Science is a Way of Thinking: So, Why Do We Try and Standardize it?

 

Figure 1. Carl Sagan and the Universe. Copyright sillyrabbitmythsare4kids, Creative Common Figure 1. Carl Sagan and the Universe. Copyright sillyrabbitmythsare4kids, Creative Commons

Science has been prominent in the media recently.  Stories and programs including the Bill Nye-Ken Ham “debate” on origins, anti-science legislation in Wyoming banning  science standards that include climate science, a new science program on the Science Channel to be hosted by Craig Ferguson, and this weekend, the first of a 13-part series entitled Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey hosted by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Tyson’s series is based on the Carl Sagan’s 1980 13-part TV series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.   Dr. Tyson is an astrophysicist, and Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center of Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History.  Dr. Tyson has been called this generation’s “Carl Sagan” through his exuberance and public communication of science.

In this post I want to reminisce on science teaching, especially from what I learned from the work (film, print, teaching, research, and public presentations) of Dr. Carl Sagan.  Sagan was the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University.  Throughout my career I found Sagan’s philosophy important in my work as a university science educator, and want to share some of my thoughts.

51Fn+Y-IhnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Sagan was a prolific writer, and throughout his career, he not only popularized science to millions of people, he also helped us understand the nature of science, and for science teachers, how that philosophy would contribute to our professional work.  One of his books, Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science (public library), became a kind of handbook on the philosophy of science teaching.  I am sure that Sagan didn’t intend it this way, but  it surely reached me in this way.

At the beginning of Broca’s Brain, Sagan says this about science:

SCIENCE IS A WAY of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. Its goal is to find out how the world works, to seek what regularities there may be, to penetrate to the connections of things—from subnuclear particles, which may be the constituents of all matter, to living organisms, the human social community, and thence to the cosmos as a whole.  Sagan, Carl (2011-07-06). Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science (Kindle Locations 344-346). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Sagan also wrote that science is “based on experiment, on a willingness to challenge old dogma, on an openness to see the universe as it really is.  To him, science sometimes requires courage to question the conventional wisdom.”  Questioning established ideas, or proposing a radically different hypothesis to explain data is a courageous act, according to Sagan.  Quite often people who propose such ideas are shunned, or rejected by the “establishment,” including governments and religious groups.

To what extent to encourage students to question ideas, and even to propose new ideas?

Wonder

Many years ago Rachel Carson wrote a book entitled A Sense of Wonder. It was one of my favorites, and I remember and have used one quote from the book many times: “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.” Carson’s passionate book conveys the feelings that most science teachers have for their craft, and their goal is to instill in their students, “A Sense of Wonder.”

Enter Carl Sagan and his views on wonder.

Although Carl Sagan died in 1996, his partner in film production and writing, and his wife, Ann Druyan published a book several years ago (The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God) based on lectures he gave in Glasgow, Scotland in 1985.  Now she is the Executive Producer and writer of Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, based on her husband’s original Cosmos series.

To me Sagan was one of the most influential science educators of our time, and I am very happy that Dr. Tyson is hosting a new rendition of his television series.  By making his knowledge and personal views of science accessible to the public (through his writings, speeches, TV appearances, and film production), Sagan helped many see the beauty and wonder in the cosmos. You of course remember is famous, “billions and billions.” He encouraged us to look again at the stars, at the cosmos and to imagine other worlds, beings, if you will. He worked with NASA to make sure that the first space vehicle to leave the Solar System would contain messages that could be interpreted by intelligent life so that they might know of us—Earth beings.

In Varieties of Scientific Experience, areas are explored that we all want to know about. Areas that many have been forced to separate in their experiences—that is science and religion. Sagan, as much as anyone, was well qualified to give lectures on science and religion. He understood religion. He read and could recite scripture. He could argue religion with scholars in the field, and carried on debates on subjects that many scientists resisted.

In the introduction to the book, Druyan comments that for Sagan, Darwin’s insight that life evolved over eons through natural selection was not just better science than Genesis, it afforded us with a “deeper, more spiritual experience.” I thought it was interesting that Druyan also points out that Sagan, who always comments on the vastness and grandeur of the universe, believed we know very little of this universe, and as a result very little about the spiritual, about God. Sagan used analogies to help us understand this vastness. He was famous for this statement: the total number of stars in the universe is greater than all the grains of sand in all of the Earth’s beaches! This is where billions and billions came from.

