A Michigan State University education scholar argues that America’s K-12 teachers are not fully prepared to meet a new set of science standards.
Writing in the April 19 issue, Suzanne Wilson said the professional training landscape for teachers is woefully inadequate to handle the Next Generation Science Standards. The voluntary guidelines, unveiled this month by the advocacy group Achieve in collaboration with 26 states, call for more hands-on learning and analysis and cover fewer science topics but in greater depth.
“Science has been marginalized by the No Child Left Behind Act, so less science has been taught in schools, not more,” said Wilson, University Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Teacher Education. “And now these standards are coming out that not only call for a renewed focus on science teaching, but the kind of science that many teachers haven’t taught and many teachers haven’t experienced.”
While there is a wealth of teacher training options in the United States, Wilson said, the programs do not accommodate the depth of the new standards.
“When it comes to professional development for science teachers, we simply don’t have the knowledge base,” Wilson said.