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With Draft of Science Standards Issued, Public Debate to Begin

Science education is likely to be the topic of plenty of discussion— and probably some heated rhetoric—in coming days, as the first public draft of a set of "next generation" science standards was released today.

The ambitious effort—involving 26 states, plus a variety of educators and experts—seeks to refocus K-12 science instruction across the nation with a special focus on ensuring that students apply their knowledge of key concepts through scientific inquiry and engineering design to deepen their understanding.

You can check out the EdWeek story here.

I'll be sure to provide updates and further analysis as feedback on the draft standards rolls in. In a document that calls for promoting depth over breadth in studying science, you can bet there will be some lively debate about what is included and what's left out. Meanwhile, as my story notes, don't be surprised if the treatment of issues such as evolution and climate change spark heated debate in some circles.

You can read the draft standards and submit comments here.

I'll close with a few comments from Stephen Pruitt, a vice president at Achieve, a Washington-based group that is managing the standards-development process (and is himself a former state science education official in Georgia.)

First off, like others involved in the effort, Pruitt emphasized that the draft standards are based on a framework produced by the National Research Council through a panel of experts in science and science education. (For a close look at that document, see this EdWeek story from last summer.)

In addition, he emphasized that the document is a work in progress. In fact, there will be a second public draft available for comment next fall.

"First, it is a draft, a draft based on the [NRC] framework," he said. "And the framework is really the foundation for all of this."

He added: "It's very much a draft for people to tell us the issues they see, ... and to really give us some robust feedback to make these truly world-class standards."

I'll look forward to seeing some of that "robust feedback"—and blogging about it—in the coming days and weeks.

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