While 26 “lead state partners” agreed to seriously consider adopting the Next Generation Science Standards when they were developed two years ago, just 13 states and the District of Columbia have adopted them so far.
As I wrote last year, the common science standards have been slow to catch on for a number of reasons, including a lack of federal incentives and preoccupation with the Common Core State Standards. And recently, the content of the standards—particularly the language around climate change—has delayed the adoption process in some places.
This week, the National Association of State Boards of Education put out a guide to help states decide whether they’re ready to adopt and implement the new science standards. It includes a “self-assessment matrix” states can use to score their readiness for adoption, with questions like: “Do key players (e.g., governor, legislators, SEA, teachers, unions, parents, business and industry members) support the new standards?” and “Do districts have the curricular, infrastructure, and professional learning supports needed to implement the new standards?”
The guide also includes case studies of some states that have adopted the standards, and recommendations for how states can communicate a change to the new standards. It was developed jointly with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders and the American Institutes for Research.
In the vast majority of states, the state board is charged with adopting new standards. West Virginia has recently shown just how fraught this work can be—there, the board has gone back and forth several times over the last six months about whether to modify the science standards’ language to reflect doubt about climate change. One conservative board member has led the charge to edit the original standards—a move that educators and scientists pushed back on heavily.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.