Will Your District Fund NGSS? It's Up To You!
By Gini Vandergon, Wendy Hagan, and Peter A’Hearn
Great News! A key component of California's new accountability system, the California School Dashboard, specifically requires districts to report on NGSS implementation in the Local Indicators section under "Implementation of Academic Standards." (You can scroll down to the bottom of the article for the official language from the district reporting tool.) So does this mean your district or local school site will account for NGSS implementation as part of its normal process and you don’t need to worry? There will be money for materials, training, and curriculum, right?
Not so fast. Just because the LCAP tells your district or local school site administrators to consider NGSS implementation in their spending plan, and the Dashboard reports what your district is doing, it doesn’t mean your administrators have a good idea of how much to spend or what to spend it on. In fact, in a 2017 PPIC (Public Policy Institute of California) survey of local districts and counties, only 21% strongly suggests that science is a priority and 39% somewhat agree (of those that responded). The CCSESA NGSS survey that went out to all districts last spring 2017 also indicates that of those that responded there is not strong support for science Professional Development with 21% of districts offering no professional development days in a year and 54% offering only 1 or 2 days a year for professional development. So the fact that NGSS is on the California School Dashboard and part of Priority #2 in the LCAP template is not enough to let you relax.
Sorry, but you and your science teacher colleagues, as well as parents and community members, are going to need to advocate and present ideas relating to how these monies will be allocated and distributed to support NGSS implementation within your district or local school site. Teachers can sometimes be reluctant to ask for money and this often comes from being told “NO” too many times. But this is a different situation. District leaders or single-site school leadership teams may not really know what to budget, so they will appreciate the help in developing a plan.
So where do you go and get examples and resources to help? CSTA, other districts, and informal institutions have some great resources to get you started.
Here are some examples of how a diverse group of districts has funded NGSS. These are not necessarily exemplars. Every district or local school site is different, these are examples of different ways different districts have funded NGSS.
Here is a great California Classroom Science article from last year about how a group of teachers was able to successfully advocate for: San Diego Early Implementers Take the Lead in Strengthening Support for Science in Their District LCAP.
The California Alliance for Next Generation Science Standards (of which CSTA is a member) has two helpful toolkits. One for communications and with implementation planning tools. Both are available from their website.
Finally, the Lawrence Hall of Science has put together a great LCAP Toolkit to help you plan and advocate.
Here is the language from the California School Dashboard:
Implementation of State Academic Standards (Priority 2)
LEAs may provide a narrative summary of their progress in the implementation of state academic standards based on locally selected measures or tools (Option 1). Alternatively, LEAs may complete the optional reflection tool (Option 2). The optional reflection tool is available starting on page 5 of the Quick Reference Guide.
OPTION 1: Narrative Summary - In the narrative box, identify the locally selected measures or tools that the LEA is using to track its progress in implementing the state academic standards adopted by the state board and briefly describe why the LEA chose the selected measures or tools.
Additionally, summarize the LEA's progress in implementing the academic standards adopted by the State Board of Education, based on the locally selected measures or tools. The adopted academic standards are:
• English Language Arts (ELA) – Common Core State Standards for ELA
• English Language Development (ELD) (Aligned to Common Core State Standards for ELA )
• Mathematics – Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
• Next Generation Science Standards
• History-Social Science
• Career Technical Education
• Health Education Content Standards
• Physical Education Model Content Standards
• Visual and Performing Arts
• World Language
Local Indicators on California School Dashboard.[/caption]
Curious to see how your district reported on the implementation of NGSS? Search the California School Dashboard for your district and look under the Local Indicators section for "Implementation of State Standards." If you see "met" next to this, it means your district submitted their report. Clicking the link will take you to that