So what is this musing about. Science teaching is about wonder. It is about bringing to wide-eyed kids the sense of wonder that Rachel Carson wrote about, and Carl Sagan expressed in all of his work.

Thinking Big

Figure 3. Carl Sagan. source: http://technophia.org/?p=5376
Figure 3. Carl Sagan. source:  Creative Commons

Sagan was one scientist who was willing to think big.  Lots of science teachers that I know also think big.  They bring to their students a world that is “far out” and challenging, and in this quest, pique their student’s curiosity.

Thinking Big in science teaching means we bring students in contact with interesting questions, ones that continue to pique our curiosity, and ones that are sure to interest students.  Where did we come from?  Are we alone in the Universe?  How big is the Universe?  Are we the only planet with living things?

A really good example of “thinking big” is NASA’s Carl Sagan Exoplanet Fellowship. The Sagan program supports

outstanding recent postdoctoral scientists to conduct independent research that is broadly related to the science goals of the NASA Exoplanet Exploration area. The primary goal of missions within this program is to discover and characterize planetary systems and Earth-like planets around nearby stars. Fellowship recipients receive financial support to conduct research at a host institution in the US for a period of up to three years. See NExScI at NASA.

Risk Taking

Carl Sagan was willing to take risks. Sagan took issue with two significant developments that occurred during the Reagan administration, namely the Strategic Defense Initiative (using X-ray lasers in space to shoot down enemy missiles), and the idea that nuclear war was winnable.  In the later case, Sagan developed the concept of a “nuclear winter” arguing that fires from a nuclear holocaust would create smoke and dust that would cut out the sun’s rays leading to a global cooling—perhaps threatening agriculture and leading to global famine.  He incensed the right-wing, according to Mooney & Kirshenbaum, and in particular William F. Buckley.  But Sagan held firm on his ideas, supported by other scientists, and even resisted accepting White House invitations to dinner.  Sagan’s criticism of SDI was supported by other scientists, especially Hans Bethe who authored a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The standards-based approach to science education does not encourage risk taking.  As Grant Lichtman in his book The Falconer (public library) has said, our present approach to science only encourages kids to answer question, not to question.  There is little risk taking in our approach to science teaching.   In an earlier article, I wrote this about Grant Lichtman’s philosophy of teaching:

One of the aspects of Grant’s book that I appreciate is that the central theme of his book is the importance of asking questions.  We have established a system of education based on what we know and what we expect students to know at every grade level.  The standards-based curriculum dulls the mind by it’s over reliance on a set of expectations or performances that every child should know.  In this approach, students are not encouraged to ask questions.  But, they are expected to choose the correct answer.  In Lichtman’s view, education will only change if we overtly switch our priorities from giving answers to a process of finding new questions.  This notion sounds obvious, but we have gone off the cliff because of the dual forces of standards-based curriculum and high-stakes assessments.

Lichtman writes:

Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom. Each question leads to one or more new questions or answers. Sometimes answers are dead ends; they don’t lead anywhere. Questions are never dead ends. Every question has the inherent potential to lead to a new level of discovery, understanding, or creation, levels that can range from the trivial to the sublime.  Lichtman, Grant (2010-05-25). The Falconer (Kindle Locations 967-971). iUniverse. Kindle Edition.

Science and Society

Carl Sagan exemplified, just as Neil deGrasse Tyson is now doing, the important of science in a democratic society.  Science education has a responsibility for considering Sagan and Tyson’s philosophy that science should be in the service of people.  People need to understand science.  In Sagan’s view:

All inquiries carry with them some element of risk. There is no guarantee that the universe will conform to our predispositions. But I do not see how we can deal with the universe—both the outside and the inside universe—without studying it. The best way to avoid abuses is for the populace in general to be scientifically literate, to understand the implications of such investigations. In exchange for freedom of inquiry, scientists are obliged to explain their work. If science is considered a closed priesthood, too difficult and arcane for the average person to understand, the dangers of abuse are greater. But if science is a topic of general interest and concern—if both its delights and its social consequences are discussed regularly and competently in the schools, the press, and at the dinner table—we have greatly improved our prospects for learning how the world really is and for improving both it and us.  Sagan, Carl (2011-07-06). Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science (Kindle Locations 331-337). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Science is a Way of Thinking: So, Why Do We Try and Standardize it?  Do you think there is mismatch between Sagan’s view of science and the standards-based approach to teaching?  

