Next Generation Science Standards: Why is the process lagging behind schedule?

The web site for the national Next Generation Science Standards continues to advertise that the “second public draft will be available Fall 2012”.  But fall is starting to transition into winter, with no public release.

The revised standards – revised in response to the first public review – have been distributed privately to certain professional organizations over the last few months and those organizations have provided additional feedback.  It’s certainly true that at least one organization, the National Science Teachers Association, has publicly expressed considerable frustration with the process.  The Fordham Foundation has jumped into the debate in a public way as well.  These two organizations seem to argue in opposite directions, with the NSTA arguing for a separate section in the standards on “nature of science” and Fordham arguing that there is already too much “scientific practice” content.

But much of the debate probably has to do with the idea that these standards will represent what every student should know.  I’ve been involved in many heated arguments around this question of “What science should every student know?” dating all the way back to the writing of Florida’s standards in 2007 and 2008.  I was involved in such an argument in a more-or-less official capacity earlier this year having to do with the Next Gen standards.  This subject is by no means settled.

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