Albuquerque, NM ―Teach Plus New Mexico today issued the following statement on the state’s proposed change from the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to the STEM-Ready standards.
“Teach Plus and Teach Plus teachers strongly support the adoption of the NGSS as written and in their entirety, without the revisions proposed by the New Mexico Department of Education (NMPED) in the STEM-Ready standards.
Today, three Teach Plus teachers testified at a NMPED hearing to the benefits of NGSS to their students. The teachers presented a letter with 500 signatures from New Mexico’s educators in support of NGSS.
“The Next Generation Science Standards are comprehensive and deeply aligned to Common Core State Standards in math and reading. They are all-encompassing and all that a teacher could hope for,” said Teach Plus Fellow Darlene Fortier, a 3rd grade teacher at Cochiti Schools on the Cochiti Reservation who testified at the hearing.
“We must prepare our future engineers in the best manner possible. The Next Generation Science Standards allow for that,” said Teach Plus Fellow Shelbi Simeone, a special education teacher in the Las Cruces School District who testified at the hearing.
In 2013, NMPED's Math & Science Advisory Council recommended full adoption of the NGSS and in 2015, an 85 member-strong working group that included teachers from around the state unanimously supported the adoption of NGSS as written. Developed through a collaborative, state-led process, the NGSS lay out the crosscutting concepts in science that students should master in preparation for college and careers. To-date, 19 states have adopted the NGSS without revisions.
The STEM-Ready standards remove most of the essential parts of the NGSS, such as performance expectations that incorporate concepts and science/engineering practices to tell what students should be able to do as a result of their understandings. Adopting these revised standards will not clarify or improve the NGSS, nor will it support a strong scientific education for New Mexico students. The addition of New Mexico-specific standards is also likely to create a higher number of science standards for certain grade levels, creating concerns for teachers who emphasize breadth rather than depth in teaching and learning.
“It is imperative that our students learn to think critically and are ready to take on the science and technology innovations of the future. The NGSS are poised to teach them just that,” said Hope Morales, Teach Plus New Mexico Policy Director. “We call on PED to make New Mexico the next state to adopt the full set of NGSS.””