California adopts NGSS


California's state board of education voted unanimously to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards on September 4, 2013, according to a press release from the California Department of Education.

The NGSS, as NCSE's Mark McCaffrey explained at LiveScience (April 5, 2013), are a new set of state science standards based on the National Research Council's A Framework for K-12 Science Education and developed by a consortium including twenty-six states. When they were released in their final version, The New York Times (April 9, 2013) observed, "The climate and evolution standards are just two aspects of a set of guidelines containing hundreds of new ideas on how to teach science. But they have already drawn hostile commentary from conservative groups critical of mainstream scientific thinking."

But in California, objections aimed at the inclusion of evolution and climate change in the NGSS were not apparent. Summarizing the comments offered at three public meetings held in April and May 2013, the California Department of Education reports (PDF, p. 2), "Seventy-two percent of the comments at the public meetings were favorable towards adoption of the NGSS for California, twenty-two percent were observations, and only six percent unfavorable — the unfavorable comments were mostly focused on professional development and implementation concerns."

California is the sixth state, after Rhode Island, Kansas, Kentucky (pending legislative approval), Maryland, and Vermont, to adopt the NGSS; no state has considered and rejected adopting the standards.