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standards adapted to state and local needs. For example, students in grades K-4 are expected to understand the characteristics of organisms. The content standards do not specify which organisms should be used as examples; states and local districts should choose organisms in the children's local environment. Schools in desert environments might achieve this outcome using one type of organism, while schools in coastal regions might use another. This kind of flexibility should be a part of state policy instruments such as curriculum frameworks.
System Standard B
Policies that influence science education should be coordinated within and across agencies, institutions, and organizations.
This standard emphasizes coordination of policies and the practices defined in them. The separation of responsibilities for education and poor communication among organizations responsible for science education are barriers to achieving coordination. Individuals and organizations must understand the vision contained in the Standards, as well as how their practices and policies influence progress toward attaining that vision.
When individuals and organizations share a common vision, there are many ways to improve coordination. For example, intra-and inter-organizational policies should be reviewed regularly to eliminate conflicting regulations and redundancy of initiatives. Significant information needs to flow freely within and across organizations. That communication should be clear and readily understandable by individuals in other organizations, as well as by the general public.
At colleges and universities, the science and education faculties need to engage in cooperative planning of courses and programs for prospective teachers. In a broader context, scientific and teaching society policies should support the integration of science content and pedagogy called for in the Standards.
One example of the need for coordination is the various state-level requirements for knowing and understanding science content. Because different agencies are involved, the content of science courses in institutions of higher education for prospective teachers could be different from the subject-matter competence required for teacher licensure, and both could be different from the science content requirements of the state curriculum framework. Other examples include coordination between those who set requirements for graduation from high school and those who set admissions requirements for colleges and universities. Likewise, coordination is needed between those who determine curricula and the needs and demands of business and industry.
System Standard C
Policies need to be sustained over sufficient time to provide the continuity necessary to bring about the changes required by the Standards.
Achieving the vision contained in the Standards will take more than a few years to accomplish. Standard C has particular implications for organizations whose policies are set by elected or politically appointed leaders. New administrations often make radical changes in policy and initiatives and this practice is detrimental to education change,
Marking the culmination of a three-year, multiphase process, on April 10th, 2013, a 26-state consortium released the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a detailed description of the key scientific ideas and practices that all students should learn by the time they graduate from high school.