MSTA Position Statement on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
The purpose of the Montana Science Teachers Association (MSTA) is to promote high quality science education in the state of Montana. Its membership is comprised of teachers of science, scientists and university faculty and is dedicated to the advancement of science teaching at all levels of education, including but limited to, K-16 and informal settings. As a state chapter of the National Science Teachers Association, MSTA supports the NSTA position statement recommending the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (http://www.nsta.org/about/positions/ngss.aspx).
The Montana Science Teachers Association is in support of the adoption of the NGSS for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that many teachers, schools, and districts in Montana are in the process of partial or full implementation. Montana was a member of the NGSS lead state coalition and as such, key stakeholders in MSTA as well as state level educational specialists, had direct input to the writing of NGSS. The recent successful completion of the Montana Partnership with Regions for Excellence in STEM (MPRES) impacted over 120 teachers throughout the state in deep, rich conceptual understandings of the three dimensions of NGSS, science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas. A majority of MPRES teachers are currently implementing NGGS practices in their classrooms and are dedicated to becoming 3 dimensional teachers as described by the standards. Feedback from the MPRES teachers documents that students, teachers, administrators and parents see the benefit of teaching science from a 3 dimensional approach. For elementary teachers, the strong connections between Common Core language arts/math and NGSS are attractive, intuitive and common sense.
MSTA believes the vision of NGSS compliments Montana’s vision for science education. The science and engineering skills, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas described in NGSS will prepare Montana students for success in college and 21st century careers. The adoption of NGSS will not limit local control as districts, schools and teachers will determine the curriculum that best fits their educational needs. NGSS will provide the research-based, best-practices structural approach to provide exemplary science instruction to all students.