K-12 Science Standards – State By State
‘Over the past decade, a lack of coordination has led to the widespread implementation of about fifty different benchmarks.’
In an attempt to improve elementary science education, the U.S. Department of Education has developed a set of new standards, known as K-12 standards for Science. The new standards are scheduled to be put into effect for grades K-3 in schools throughout the country on July 1, 2020.
Under the new standards, schools in the U.S. will be required to teach the following subjects:
Physical Environment Sciences
Technical Scientific Concepts
Engineering Concepts and Applications
Every grade will also have to teach at least two Essential Concepts, namely International Concepts, or ETCs; and Applied Concepts, or ACs. “ITCs are broader and more descriptive than ACs,” say the Education Department. The 2Cs will “discuss emerging trends in science and technology-based thinking, and provide tools for teaching students to identify and implement novel approaches to problem solving and planning.”
As for the Essential Concepts that will make up 3Cs, they will essentially teach the following:
Resistant to Severe Weather
Preservation of Environment
Early Research and Development
Adaptive Design and Implementation
Security Based Technology
Mining and Geospatial Technology
Considering that the K-12 science standards will be implemented in the U.S. starting in 2020, it may seem that there is still time to prepare students for them, but “Over the past decade, a lack of coordination has led to the widespread implementation of about fifty different benchmarks,” say the Education Department.
Principals at Risk
From what was reported to the Education Department, schools will be at a significant risk for falling behind the standards if they do not receive the proper training from the state education department. The new standards require that teachers “repeatedly discuss and practice the skills included in the standards” and that they “talk and practice over-and-understand the content and knowledge covered in their class.” Principals will also be expected to call, meet with, and plan for meetings with teachers to ensure that they are making the most of their time.
States Must Prepare to Change
States, however, are not allowed to choose their own standards to the K-12 standards. Every state and territory must now implement the state’s or federal standards or face a minimum of $100,000 in fines and face prison time. In this respect, the likelihood of states implementing these new standards has not been lost on education officials. For instance, Malibu, California, City Councilman, Allen Warren, feels that in this respect, it may take an “education bubble” to break down in America. According to Warren, he has already received several calls from parents, who say they fear that their schools might not be preparing their children adequately for these new standards.
K-12 Science Standards Not a Clear Step Forward
Despite the incredible efforts from the federal government, many educators are divided over the apparent validity of the new standards. “I am very skeptical that these new standards are going to show improvement in science education,” say David Poe, a high school chemistry teacher from South Florida. “In fact, I’m afraid that they will hurt the quality of science education.” Poe went on to say that while many states already have adequate science standards, the introduction of these new K-12 science standards could cause teachers to “overcorrect” how they teach their current students, which could produce a more confusing and confusing environment.