Never Gonna Succeed in Science

Never Gonna Succeed in Science


Kelly Feng, Guest Writer

Irvington High school, like many other schools in the nation, has transitioned to a new NGSS pathway in the recent years. However, NGSS comes with many drawbacks such as the limitation of course flexibility for students and extra work for teachers.

The implementation of NGSS means that students will no longer be able to challenge themselves academically. For example, they will no longer be able to take any AP courses until 11th grade. According to the Fremont Board of Education, “NGSS are more rigorous and are cognitively more demanding than the 1998 standards”. However, students who originally planned to take an AP class in sophomore year can no longer do so. Now, they will have to wait until junior year to take AP biology, AP chemistry, or AP physics. Even though NGSS is supposed to help students transition into AP curriculums, students must now spend half of their high school career just to prepare for AP classes, which defeats the purpose of having more academically rigorous classes, since students now have to wait an extra year to take AP classes. Essentially, students who planned to take their AP science class in sophomore year would now have extra stress piled on to their junior year thanks to NGSS. This change is especially detrimental for students who plan on taking marching band for all four years. For example, a freshman currently taking marching band that planned to take two science AP classes before senior year will now have to take both classes in junior or senior year, or give up taking marching band for a year. They would also have to postpone zero period PE or meeting their art credit by a year. Overall, the new science program places extra stress on students and reduces their flexibility with choosing courses while also overloading them with the stress of having added course load later in their high school career.

NGSS establishes core concepts and allows students to learn directly with hands-on science, but compared to the old curriculum, students have a much smaller pool of classes to choose from. Previously, students were not limited by the pathway they chose, but with NGSS, students must choose between the Physics pathway or the Living Earth pathway. If a student chooses the Physics pathway, they will only be able to take AP Physics 1 or AP environmental science in their junior year. On the contrary, if  a student chooses the Living Earth pathway, they will still be able to take AP Physics 1 in addition to the other science AP courses, but they will be doing so without little to no background in the subject. This means that students are ultimately limited by the pathway they choose and do not have the option to explore the different fields of science.

Establishing NGSS also creates extra work for our teachers. According to the NGSS official website, “It is likely, as has occurred with Common Core State Standards, that many of the most rapidly available textbooks and related resources claiming alignment to the NGSS will be superficially rather than deeply aligned and will not have been substantially redesigned”. With the introduction of NGSS, our classes will have less textbook use because the current textbooks do not fully align with the NGSS curriculum. This means that teachers will have to supplement most of the curriculum with their own materials, which creates hours of additional planning for already overworked teachers. The recent Work to Rule movement demonstrates just how hard things are already for our teachers, and forcing extra work on them outside of working hours will only exacerbate matters. NGSS also incorporates more hands on concepts, which again means that teachers would have to take the time outside of class to develop labs and activities.

Even though NGSS was implemented with the intention of improving student learning, it severely limits the choices that our students have and places extra stress on our teachers.