Lightning Rod or Reform?
- The Race to Write the Next Generation of Science Standards
- New Generation of Science Standards: What’s Going On Here?
- The Real Meaning of Standards: Rigor, Shock, Stacking Up, Raising the Bar!
- Why a Single Set of Science Standards in a Democracy?
Some Attributes of the New Standards
- Review of the National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education: The Precursor to the Next Generation Science Standards
- 4 Reasons we need new National Science Education Standards
- 5 Attributes of the Framework for K-12 Science Education
- 5 Criticisms of the Framework for K-12 Science Education
How the Standards Movement Affects Science Teaching
- How the Science Standards are like Brick Walls in the Face of Teaching and Learning
- Some Reasons why the National Standards Movement is Not Good for Learning
- In a Liberal Democracy, Can Inquiry Science Teaching Flourish with Common Standards?
Corporate and Foundation Views of the Standards
- The Neoconservative Drive for Common Standards in Math and Science
- Critique of the Fordham Report on Science Standards: We Grade Fordham “D”
- Use Caution When Reading Corporate or Foundation Research: Case in point: Fordham Review of the State Science Standards
- Common Corporate Science Standards