What happened in Science Education

Twenty six state were involved in the NGSS.  Eight states have officially adopted the standards and have begun the implementation process.

In July 2010, a document was published by the National Research Council, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences located in Washington D.C.  Because several states were updating their standards in English and Mathematics, and due to several states operating on science standards 15 years old, it was believed it was a good time to make needed changes in science education.

Any area in education needs to be revised when new effective methods are learned or new content needs to be updated.  Some of this has been done, but a need for a comprehensive change was felt by leaders in this area.

Through a grant and other resources a document was developed in partnership with several groups involved in science or science education.  The end product was a document titled A Framework for K-12 Science Education.  A final draft was published in July 2011 and is available at www.nap.edu. You can download a free PDF copy for your review. You can review a summary here.

This document, called the “Framework”, explains the reason for the changes, defines the new content, and explains how to implement the changes.  Overall much good was accomplished by this effort.  If implemented, many improvements will be made in science education.  So far, so good- right?

The next step was writing national standards based on this framework.  A standard is a description of what is taught at what grade level.  Each grade and each high school course has a group of standards which educators use to develop instruction. People familiar with this process in Georgia know that they can find all the standards for all the grades or courses their child will take at school.  This is the core of the curriculum.  Parents know what is being taught.  Again, this is a good thing. At that time, around 2012-2014, several states were working at writing new standards in science for kindergarten to12th grade.  It was believed this effort will help states implement the vision of the Framework. The vision seeks for science education to be more coherent and include engineering, technology, and practices in science, as well as become more engaging to the student.  This appeared as a worthy goal.

Each state was writing standards based on the framework and submitting them to a national standards organization.  Georgia was a lead state in that effort. That organization was Achieve Inc. and can be located on the web at www.achieve.org. These new standards were called Next Generation Science Standards. Information about NGSS can be found at www.nextgenscience.org.  These national standards were planned to be completed by December 2012 but were not released until April 2013.

What is the concern for the Christian?  The Core Idea LS4 in the framework presents Darwinian evolution as a fact.  The actual wording can be found here. There are several other places where evolution is referenced. If this is was not challenged, it would have be written into all future standards and may become a central unifying theme in K-12 science education.  The deed of the evolutionist would be done. Those unfamiliar with this process and the groups involved in it may not know how Darwinists have been and are currently using this  process to insert their worldview directly into unsuspecting young minds. If the Darwinists then and now are not challenged, exposed, and stopped, then evolution will be taught as fact with more rigor in biology and other classrooms across our state and nation.  This will have a severe impact on science and the Christian community.  The evolution in LS4 has been critiqued and answered for public review.

The process of writing national standards followed a timeline.  For Georgia the timeline is extended up to the first instruction in Georgia classrooms.  Several states are involved in the process.  Leading Partners provide leadership and direction; Writing Teams submit drafts of the new standards and the rest of the states are involved in adopting the standards.  These drafts will be reviewed by stakeholders.

According to the timeline, public feedback was provided.  The final document was released April 9, 2013.  Download it and view it for yourself.

Since the work has started we have visited other Georgia Board of Education meetings, contacted School Superintendents in Georgia, contacted the state Superintendent, emailed church leaders, contacted officials at the National Academy of Sciences, kept in communication with officials at Achieve, began a social media campaign.

Due to the controversy over Common Core, among other reasons, Georgia did not adopt the NGSS. Adjustments were made and a new timeline was produced. The fall of 2017 will be when the new standards will start to be taught. They will be called Georgia Standards of Excellence. You can view them here.