Monday, October 14, 2013

Another set of national standards . . .

It may be old news for most of you since Superintendent Dorn announced it on October 4th, but I thought I'd still share that Washington is the eighth state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, NGSS.  I'm sharing because of one paragraph in the announcement that concerns me and that has implications for our system.

The process of implementing the standards will be similar to the one used for the Common Core State Standards. It will begin with building awareness, then building capacity in schools and districts. Full implementation is expected by the 2016-17 school year; students will be tested on the new standards beginning in 2017-18.

If the process is similar to the Common Core implementation it means that the major responsibility for developing awareness and capacity will be with each of the state's individual school systems.  It means allocating resources and dedicating time to capacity building.  It means developing structures and tools to ensure that we purchase and/or create aligned instructional materials.  It means developing and/or creating formative assessments to support students and teachers in this important work to ensure that they are ready for the 2017-18 mandated assessments.

Those in our system that know more than I do about these standards are excited and see them as an improvement over the state standards.   They also know that it will be another difficult and expensive transition and have already started the work.  I would be more excited if there were structures and revenue at the state level to support this transition.  It makes little sense to me that there is not more state support for this mandated transition like we saw for many states in the Common Core transition.

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