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New science standards hard sell at cash-strapped Sylmar High School (Photos)




Biology teacher Ronald Hitchcock teaches his advanced biology students. On the right, student Juan Santacruz.
Biology teacher Ronald Hitchcock teaches his advanced biology students. On the right, student Juan Santacruz.
Biology teacher Ronald Hitchcock teaches his advanced biology students. On the right, student Juan Santacruz.
Advanced Biology student Jose Baltazar during class at Sylmar High School.
Biology teacher Ronald Hitchcock teaches his advanced biology students. On the right, student Juan Santacruz.
Some of the critters in Sylmar High School science teacher Ron Hitchcock's classroom. Hitchcock, who has taught at the school since 2000, estimates that he's spent $10,000 on the entire collection.
Biology teacher Ronald Hitchcock teaches his advanced biology students. On the right, student Juan Santacruz.
An American Bull Frog. High school biology teacher Ronald Hitchcock estimates he spends $3,500 a year on classroom supplies, which include critters like this one.
Biology teacher Ronald Hitchcock teaches his advanced biology students. On the right, student Juan Santacruz.
A view of biology teacher Ronald Hitchcock's American Bull Frogs from the science storage room behind his classroom at Sylmar High School.
Biology teacher Ronald Hitchcock teaches his advanced biology students. On the right, student Juan Santacruz.
An exterior shot of Sylmar High School, which celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this school year. The school is one of more than 100 high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.


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Earlier this month, 26 states — including California — released new K-12 science standards. The ambitious plan hopes to reinvent science education across the country and transform students into 21st century thinkers. 

It's the first attempt at federal science standards since the mid-'90s, but making the shift will cost millions in training and technology upgrades, and traditional textbooks won't do the job. 

KPCC's Mary Plummer visited Sylmar High School in the northeast San Fernando Valley to find out how prepared science teachers are for the change.