Long Game: Inside the Carnegie Corporation’s Quest to Improve Science Education
A nonprofit working on open-source curriculum that aligns with state standards is the latest development in the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s 10-year effort to improve science education in the United States. OpenSciEd, the new nonprofit, and the decade-long journey that led to its founding lend insight into how one of the oldest foundations in the country sees its role and future within an increasingly crowded education philanthropy landscape.
The nonprofit has been tasked with creating curriculum to align with the Next Generation Science Standards, which Carnegie was instrumental in developing. So far, Carnegie has put $4 million into the organization through the National Center for Civic Innovation at the Fund for the City of New York.
“The quality of the curriculum a teacher is working with makes a difference,” said Jim Short, program director of Carnegie’s Leadership and Teaching to Advance Learning portfolio.
“We know that the quality of teacher matters. We know that having a good principal, instructional leader in the school to support the teacher matters,” said Short. “But I think there’s enough data now showing that the quality of the instructional materials—the curriculum the teacher is working with—is the third thing that equally matters.”
Developing a framework for science education and overhauling outdated state standards to reflect the framework were the first steps to improving how science was taught in classrooms. The result was the Next Generation Science Standards, released back in 2013. Now, about two-thirds of students attend school in states that have adopted the Next Generation standards or standards that closely resemble them...