It’s been a little over a year since a partnership of education and science organizations released the Next Generation Science Standards. Now the groups that crafted them need to actually get them into classrooms, no small task. One recent Carnegie grant is for an online hub to get the updated standards in front of teachers nationwide.
When the partnership—consisting of NSTA, Achieve, Inc., the AAAS, and the National Research Council—released the NGSS in 2013, their work was far from done. As you might imagine, sweeping, modernized standards for teaching science nationwide don’t simply walk into American classrooms.
For one, while Common Core standards are separate (although complementary) from NGSS, the backlash against the former isn’t exactly helping the cause. But also, in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Oklahoma, legislatures have attempted to prevent adoption of the new standards, because they include information about human-caused climate change and evolution. You know: science. So far, 11 states and the District of Columbia have officially adopted the standards.
One of the main challenges is just getting the standards out there in an easily accessible form for all, since whether or not states officially implement them, the NSTA is recommending any teacher access and use the content.
Carnegie Corporation has been funding the implementation of the NGSS since 2011, having made grants of more than $1.6 million to a combination of the NSTA and Achieve.
Their most recent grant for the standards was made this summer, for $500,000 to implement and disseminate the online NGSS teacher toolkit. The grant allows the NSTA, a nationwide organization of science educators, to continue an aggressive campaign to get the word out about the standards. In addition to face-to-face support, the organization will provide web forums, conferences and online newsletters to spread the word and provide resources about implementing.
The NSTA has already established NGSS@NSTA, the online hub for the standards, which provides online access, catalogued by topic and grade level, but also online resources listed above, a blog of news and action alerts, and updates on state-by-state adoption.
The funding is part of Carnegie’s Urban and Higher Education Program, which is intended to create pathways and educational opportunity by creating systemic change across K-16 education. The program has three main focuses—rolling out new standards, developing teachers, and new innovations in classrooms.