OVERVIEW: The Smithsonian Science Education Center and the Shell Oil Company have collaborated to compose a document titled- Fostering Change: Ideas and Best Practices for Diversity in STEM Teaching in K-12 Classrooms. This playbook provides support in trying to diversify the STEM teaching ranks.
PURPOSE: Here is some wording directly from the playbook that describes the purpose of the document.
The nation faces challenges to achieve excellence in its science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce; and, the importance of fostering diversity in STEM teaching is fundamental to this success. Several theories support the importance of having educators in the classroom who reflect the background and experiences of the students in their schools. Across the nation, there are programs that aim to increase the number of STEM teachers or programs to increase the number of teachers from diverse communities at large, but very few programs aim to do both at the same time. In 2015, an effort was launched by Shell and the Smithsonian Science Education Center to bring together individuals and organizations with the unique ability to foster change through a series of activities designed to assist school districts in implementing systemic reform to increase diversity in their STEM teaching community.
Together, these experts identified several opportunities that can impact a school district’s path toward increasing the diversity of STEM teachers in the classroom, while preparing these same STEM teachers for science leadership opportunities. One identified need was a playbook of recommended discussions, practices, and tools that a school district could use to foster change. This playbook will provide school district decision makers and change makers with a starting point to begin their efforts. The playbook is designed to be responsive to district needs and will be revised as we collect feedback from school districts and individuals who offer best practices for success.
I recommend skimming the Table of Contents to get a clear overview of the playbook.
This is a thoughtfully designed resource to add to your toolbox of equity-focused science resources.
AUDIENCE: school district leaders, human resource departments, college of education administrators and recruiters, supporters of equity and diversity in STEM teaching and learning
OVERVIEW: The Advancing Coherent and Equitable Systems of Science Education (ACESSE, or “access”) project recently released an Open Educational Resource (OER) module for professional learning on equitable 3Dimensional formative assessment tasks in science.
AUDIENCE: science professional development providers, teacher leaders, school district leaders, teacher educators, etc
PURPOSE: The module provides all the resources needed to provide a 60-90 minute session of professional learning on Equitable 3D Formative Assessment. You will find slides, facilitation notes, and embedded resources. Lots of good stuff here… I’m looking forward to more impactful resources from this project.
LINK: Click HERE to learn more about this resource and to find all of the materials.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are explicitly designed with equity and diversity in mind. I fear, however, that in places where NGSS implementation is being rushed (Let’s just “plug in” our new standards) that the critical focus on equity and diversity might get lost. A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the NGSS call out equity as a pivotal issue in K-12 science education that we must wrestle with. But what do we mean by equity? Skim the text box below from the Framework and see how many different definitions you can find for equity.
A Framework for K-12 Science Education (The foundational document of NGSS) states:
WHAT IS EQUITY? (BOX 11-1)
The term “equity” has been used in different ways by different communities of researchers and educators. Equity as an expression of socially enlightened self-interest is reflected in calls to invest in the science and engineering education of underrepresented groups simply because American labor needs can no longer be met by recruiting among the traditional populations. Equity as an expression of social justice is manifested in calls to remedy the injustices visited on entire groups of American society that in the past have been underserved by their schools and have thereby suffered severely limited prospects of high-prestige careers in science and engineering. Other notions of equity are expressed throughout the education literature; all are based on the commonsense idea of fairness—what is inequitable is unfair. Fairness is sometimes considered to mean offering equal opportunity to all. The most commonly used definition of equity, as influenced by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education (1954, 1955) and Lau v. Nichols (1974), frames equity in terms of equal treatment of all.
I highly recommend that everyone reads chapter 11 from the Framework on Equity and Diversity in Science Education. It is imperative that every student in the United States understands the core ideas of science, engages in the critical thinking of real scientists and engineers and uses the intellectual tools of the crosscutting concepts to make sense of the natural world.
I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tools on Equity and Diversity in the coming weeks but you may want to peruse this resource from STEM Teaching Tools– a brief titled- How can we promote equity in science education?
OVERVIEW: In the April 2016 issues of all of the NSTA journals there is a FREE article titled: Addressing Student Diversity and Equity. The article describes 4 aspects of NGSS that are particularly relevant to diversity and equity issues:
- 3Dimensional performance expectations that focus on explaining phenomena and solving problems- When the phenomena and problems are nested in home and community contexts, students are able to leverage their everyday experiences and language to engage with the learning
- Inclusion of engineering- solving problems in local contexts makes science relevant and improves interest in STEM fields
- Science & Engineering Practices- promote rich discourse and practice in the talk of science and allow students to share thinking using “less than perfect English”
- Crosscutting Concepts- enable students to make connections among multiple science ideas
The article then goes on to discuss NGSS Appendix D and the 7 Diversity and Equity Case Studies (PS- these are now much more difficult to find with the nextgenscience.org reorganization) These resources need to be as foundational in teacher professional development as understanding the 3 Dimensions and the anatomy of a standard.
AUDIENCE: K-12 teachers, administrators, parents, curriculum directors, PD providers, community members, etc
PURPOSE: Provides an overview of Equity & Diversity resources in NGSS. Makes a case for the importance of an Equity & Diversity focus during NGSS implementation.