Chalkbeat’s article on the criticisms of the Next Generation Science Standards, being considered for adoption by the IDOE, is very revealing.
Regardless of the fact that the Fordham Institute judged the standards as a “C” and blasted them for their lack of content, Jeremy Eltz, a science specialist with the department who is heading up the adoption, isn’t concerned.
“One criticism is that they don’t have enough content in chemistry or physics to actually construct a high school course,” Tuttle said. “There isn’t enough material there.”
Eltz agreed with Tuttle that the new national science standards are lighter in content. But he doesn’t necessarily think that’s bad. The standards’ emphasis on skills and scientific practice is important for students, too, he said. Indiana’s science standards now are fairly content-driven, he said.
Are the Indiana science standards too content driven- if there is such a thing? Are they lacking the “process or practices” standards so widely covered in the NGSS? No, the Fordham review found that the IN process standards are “nicely integrated into the content matter and is presented at reasonable length and depth, and is never used as a hand-waving mechanism to hide the absence or paucity of content.”
On the other hand, the Fordham report concluded that the scientific practices included in the NGSS are “forced, ill-conceived, and detract from the essential content needed in order for a student to actually engage in the practice of scientific inquiry.” The IDOE doesn’t agree:
“You really want your students to be able to perform the practice of a scientist and an engineer,” Eltz said.
He fails to realize that a scientist “performs” the way he or she does because of the extensive content knowledge learned over many years. I guess the IDOE finds that unnecessary- just grab a beaker, put on a lab coat, and do a group project- BAM you’re a scientist!
Check out more from the Chalkbeat article here. The IDOE representative is actually quoted as saying that less content is OK because teachers are spending less class time teaching science than they used to do. Go figure.