A new curriculum is being written that hopes to improve science education in the United States. The new framework will focus less on memorization of facts and more on critical reasoning with an added focus on engineering. Helen Quinn, who led the 18-member team that worked for over a year devising the framework, described the problem that these revisions aim to resolve: “The failing of U.S. education today [is] that kids are expected to learn a lot of things but not expected to be able to use them.”
According to the committee’s report, the new curriculum will focus on the following areas of science: physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences, and engineering, technology, and the applications of science. The report also explains its goals and what it hopes to gain through a revamped curriculum.
“The overarching goal is for all high school graduates to have sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on science-related issues; be careful consumers of scientific and technological information; and have the skills to enter the careers of their choice.”
So far, only the framework has been completed. The task now falls on nonprofit education group, Achieve Inc., to expand the framework into a set of standards. They hope to finish this within the coming year, though it may take several more to complete rewriting lesson plans and text books. While standards and curriculum are changing, core concepts, including evolution, will not change. “What we’re not going to do is compromise the science just to get states comfortable,” Michael Cohen, the president of Achieve, told the New York Times. Each state will have the ability to choose whether or not to adopt the new set of standards.
The report adds to a growing number of voices, including those supported by Spark, that is driving toward the creation of a future learning environment that recognizes the value of values hands-on, participatory learning, the doing and the making that characterize so many Spark projects.