When I was in high school, one of my favorite teachers was openly unhappy with the science curriculum that was used statewide. Unhappy perhaps may not be the proper word… he was borderline livid. Finally, unsuccessful in his attempts to sway the board of education of the state, and having been considering retirement for a years, he ended his teaching career by retiring the year after I graduated. He retired an amazing teacher, but also a teacher amazingly unhappy with the education system. By all accounts, he certainly wasn’t the only one unhappy.
Fortunately, the Board of Science Education also saw this incredible room for improvement and have stepped up and done what I would consider something incredibly difficult: they outlined an entirely new set of guidelines for science education in grades K-12. They literally took a blank set and have walked away with a draft of an entirely new science curriculum from the bottom up.
Science scores in public schools across the country have been in a state of declination for a while now, and educational boards have clearly been in a state of denial about it. To take on such a monumental task is incredible, and could have nationwide implications. The BSE is literally laying out what people should be learning and at what stage in their education it should be taught: core ideas in life sciences, earth and space sciences, physical sciences, and engineering and technology have been laid out in full.
For example: In K-2, kids will learn that animals have varying external parts: whales have fins, monkeys have hands, sharks have tails, etc. By the time students enter high school, they will know what microorganisms are (unicellular organisms, that varying physical traits are the result of alleles inherited by each parents, etc.
I cannot stress enough how epic this document may come to be. As of now, it is a draft and is open to comments and revision. This means that anyone can submit comments that may be reviewed later and taken into consideration when revising the document.
As the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, we will be submitting a bulk set of comments and suggestions submitted by members and employees of the Academy. If you are not a member, this is a seriously great chance to become one. Once you become a member, you can submit your comments, suggestions, and revisions to us, which we will submit with the rest of the MAS input. As an educational academy, they may take comments from the MAS more seriously or spend more time reviewing our suggestions, which is all the more reason we should get as many people under the MAS letterhead as possible.
First of all, to view the documents, go HERE and click the orange text at the bottom that says “View the Conceptual Framework Draft for Public Input”
To become an MAS member, click HERE. Once you are a member, you can contact Jenna Farrell, whose email is listed on the membership page.
If you’d like to contribute comments anonymously or personally, notice at the bottom THIS PAGE that the survey will be ready soon and to check back.