Press Release: The Franklin Standards

New K-12 Science Standards give hope for the future of science education

National Association of Scholars

New York, NY; June 18, 2024—The National Association of Scholars (NAS) and Freedom in Education (FIE),organizations dedicated to improving America’s science education, have created The Franklin Standards: Model K-12 State Science Standards. NAS and FIE want to inspire America’s state education departments to provide science standards that teach American students to claim their country’s scientific and technological heritage as scientists, engineers, and informed citizens—much like Benjamin Franklin himself.

“State standards are the single most influential documents in America’s education system,” said NAS Director of Research David Randall. “State education departments use them to provide guidance to each public K-12 school district and charter school as they create their own courses. State standards also influence what textbook authors write and what assessment companies such as the College Board test for in their advanced placement examinations. They affect teacher training and they provide the framework for teachers’ individual lesson plans. Private schools and homeschool parents also keep an eye on state standards.”

The consequences of not adopting the Franklin Standards are dire. Many state education departments have imposed state science standards drawing on sources such as the Next Generation Science Standards, which combine misguided pedagogical theory, low academic standards, politicized instruction, and training in activism. This has led to a significant knowledge gap among Americans, with many students graduating from our schools without the basics of scientific knowledge. America has too few scientists, engineers, and technicians—and the failure of our schools is becoming a national security risk, as America faces ever sharper scientific and technological rivalry from its peer competitor, China. Americans must restore rigorous, depoliticized American science instruction if they are to ensure the liberty, prosperity, and security of the United States of America.

Randall continued, “These standards seek to foster the spirit of Benjamin Franklin, a curious and thorough scientist and statesman. In doing so, the Franklin Standards prepare America’s students for college and careers with comprehensive content knowledge in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Technology and Engineering, and History of Science, as well as substantial mathematical content knowledge. It does so with sustained attention to the scientific method and the distinction between theory and fact. It emphasizes that science is never settled, but is always subject to testing and revision, and should never be decided by authority or a consensus. This education encourages students to act as informed and confident citizens and policymakers by acquiring the scientific habit of subjecting theory to continued critical evaluation.”

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’ intensive content standards also facilitate reliable assessment, whether by state-level testing or tests by school districts and individual teachers.

“The Franklin Standards will especially benefit the most disadvantaged students,” said Beanie Geoghegan, Freedom In Education Co-Founder and Manager of Content and Solutions. “Disadvantaged students benefit from intensive content instruction even more than better-off students, who receive large amounts of content knowledge from their families and peers. Content standards that abbreviate content foster an unequal society because they especially harm the education of disadvantaged children. The Franklin Standards’ intensive content standards fulfill America’s promise of equal educational opportunities for everyone.”

“States and school districts should create science standards modeled on the Franklin Standards because it teaches American students their heritage of scientific and technological excellence,” concluded Randall.

NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at www.nas.org.
 

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For more information about this issue, contact: David Randall, Director of Research, National Association of Scholars, [email protected], or Sabrina Caserta, Media Director, Freedom In Education, [email protected].

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