The new standards include ideas, practices and concepts that instruct students about natural selection and evolution. Students will learn about the evidence of adaptation and common ancestry and diversity.
The review period, in which the public's feedback is welcome, will end on Jan. 29. A full description of the standards can be found at www.nextgenscience.org. To provide comments, visit that website and click on any of the links that say "Go to the NGSS survey." Feedback collected during the comment period will be organized and shared with the leading states and writing team members.
Bob Staples, a member of Villa Rica Church of Christ, said he doesn't think the teaching of evolution is good education.
“I ask that it be removed from the classroom because it is not actual science,” Staples said. “But that’s not going to happen; I know that.”
The church sponsors the Web page Christians4Science, which contains text and videos that reprehend the teaching of evolution in public schools.
“The whole purpose of this is to inform the public of what’s happening and to encourage their involvement,” Staples said. “Christianity and science go together. Evolution is random chance; it does not make for any rational understanding for how you can do science.”
Zoe Evans, a life science teacher at Central Middle School, was on the Next Generation Science Standards writing team, and she said the team tried to stay true to the framework outlined by the National Research Council.
“Some of the greatest minds in scientific education and science itself provided that framework,” she said. “All standards, not just those dealing with evolution, were based on that framework.”
States all over the nation are leading the development of the standards, an effort that will clearly define the content and practices all students will need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation, according to a report from the Georgia Department of Education.
Evans said the new standards have come about because it’s been more than 15 years since the standards were last looked at.
“Science is a dynamic, changing field,” she said. “We just want to provide a quality education for our children.”
American students continue to lag internationally in science education, making them less competitive for the jobs of the present and the future, the state release said. A recent U.S. Department of Commerce study shows that over the past 10 years, growth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. The report also shows that STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than other jobs in the coming decade.
The release stressed that the state has not adopted the standards and will form working groups to study their adoption after the final version of the standards is released by the end of March.
The development of the Next Generation Science Standards is a two-step process. The first step was the building of a framework that identified the core ideas and practices in natural sciences and engineering that all students should be familiar with by the time they graduate. In July, the National Research Council released A Framework for K-12 Science Education, developed by a committee representing expertise in science, teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and education policy.
The second step is the development of science standards based on the Framework. The 26 Lead State Partners guided the standard writing process, gathered and delivered feedback from state-level committees and came together to address common issues and challenges.
Staples said he has never seen any clear evidence to support evolution.
“If there’s no evidence, and we’re supposed to be teaching about things with identifiable evidence, then why are we teaching it in science classes?” he asked. “Because people have made it a law that you can teach it.”
Staples said he believes there are standard-writers who are putting there own beliefs into their work.
“I believe that with this new scientific effort, there’s some evolutionists inserting their beliefs into it,” he said.
Staples stressed that he does not want creationism to be taught in public schools instead of evolution.
“I’m more concerned about scientific truth than I am with having to go along with what is being done,” Staples said. “I do believe the truth is opposing the evolution notion and supports or confirms or makes sense out of the design/creation viewpoint. We all have a world view, how we look at life. If you had to boil it down to the two, the Christian and the evolutionist, the Christian makes a whole lot more sense. If you take the evolutionist world view, the world does not make any sense. You can’t find your purpose in life. It contradicts a lot of things that you see.”
He asks anyone seeking additional information on the work of the Villa Rica Church of Christ to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to visit www.unity-in-christ.org/Articles/christians4science_is_an_apologe.html.
“There are directions and an instructional video on how to give feedback on that website,” Staples said. “We just want to let people know what they can do.”