With a September 20, Washington DC announcement, New Jersey joined a group of 20 states selected to lead an important effort to improve science education for all students. The selected states will lead the development of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to define the content and practices all students need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation. The NGSS process is being managed by Achieve, a non-partisan education non-profit.
The Lead State Partners in the NGSS initiative are
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia.
Leadership in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education
With announcement of New Jersey’s strong leadership role in NGSS development, NJDOE Acting Education Commission Chris Cerf stated, “New Jersey was announced today as one of 20 states taking an instrumental role in the development of new science standards. As a lead partner in this effort, New Jersey will work collaboratively to define the content and practices that students will need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation, to ensure all students graduate from high school ready for college and career. We are excited to participate in this national collaborative, and to continue to ensure that New Jersey is a national leader in STEM education.”
Aligns with leadership in Common Core State Standards development
New Jersey’s leadership in the development of Next Generation Science Standards aligns well with its leadership in the implementation of Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts and state leadership involvements in STEM initiatives. New Jersey is one of the governing board states in PARCC (The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), an alliance of states working together to develop common assessments expected to impact nearly 25 million students.
NGSS Phase 1
The Next Generation Science Standards process will build upon the National Research Council report, the Conceptual Framework for Science Education. The conceptual framework provided a Phase 1 framework foundation. The Framework of K-12 Education was developed by a committee representing expertise in science, teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and education policy.
NGSS Phase 2
In phase 2, Achieve works with states and educators to develop the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). As part of Phase 2, an NGSS website is live. The website will house updates on development and serve as a portal for standards reviews. At the website, a NGSS fact sheet and other related source materials are available for download.
The second step is the development of science standards based on the Framework. The 20 Lead State Partners will guide the standards writing process, gather and deliver feedback from state-level committees and come together to address common issues and challenges.
Public input will be solicited
Drafts of the science standards will be made available for public input at least two times during the NGSS development process. The NGSS should be completed by the end of 2012.
Strong benefit for learners
“There is a clear benefit to providing our students with the strong science education they need to compete in college and the workplace,” said Dr. 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.”
In New Jersey, called the “medicine chest of the nation” because of its leadership in the pharmaceutical industry, a strong science education for the state’s learners is critical to support for both jobs and economic growth. Aligning New Jersey’s educational growth with its industrial needs accelerates learning’s practical success and relevancy at state, national, and global levels.