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New Draft of Science Standards to Be Issued

Tomorrow afternoon, a second public draft of proposed common standards for science will be issued for comment. This represents the last opportunity for the broader community to have input into the standards, which are being developed through a partnership that includes education officials from 26 "lead states," before they are released in final form in March.

After that, it's up to states to decide whether to adopt what are being called the Next Generation Science Standards. I'll have more to say on the thorny issue of state adoptions later, but organizers of the effort are hopeful that most states ultimately will. The 26 lead states are not bound to adopt them, but have pledged to give "serious consideration" to doing so. And some other states have indicated interest in signing on as well, I'm told.

Top priorities among the standards writers include: promoting depth over breadth in science education; ensuring greater coherence in learning across grade levels; and helping students understand the cross-cutting nature of crucial concepts that span scientific disciplines. Another aim is for students to apply their learning through scientific inquiry and the engineering-design process to deepen their understanding.

For background, here are a few helpful resources from the EdWeek Archives:

• Our story on the first public draft of the science standards, issued last May;

Who is writing the science standards;

• Some friendly fire the first draft attracted from the National Science Teachers Association and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute;

• Complaints from some advocates for computer-science education; and

South Carolina adopts a measure prohibiting adoption of the science standards.

I'll be back tomorrow with analysis of the new draft.

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