students. Curriculum developers, local policy makers, and teachers of science must make decisions about and provide the resources required to accommodate the different rates of learning.
The principles of equity and excellence have implications for the grouping of students. There are science activities for which grouping is appropriate and activities for which grouping is not appropriate. Decisions about grouping are made by considering the purpose and demands of the activity and the needs, abilities, and interests of students. A Standards-based science program ensures that all students participate in challenging activities adapted to diverse needs.
The principles of equity and excellence also bear on Program Standard A—coherence and consistency—and Program Standard B—curriculum. All dimensions of a science program adhere to the principle of science for all. Themes and topics chosen for curricula should support the premise that men and women of diverse backgrounds engage in and participate in science and have done so throughout history. Teaching practice is responsive to diverse learners, and the community of the classroom is one in which respect for diversity is practiced. Assessment practices adhere to the standard of fairness and do not unfairly assume the perspective or experience of a particular group. Assessment practices also are modified appropriately to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities or other special conditions.
Schools must work as communities that encourage, support, and sustain teachers as they implement an effective science program.
Schools must explicitly support reform efforts in an atmosphere of openness and trust that encourages collegiality.
Regular time needs to be provided and teachers encouraged to discuss, reflect, and conduct research around science education reform.
Teachers must be supported in creating and being members of networks of reform.
An effective leadership structure that includes teachers must be in place.
[See Teaching Standard F]
Many previous reform efforts have failed because little attention was paid to the connection between teacher enhancement, curriculum development, and the school as a social and intellectual community. Teachers with new ideas, skills, and exemplary materials often worked in an environment where reform was not valued or supported.
SCHOOLS MUST EXPLICITLY SUPPORT REFORM EFFORTS IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF OPENNESS AND TRUST THAT ENCOURAGES COLLEGIALITY. All too frequently today the norms of relationships in schools promote isolation, conformity, competition, and distrust—and teachers are treated as technicians. Significant change is called for in the vision of science education reform described by the Standards. Collegiality, openness, and trust must be valued; teachers must be acknowledged and