“Objective” generally means not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased. It means to teach, not to indoctrinate. It involves teaching methods which seek to reasonably and objectively inform students about, and cause them to critically analyze, competing viewpoints about religious issues and questions.

“The old California standards date back to 1998, so an update certainly seems reasonable. However, the 1998 standards were rated “A” (the best in the nation) by Fordham, so it seems odd that they are being replaced by the “C”-rated NGSS."


On September 26, 2013 COPE and others filed a complaint against the implementation of the NGSS adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education in June 2013.  Copies of the complaint may be found at:
COPE v. Board of Education and
COPE Legal Complaint (PDF doc)

Framework for K-12 Science Education and
Next Generation Science Standards

A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2012)

COPE letter to Achieve, Inc., on first draft of NGSS (June 1, 2012)

Next Generation Science Standards (2013)

COPE Press Release on NGSS (April 21, 2013)

COPE letter to Achieve, Inc., on second draft of NGSS (January 29, 2013)

Fordham Institute gives NGSS a mediocre “C” grade (June 13, 2013)

NSTA Gives Uncritical Endorsement to NGSS (November 2013)

State Adoptions of Science Standards since 2013 (July 2020)

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (www.corestandards.org) was launched in 2008 as a project of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).  The Common Core website states that the “standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.”

Initial core standards were written for two areas, English Language Arts and Mathematics.  Since Science and Social Studies are more controversial subjects, standards in these areas were postponed for future consideration.  Draft “college and career readiness standards” (essentially graduation requirements) were released for public comment in September 2009, and the draft K-12 English and Math standards were released for comment in March 2010.  The final standards were released in June 2010.

Already 45 states have adopted the national English and Math standards.  The five states that have not signed up are Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia.  Many states signed on to Common Core as a result of their participation in the Race To The Top (RTTT) funding program by the U.S. Department of Education.  A requirement for RTTT applications was that the state adopt the federal standards.  States also signed up for Common Core as a condition for receiving waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Neal McCluskey (Cato Institute) has studied the subject of national education standards at length and has concluded that national standards are ineffective. Three basic arguments are offered in support of national education standards: 1) we need the standards to compete internationally; 2) all children should have the same standards; and 3) most countries that have bested the U.S. on tests have national standards.

McCluskey says that these arguments are specious.  Children are different, and therefore one set of standards does not fit all needs.  Also, many countries that perform worse than the U.S. on international tests also have national standards.  Standards tend to be “dumbed down” – that is, set at a low level of proficiency – so that most students can meet them.  Research has shown that national standards have no net positive effect on student learning. 

The current National Science Education Standards were produced by the National Research Council (NRC) in 1995-1996.  These form the basis for science standards in nearly all states.  In 2010 NRC began the process of revising the 1996 Standards under the name Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (www.nextgenscience.org).  NRC admits that the impetus for this revision came from the Common Core standards movement:

“This project [NGSS] capitalizes on a major opportunity that exists at this moment – a large number of states are adopting common standards in mathematics and English/language arts and thus are poised to consider adoption of common standards in K-12 science education.” 

Thus, while NGSS is not officially a part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, it expects to be eventually incorporated into the Common Core.

NGSS is a partnership including the NRC, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Achieve, Inc. (a national education reform organization), and currently 26 states.  NGSS was a two-step process. The first was the development of A Framework for K-12 Science Education. The second step was writing the Standards. The final Standards can be accessed on the NGSS website.

COPE’s comments on the Framework and NGSS are reflected in three documents dated June 1, 2012, January 29, 2013, and April 21, 2013. In general we believe the Framework promotes a formula favoring an atheistic worldview, beginning with Kindergarten. Our views are more specifically set out in the above documents.