 

Boxed In: How the NGSS Impedes Science Teaching

The major journals of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have published articles featuring and explaining to science teachers the nature of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  The journals include The Science Teacher, Science Scope and Science and Children.  For the past several issues, each journal has published articles that deal with different aspects of the NGSS, including what students should know about earth science, life science, and physical science, when they should know it, and why these standards will “help all learners in the nation develop the science and engineering understanding they need to live successful, informed, and productive lives, and that will help them create a sustainable planet for future generations.” (Krajcik 2013, p. ).

These are laudable goals, but the roll out of the NGSS later this year won’t necessarily change or lead to more “productive” lives or help students understand sustainable living or “deep ecology.”  The standards do include some environmental and ecology content, but the kind of interdisciplinary thinking that is at the heart of deep ecology simply is not part of the NGSS.  In a search of the NGSS draft document, the word ecology does not appear, sustainability was found in only six instances, while 61 instances of the term environmental were found, but most often in the context of environmental impacts or economics.  Concepts such as interdependence do occur, but only in relationship to connecting science, engineering and technology.  No connection to the biosphere.  Then, when the standards that do relate to sustainability are examined, students learn that sustainability is for humans and the biodiversity that supports them.  In a deep ecology context, sustainability would refer to all species of living things, and their importance would not be hierarchical.

The rationale for science described in the NGSS is not related to conception or philosophy of a sustainable planet, but is instead science in the service of the economic growth of the nation, job training, and economic competitiveness in a global society.  The science standards were designed by scientists and engineers, and so there is a heavy emphasis on scientific process and content instead of thinking about science curriculum that would be in the service of children and adolescents.

Boxed In

In another article in this month’s The Science Teacher, there is a chart that shows the architecture of the Next Generation Science Standards.  Think of the chart as a box–a science standards box. Its full of the multiple standard attributes including performance expectations, kind of on-deck behaviors ready to be morphed into assessments. The box is teeming with science & engineering practices, comments about disciplinary core ideas,and cross cutting content, and connections to the nature of science. Symbolically, the box is dense, perhaps so much that one has wonder what is really important. Is this atomistic breakdown of science what will help American education progressives lead schools into a more humanistic world? I don’t know.

Figure 1 shows the same box that appeared in The Science Teacher, but without the explanations of each part of the science box.  Notice that there are four sub-boxes, one shaded white (the performance expectations), blue (practices or process of science and engineering), orange (content) and green (connections).

Every set of performance expectations in the NGSS is presented using this box-like structure.  The NGSS is 105 pages long on the online pdf draft of the standards.  As you scroll through the standards, hundreds of performance expectations are grouped into the content or disciplinary core ideas.  The standards will be released this year, and will unfortunately, adopted by most states.

ngss3-ps2
Figure 1. Science Standards Box including performance expectations, processes, content and connections

 

Let’s take a look at an example of an NGSS Box that appeared in NSTA’s March 2013 edition of The Science Teacher. The NGSS conceptual design is an oversized rectangular box in two dimensions. The box has all the elements that pertain to a grouping of content for 3rd graders in physical science.  At first glance theses NGSS boxes make you feel overwhelmed and boxed in.  Take a look.  First, the standards writers designed the whole shebang by writing the performance expectations in such as way that they can easily be converted to assessments.  In this case, this is what every 3rd grader is expected to master for this standard.  Below the expectations/assessment box, are 3 foundation boxes which include core disciplinary ideas (orange-earth, life, or physical science), cross cutting concepts (green), and scientific and engineering practices (blue). At the bottom, you will find a connection box which informs science teachers how this standard might be related to the common core, or to state standards.  You also find other items tagged on to this complicated scenario including connections to the nature of science, connections to engineering, codes and all of that.

