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which takes longer than the typical 2- or 4- year term of elected office. Changes that will bring contemporary science education practices to the level of quality specified in the Standards will require a sustained effort.
Policies calling for changes in practice need to provide sufficient time for achieving the change, for the changes in practice to affect student learning, and for changes in student learning to affect the scientific literacy of the general public. Further, policies should include plans and resources for assessing their affects over time. If school-based educators are to work enthusiastically toward achieving the Standards, they need reassurance that organizations and individuals in the larger system are committed for the long-term.
System Standard D
Policies must be supported with resources.
[See Program Standard D]
Standard D focuses on the resources necessary to fuel science education reform. Such resources include time in the school day devoted to science, exemplary teachers, thoughtfully crafted curriculum frameworks, science facilities, and apparatus and supplies. If policies are enacted without consideration for the resources needed to implement them, schools, teachers, and students are placed in the untenable position of meeting demands without the availability of the requisite resources.
For example, state resource allocations for science education must be sufficient to meet program standards for classroom practices. Policies mandating inquiry approaches to teaching science need to contain provisions for supplying the necessary print and media materials, laboratories and laboratory supplies, scientific apparatus, technology, and time in the school day with reasonable class size required by this approach. Policies calling for improved science achievement should
For schools to meet the Standards, student learning must be viewed as the primary purpose of schooling, and policies must support that purpose.
contain provisions for students with special needs. Policies requiring new teaching skills need to contain provisions for professional development opportunities and the time for teachers to meet the demands of the policy.
Resources are in short supply, and decisions about their allocation are difficult to make. Some resource-allocation questions that are regularly faced by local and state school boards include the proportion of hours in the school day to be allocated to science; the proportion of the school budget to be allocated to science education for underachieving, special-needs, or talented science students; and the assignments of the most experienced and talented teachers. The mandates contained in policies are far too often more ambitious in vision than realistic in providing the required resources.
System Standard E
Science education policies must be equitable.
[See Program Standard E]
Equity principles repeated in the introduction and in the program, teaching, professional development, assessment, and content standards follow from the well-documented barriers to learning science for
Marking the culmination of a three-year, multiphase process, on April 10th, 2013, a 26-state consortium released the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a detailed description of the key scientific ideas and practices that all students should learn by the time they graduate from high school.