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Next Generation Science Standards Should Include CS

On May 11, the Washington, DC-based group Achieve released its first public draft of the "Next Generation Science Standards" or NGSS. These standards, coupled with the Common Core standards for mathematics are meant to define how states should think about K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Since these standards will ultimately drive what gets taught in science classrooms across the country, the stakes are high.

Computing in the Core (CinC), which runs CSEdWeek, is deeply disappointed that both the math and science standards leave computer science by the wayside. While the math standards are well on their way to being implemented and assessed, Achieve's new effort on the science standards is still in development, and they need to hear from you about the importance of having real, engaging computer science in these standards.

The development of the NGSS is a state-led process managed by Achieve. The twenty-six participating states and their supporters hope these new K-12 science standards will be "rich in content and practice" and "arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades" to provide students an "internationally benchmarked" science education. CinC and computer science educators argued early on in the process that these standards should reflect the importance of teaching and learning computer science in the country's elementary, middle and high schools. The draft, while it includes elements of "computational thinking" falls far short of our expectations and does not reflect the needs for students in the digital age. CinC sent Achieve a letter explaining its concerns:

Computing in the Core and its members are committed to changing K-12 computer science education policies in a way that supports exposing more young people to computing in grades K-12 and giving more computer science educators the support they need to teach the crucial discipline. While the NGSS letter and the efforts of CinC members in the standards development movement are good examples of our concerns and actions, voices from the field are important as well. Articulating these messages to Achieve as they gear up for a second iteration of these standards and to local and state leaders during CSEdWeek events are invaluable contributions to the CS cause.

Weigh in with Achieve, explain your concerns to your colleagues, friends and neighbors and ask them to get involved, and plan an event to raises these issues around CSEdWeek this year.

Della Cronin
CSTA Policy Consultant


Knowledge of CS is a must and would become inseparable part of regular education down the line. Inclusion of Computer Science in K-12 would be a welcomed move.

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