NSTA ngss chart
Figure 2. What inside the NGSS Box: Source, NSTA journal, The Science Teacher, March 2013

 

What’s Next?

In research I’ve reported on here, the standards should be viewed as authoritarian documents that teachers had little to no part in policy decisions.  Indeed, in separate research studies reported here, the standards are impediments or barriers to learning not bridges to help children and youth understand their connection to science.  In the standards culture, students are pawns in an educational system that is in the interests of the nation’s economy and prosperousness of business and industry.

According to the 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education, the Common Core State Standards will have little to no effect on student achievement. Author Tom Loveless explains that neither the quality or the rigor of state standards is related to state NAEP scores. Loveless suggests that if there was an effect, we would have seen it since all states had standards in 2003.

The researchers concluded that we should not expect much from the Common Core. In an interesting discussion of the implications of their findings, Tom Loveless, the author of the report, cautions us to be careful about not being drawn into thinking that standards represent a kind of system of “weights and measures.” Loveless tells us that standards’ reformers use the word—benchmarks—as a synonym for standards. And he says that they use too often. In science education, we’ve had a long history of using the word benchmarks, and Loveless reminds us that there are not real, or measured benchmarks in any content area. Yet, when you read the standards—common core or science—there is the implication we really know–almost in a measured way–what standards should be met at a particular grade level.

As the Brown report suggests, we should not depend on the common core or the Next Generation Science Standards having any effect on students’ achievement. The report ends with this statement:

The nation will have to look elsewhere for ways to improve its schools.

Teachers will be in a bind when they are told to carry out the new science standards.  Wading through the boxes of performance expectations, and foundation components will give any science educator a headache, not to mention the near impossibility of thinking that every student should be exposed to the same set of content goals.

The rationale for the science standards is achievement-based. One way to look at the standards is that they use backwards engineering to define the field of science that teachers should cover in their science courses. A teacher writing on Anthony Cody’s blog explained backward engineered standards. Backward engineering means starting with an assessment, and then working backwards from it to write standards. She explains that “the goal of the Next Generation Science Standards is create a document that can market both teaching and assessment products to a captive education system, not offer a framework for good teaching of science.”

The new standards will not lead on a path that will improve learning.  It will however provide documentation for test development companies and consortia to design online assessments that will be used by bureaucrats to foster “data driven” educational reform.

What do you expect will be the affect of the Next Generation Science Standards on science teaching in American schools?

 

 

References

Krajcik, Joe (2013). The next generation science standards: A focus on physical science. The Science Teacher, 80 (3), 29 – 35.

Practicing What They Preach: Science Teacher Educators Return to School

In a forthcoming book, 25 science teacher educators describe their experiences after returning to teach students in K-12 public schools and informal settings.  Science Teacher Educators as K-12 Teachers: Practicing What We Teach was edited by Michael Dias, professor of biology and science education, Kennesaw State University (Georgia), Charles J. Eich, professor of science education, Auburn University, and Laurie Brantley-Dias, professor of instructional technology, Georgia State University.  The book will be published early in 2013 by Springer Publishers.

I was asked to write the last chapter of the book, and my comments here are based on reading the pre-published manuscripts, and content of the chapter that I wrote.

In the current era of reform, teacher education has been thrown under the bus, especially by the U.S. Department of Education.  Education policy and practice are being radically transformed in American education, and teacher preparation programs in colleges and universities are being pressured to fall in line with the marketization and privatization of K-12 schools.  In teacher preparation this is clear by looking at proposals to privatize or deregulate the education of teachers, in the increasing reductive entry and exit tests for prospective educators, in differential funding to those teacher preparation institutions whose students score higher on high-stakes examinations, and the increasing growth of home schooling because of various reasons, but perhaps the wish to reject formal schooling and indeed professionally educated teachers (Please see Michael Apple’s chapter entitled Is deliberate democracy enough in teacher education?, 2008).

One of the most important ideas that I took away from these narratives is how the professional images of these science educators changed because they were willing to take risks, and work in a culture that was very different from the one given by academia.  In crossing cultures from academia to public school and informal science settings, these professors put themselves in the environment of teachers, who in a way were more knowledgeable about the practice of teaching science than they were.

