ERIC Number: ED489110
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
The State of State Science Standards, 2005
Gross, Paul R.
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation & Institute
Until now, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) has focused everyone's attention on reading and math--and on whether schools are making "adequate yearly progress" in those two core subjects. Although some states incorporate additional subjects into their own accountability systems, reading and math have dominated most discussions of state standards, student achievement, and school performance. That's about to change, with the addition of science to the NCLB regimen. Federal law requires that, beginning in 2007-2008, states must test students in science at least once in grades 3-5, once in grades 6-9, and once in grades 10-12. While the science results don't (yet) influence whether a school makes "adequate yearly progress," they must be reported at state and district levels. Formal consequences are avoided, but not sunlight, praise, and shame. Thus the NCLB accountability spotlight will soon start illuminating states' and schools' and students' performance in science as well as reading and math, but the importance of sound science education doesn't hinge on NCLB. Its real significance has to do with the scientific literacy of the American people and the future economic competitiveness--and national security--of the United States. A recent National Academy of Sciences report concludes that "Without high-quality, knowledge-intensive jobs and the innovative enterprises that lead to discovery and new technology, our economy will suffer and our people will face a lower standard of living." In his best-selling book The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman hammers the point: "The truth is, we are in a crisis now.... And this quiet crisis involves the steady erosion of America's scientific and engineering base, which has always been the source of American innovation and our rising standard of living." Solving those problems and safeguarding our children's future means paying serious attention to science education in today's public schools. Appended are: (1) State Scores by Criteria Group; and (2) Biographical Sketches of Author & Reviewers. (Contains 25 endnotes.)
Descriptors: State Standards, Science Education, Federal Legislation, Educational Improvement, Scores, Accountability, Scientific Literacy, Engineering, Academic Achievement, Sciences
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation & Institute, 1627 K Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-223-5452; Fax: 202-223-9226; Web site: http://www.edexcellence.net.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Washington, DC.