Join the Franklin Standards Coalition

National Association of Scholars

You may add your name to this petition and join the Franklin Standards Coalition by submitting your signature information at the bottom of this page.

We call on the states and school districts to adopt new science standards, based upon The Franklin Standards: Model K-12 Science Standards. The Franklin Standards is rigorous, clearly written, and appeals to a broad majority of Americans. The Franklin Standards will allow Americans to reclaim their scientific and technological heritage as a nation second to none of scientists, engineers, and informed citizens—much like Benjamin Franklin himself.

The Franklin Standards provides a content-rich summary of required science knowledge, with equal standards for every student, to restore a culture of high expectations. It includes the core disciplines of Physical Sciences (Chemistry and Physics), Life Sciences (Biology), and Earth and Space Sciences, as well as Technology and Engineering, History of Science, and Scientific Inquiry. It provides rich standards so that teachers do not compromise on content and focuses on lucid statements of scientific knowledge that every citizen should know.

The Franklin Standards emphasizes clarity far more than rival science standards. We have eliminated the tangle of skills and crosswalks and concentrated on facts to learn, presented in a simple list of factual items. The Franklin Standards’ straightforward structure makes it easy for teachers to use and easy for parents to hold teachers accountable for how well they teach science.

The Franklin Standards remove the low standards imposed by the Next Generation Science Standards and similar standards in the name of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” politicization, and the conflation of scientific inquiry and activism. It provides full and excellent science instruction in part by using materials produced before a hyper-politicized generation came to the fore in the education establishment and in part by updating its content to incorporate current scientific knowledge.

Science education that prepares students for college and career requires substantial mathematical content knowledge. The Franklin Standards have been crafted to complement Mathematics standards that will provide that knowledge—above all, Mathematics standards keyed to provide Algebra I in Grade 8. The Franklin Standards will provide content to match existing reformed Mathematics standards and will provide a benchmark for states that intend to reform their Mathematics standards.

The Franklin Standards emphasizes that science is never settled, but is always subject to testing and revision, and should never be decided by authority or a consensus. Science education should help students acquire the scientific habit of subjecting theory to continued critical evaluation by learning early that even the most well-supported theories are theories, and not facts.

The Franklin Standards focuses on scientific methodology, which includes what is normally taught as the scientific method (hypothesis, test, experiment), but which accounts also for the broader range of methods scientists use for scientific exploration of nature. This goes against the grain of current science education, which asserts that multiple ways of knowing stand on an equal footing with scientific knowledge. The Franklin Standards teaches students about the unique nature of scientific methodology as an essential component of the nature of science.

The Franklin Standards is designed so that states and school districts can alter the sequence as they see fit. States and school districts can create equally rigorous standards by abbreviating some topics, expanding others, or adjusting the course sequences. They also can integrate United States History instruction with instruction in regional, state, and local history. States and school districts that adjust the course sequence can make age-appropriate adjustment to the learning standards.

The content-rich Franklin Standards makes clear what teachers should be expected to know, and what state education departments can expect of teachers. The Franklin Standards outlines what teachers should learn, whether in college, graduate school, or professional development. It also helps teachers to arrange content so that it builds coherently over several years, and to know what is appropriate for each grade level.

The Franklin Standards’ intensive content standards facilitate reliable assessment, whether by national companies such as the Educational Testing Service (ETS), state-level testing, or tests by school districts and individual teachers. Its content standards provide enough material to make it easy both for teachers and for large organizations such as ETS to create tests that accurately assess student knowledge.

Some educators argue that schools should limit content instruction, even though a large body of scholarship has shown their arguments are misguided. Content standards that focus on “skills” and abbreviate content especially harm the education of disadvantaged students, and thereby foster an unequal society. When disadvantaged students receive intensive content instruction, they learn eagerly and well. The Franklin Standards offers comprehensive content knowledge to ensure that America’s schools fulfill the promise of equal educational opportunities for everyone.

The states and school districts should work immediately to adopt new science standards, based on The Franklin Standards: Model K-12 Science Standards.

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