South Dakota is in the process of adopting new science standards. By South Dakota law, the Board of Education may not, adopt any uniform content standards drafted by a multistate consortium which are intended for adoption in two or more states. They are allowed to reference national standards and they must hold at least four public hearings before adopting any standards.
Mr. Shaw, of the SD Department of Education, in this video, said that in an effort to align South Dakota’s Science Standards to the new “Framework for K-12 Science Education” that was issued in 2011 by the National Research Council (NRC), the DOE looked at three sets of science standards. Massachusetts, South Carolina and the Next Generation Science Standards. (NGSS)
In comparing South Dakota’s 190 science standards to the three sources Mr. Shaw says the state referenced, I found one standard from NGSS that had been rewritten by South Carolina, and South Dakota chose South Carolina’s wording of that standard. One standard that was unique to South Dakota, HS-LS4-7. There are 188 standards from the NGSS – of which 45 contained word changes such as “conduct” has replaced “carry out”, and “engage in an argument” replaces “construct an argument” Some words were left off the standards, and some had words added. The final 143 standards are identical, word for word to the NGSS. Here are the proposed South Dakota Science Standards, highlighted in pink to represent the NGSS and yellow to represent the changes South Dakota made. There are also notes of changes made.
To be fair, the state did choose to omit 5 NGSS standards. They also chose to integrate the Engineering Standards into others. I can only assume that is because after Professional Development sessions for the NGSS in the summer of 2013, which about 50% (400) of the state’s Middle School and High School Science teachers, the teacher survey said that science teachers were uncomfortable teaching engineering.
Let’s just take a quick look at a short timeline of the state’s efforts to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards.
- Summer 2013 – The Department of Education offered professional development sessions to middle school and high school teachers who teach science classes. About 50% of the state’s teachers participated.
- Fall 2013 – after that summer of professional development, at a public meeting at the Hamlin School, Dr. Schopp said that we were not adopting the NGSS – they just were not right for South Dakota.
- February of 2014, Mr. Shaw of the SD DOE not only attended the “NGSS Annual Meeting for State Leadership Teams and National Partners” in Atlanta, Georgia, but also gave a presentation called, “A Vision for Science Education in South Dakota” where he spoke about what the state had learned from teachers during the summer of 2013, and how they would use that information to adjust professional development for the Next Generation Science Standards for the other 50% of middle and high school science teachers, as well as elementary teachers.
- This summer, USD offered professional development courses which included:
* Kindergarten Academy: Meeting the Kindergarten Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards with Engaging, Hands-On Activities.
* Primary Academy: Meeting the Challenges of the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards with Engaging, Hands-on Activities in the Primary Grades.
If the Board chooses to adopt these standards, or any standards before July 1, 2016, they are ignoring the intent of the law. The people’s representatives , 87%, voted to slow down the national standards train that threatens to take over our locally controlled schools.
South Dakota law prohibits the Board of Education from adopting any uniform content standards drafted by a multistate consortium which are intended for adoption in two or more states prior to July 1, 2016. However, nothing prohibits the board from adopting standards drafted by South Dakota educators and professionals which “reference” uniform content standards, provided that the board has conducted at least four public hearings in regard to those standards.
The next public hearing will be November 17, 2014, in Pierre. We will notify you of details of these hearing here. Be sure to follow this blog so you get an email whenever something is posted, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.
It would appear, that for all intentional purposes, the activities of the state, the professional development being offered, and the fact that the “South Dakota Science Standards,” are taken almost word for word, from the Next Generation Science Standards, that South Dakota Science Standards are the Next Generation Science Standards and that the Board is being asked to adopt National Standards.
In future posts I will be presenting more evidence that South Dakota is adopting the Next Generation Science Standards.