A view of biology teacher Ronald Hitchcock's American Bull Frogs from the science storage room behind his classroom at Sylmar High School.
The California Board of Education delayed a vote this week on whether to adopt teaching goals based on new science standards released last April, because it wants to give teachers more time to comment.
The Next Generation Science Standards were developed by 26 states, including California. Its benchmarks are designed to change the focus from rote memorization to hands-on experimentation . It represents the first national push to revamp science teaching since 1996.
"Our members are overwhelmingly in support of the Next Generation Science Standards," said Laura Henriques, president of the California Science Teachers Association.
Still, she understands the board's decision. She said lots of teachers are on vacation over the summer, so they may not have had a chance to review the new standards yet.
"They're wanting to have due process and be transparent," she said. "While many folks were hoping they'd adopt [Monday], I don't know if we really expected them to."
Although the standards have been public since April, California school officials did not release information on how they would implement the plans for middle school students until June.
The board has until Nov. 30 to accept the standards.
If and when they are accepted, there will still be several steps before the new teaching plans hit California classrooms.
"Even if these were adopted [Monday], the standards would not be implemented in classrooms this fall," Henriquez said, "because the instructional materials and the assessments are not in place yet."