I found richness in these reports, as well as creativity, and above all else, there was courage as shown by these teacher educators’ willingness to leave the safety of university life and immerse themselves in the world of K-12 classrooms   Many of the authors took this step to find out how it feels to be back in a school in today’s classroom, and how this experience might affect their work as teacher educators.  Trying out progressive teaching strategies such as inquiry-based, the radical idea of helping students construct their own ideas, and problem-based approaches was a central goal of most of the authors.  They also hoped that thoughtful reflection of their experience through the writing and critique of their chapters in this book would give the assuredness and self-confidence to change their views and impact their university colleagues and their students.

But not everything which was reported was rosy.  And this is why these reports have such credibility.  Most of these professors had strong background in science and how to teach science.  But every one of them had problems when they entered the classroom.  Some professors left university life and took jobs in secondary schools, thinking that this would be a permanent career change.  Others took leaves of absence and taught either one or two semesters in a K-12 school.  Another group, while remaining at their university post, took time weekly to teach in a local school.  And the last group taught in more informal settings, such a camps or summer school.

Why did these professors decide to do this and then write about their experiences?  Some of them indicated that they want to improve their “street cred” with their teacher education students who sometimes would make comments such as “How can you teach us anything about teaching science when you haven’t been in a classroom for years?”  Other professors wanted to find out how progressive teaching ideas such as inquiry-based learning would actually work in the classroom.  Many of the professors were successful here, but even the ones that were successful had to make constant changes, and get help from teachers and colleagues.  Still, other professors simply wanted to work with children and youth and experience again why they decided to become teachers in the first place.

I’ll tell you more about these fascinating experiences in the coming weeks.  For now, I simply wanted to let you that this book is coming along, and that there are teacher educators that are trying to reform education from the inside-out, rather than the top-down corporate and conservative model that is strangling K-12 schools, and teacher education.

If you are teacher educator, what was your most recent experience teaching K-12 about?  How did it work out?

 

NSTA Has Serious & Extensive Concerns About Achieve’s Next Generation Science Standards

Standards development, such as in science, is a big enterprise, and one that will result in huge profits for corporations, and will cost school districts billions to carry out over the next few years.  For the past two years, Achieve and the Carnegie Corporation have teamed up to write a framework, and a set of science standards for K-12 schools.  The science standards were recently flashed on the screens of our computers for about three weeks so that we could give Achieve feedback that they no doubt will embrace in their next draft which will be published in the fall.

In the meantime, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has provided feedback to Achieve on the first public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). You can read the full report here.

NSTA, the largest organization of science teachers in the U.S., issued their reaction this week, and has concerns about the new science standards as shown by this author statement:

we continue to have serious and extensive concerns about the current content and architecture of the NGSS. These issues are similar to the ones we voiced in our review in November 2011 and January 2012 and are outlined below. The level of our concern has intensified considerably as a result of an increased number of individuals who have seen and commented on the draft.  As we inch closer to a final draft of the standards, the NSTA leadership is concerned that some of the issues we have raised have yet to be addressed and strongly recommends that these issues be addressed now so that they are reflected in the next draft.

After reading the report, I can not help reading between the lines of NSTA’s feedback to Achieve that NSTA is still an outsider in this enterprise, and “welcomes the opportunity to work together with Achieve and its writers to address the issues contained in their report.”  Welcomes the opportunity?  If you read Achieve’s website, it claims that NSTA is a partner.  If NSTA were a true partner, why does an official reply have to be written.  NSTA should be able to walk in the door of Achieve’s headquarters, and talk directly to the writers.  Its reputed that Achieve works behind closed doors, and my view of their current project further supports this contention.

Here are NSTA’s recommendations followed by further critique of the science standards.

Recommendations

Nevertheless, NSTA made critical recommendations about Achieve’s science standards, and their report outlines them.

