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Draft Framework for 'Next Gen' Science Standards Issued

As part of a national effort to develop a set of "next generation" science standards for elementary and secondary education, a panel of experts convened by the National Research Council today issued a draft of the "conceptual framework" that will guide the standards.

"It is a draft that we are putting out for public input, and we are genuinely looking for feedback from educators and scientists and business people and the general public on what they think of the direction the committee has taken to date," Thomas E. Keller, a senior program officer at the NRC, told me.

The public comment period will end on Aug. 2.

In the introduction to the draft framework, the panel explains that the document presents a "vision of the scope and nature of the education in science and engineering that is needed in the 21st century. Thus, it describes the major scientific ideas and practices that all students should be familiar with by the end of high school."

The draft also notes a strong emphasis on engineering and technology.

"Engineering and technology are featured alongside the natural sciences in recognition of the importance of understanding the designed world and the need to better integrate the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," the document says.

Organizers say they hope that the new standards developed in response to the NRC framework will be embraced by states, though any such decisions would be up to individual states. Also, to be clear, this effort is entirely separate from the common core standards recently issued for English/language arts and mathematics.

I'll have plenty more to say later about the NRC framework for new science standards, but in the interests of getting the news out quickly, I'll stop here. Check out this EdWeek story from February for further background about this initiative.

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