world outside the classroom. This may mean budgeting for trips to nearby points of interest, such as a river, archaeological site, or nature preserve; it could include contracting with local science centers, museums, zoos, and horticultural centers for visits and programs. Relationships should be developed with local businesses and industry to allow students and teachers access to people and the institutions, and students must be given access to scientists and other professionals in higher education and the medical establishment to gain access to their expertise and the laboratory settings in which they work. Communication technology has made it possible for anyone to access readily people throughout the world. This communication technology should be easily accessible to students.
Much of this standard is acknowledged as critical, even if unavailable, for students in secondary schools. It must be emphasized, however, that this standard applies to the entire science program and all students in all grades. In addition, this standard demands quality resources that often are lacking and seem unattainable in some schools or districts. Missing resources must not be an excuse for not teaching science. Many teachers and schools "make do" or improvise under difficult circumstances (e.g., crowded classrooms, time borrowed from other subjects, and materials purchased with personal funds). A science program based on the National Science Education Standards is a program constantly moving toward replacing such improvisation with necessary resources.
All students in the K-12 science program must have equitable access to opportunities to achieve the National Science Education Standards.
[See System Standard E]
All students, regardless of sex, cultural or ethnic background, physical or learning disabilities, future aspirations, or interest in science, should have the opportunity to attain high levels of scientific literacy. By adopting this principle of equity and excellence, the Standards prescribe the inclusion of all students in challenging science learning opportunities and define a high level of understanding that all students should achieve. In particular, the commitment to science for all implies inclusion of those who traditionally have not received encouragement and opportunity to pursue science—women and girls, students of color, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency. It implies attention to various styles of learning, adaptations to meet the needs of special students and differing sources of motivation. And it also implies providing opportunities for those students interested in and capable of moving beyond the basic program. Given this diversity of student needs, experiences, and backgrounds, and the goal that all students will achieve a common set of standards, schools must support high-quality, diverse, and varied opportunities to learn science.
The understandings and abilities described in the content standards are outcomes for all students; they do not represent different expectations for different groups of