  1. NSTA Recommendation 1: The NGSS should include a section on Connections to the Nature and History of Science in a manner similar to the Connections to Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science.
  2. NSTA Recommendation 2: The front matter of the NGSS should contain an overarching essay that explains the architecture of the standards, including the relationship between the individual performance expectations in a set and how each performance expectation relates to the practices, core ideas, and crosscutting concepts within the foundation box. The essay should also make clear how the performance expectations, practices, core ideas, and crosscutting concepts should be used in planning instruction and provide some examples for various topics and grade levels.
  3. NSTA Recommendation 3: Each set of performance expectations in the NGSS should include an opening statement that explains why this set of performance expectations has been grouped together.
  4. NSTA Recommendation 4: Every core idea should have at least two performance expectations that probe it. The first performance expectation should combine the core idea with the practice of modeling, explanation, or argumentation, and the second performance expectation should combine the core idea with one of the other five practices. The connection between these performance expectations and the core idea should be explicit.
  5. NSTA Recommendation 5: The appropriate grade level for students to learn a particular science concept in the NGSS should not differ from the recommendations in the National Science Education Standards and Benchmarks for Science Literacy unless there is published research that provides evidence in favor of the move.
  6. NSTA Recommendation 6: Any assumptions about the resources, time, and teacher expertise needed for students to achieve particular standards should be made explicit (Note: This is identical to Recommendation 11 on p. 305 of A Framework for K–12 Science Education.)
  7. NSTA Recommendation 7: The survey mechanism used for the next public draft of the NGSS should be more user friendly than the mechanism that was used for this first public draft, and the timing of the release should be sensitive to the schedules of all educators, but particularly the schedules of classroom teachers.

Achieve’s Next Generation Science Standards were available for public review for a few weeks in May, 2012 and we had until June 1 to complete their online review, and this reviewer agrees with NSTA when it said in its 7th recommendation that the next review needs to be more user-friendly.

But There is More to Criticize

The NSTA feedback is critical of the details of Achieve’s effort to write a new set of science standards for K-12 schooling.  But it is not critical of the way the standards are being created, nor do they dispute the value of standards-based reform.  We still continue to fracture the world of science into the traditional disciplines of science, and to make matters worse, the authors of an earlier report, The Framework for K-12 Science Education, added another discipline to science, and that was Engineering, Technology & Applications.

The NGSS has created a set of standards that do not get us to “think outside the box” of the traditional science disciplines. And even after adding engineering, technology and applications, they have treated this new domain as a separate, and new set of standards that students must learn and science teachers must teach.

There is very little evidence of supporting interdisciplinary teaching in the NGSS. The science standards are too confined to the traditional disciplines, and there is meager attention to “applications” in the new Engineering standards. There seems to a lack of science-related social issues being embedded in the new standards. The long history of science, technology, society and environment (STSE) education has largely been ignored in the new standards. This is as expected. When the teams are organized by content disciplines, the need or desire to give up some of limited space for your list of standards to write interdisciplinary standards is low on the priority list.

It is disappointing that the writers stayed in the traditional box and created one more set of standards that in the end will make very little difference in student learning. We’ve shown over and over by citing research studies that the authoritarian standards model of teaching presents a barrier to teaching and learning.

Why have we invested millions of dollars in creating a new set of traditional standards at a time when education dollars are scarce? A new study by the Pioneer Institute estimates that it will cost states $15.8 billion to align their state standards to the common core. What will it cost the states to align its science standards to the NGSS?

It’s probably because the education is a multi-billion dollar enterprise and a cash cow for corporations that sell products and services for the education market. Since we’ve been convinced that American schools are failing, raising the bar and writing more rigorous standards is just the ticket to pushing those test scores up. And along the way, it will mean more millions in new text books that will have to be written, new online courses and resources, new assessments and monitoring systems, staff development training to explain the new standards, and on and on.

Related Blog Posts on the Next Generation Science Standards

What do you think about the Next Generation Science Standards?

 

 

 

Next Generation Science Standards: Old School?

Sometime ago, we argued that there is little evidence that the National Science Education Standards published in 1996 and the Next Generation Science Standards released for public view by Achieve are any different than the content oriented projects of the 1960s.  The disciplines and content areas of science were seen as fundamental in those earlier National Science Foundation funded projects such as PSSC Physics, CBA Chemistry, BSCS Biology, ESCP Earth Science, ISCS, IPS, and to the National Science Education Standards published in the 1996.

Continue reading “Next Generation Science Standards: Old School?”