CA State Board of Education
The curriculum change was set into motion on Sept. 4, 2013, when the State Board of Education (SBE) changed the standards to those of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This curriculum change was implemented in biology classes and began in chemistry classes this school year.
According to chemistry teacher, Ani Hanoian, the new NGSS program includes the old chemistry material, along with some new units of study.
“The content is 85 perecnt the same topics that are in chemistry, but there are more earth and space sciences [included] now,” Hanoian said.
The goal of NGSS is to educate K-12 students in a modern way with modern standards.
“Science — and therefore science education — is central to the lives of all Americans, preparing them to be informed citizens in a democracy and knowledgeable consumers,” NGSS’s website said. “If the nation is to compete and lead in the global economy and if American students are to be able to pursue expanding employment opportunities in science-related fields, all students must have a solid K–12 science education that prepares them for college and careers.”
Cheryl Costello works alongside Hanoian in the chemistry department, and believes that this new program is more hands on and relates to science in the real world.
“The flow of energy throughout the earth system and climate change relate to students,” Costello said. “It’s not just something in a beaker.”
Hanoian agrees with Costello’s point-of-view.
“The teachers guide the class to make observations and the students put the pieces together to reach a conclusion,” Hanoian said. “It’s conceptual, not definitions, but the bigger picture.”