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Common Science Standards Adopted by Vermont Board of Education

Vermont today joined the small but growing list of states to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, after its state board of education voted 9 to 0 in favor. The action came the same day that Maryland's board also voted unanimously for adoption.

In all, state boards of education in five states have now signed off on the standards, including Rhode Island, Kansas, and Kentucky. (In Kentucky, the board's vote on adoption is still subject to a regulatory process that includes review by legislative committees.)

All five states to act so far were among the 26 "lead state partners" that helped to develop the standards. While most, if not all, of those states are expected to eventually adopt, one key question is how many other states may follow suit. As I reported recently, Florida's department of education is gathering public feedback on the standards now.

UPDATE (June 26, 4:30 p.m.): I just received a press release from Vermont's education agency about the board's action. "I hear often from Vermont businesses struggling to fill positions due to the lack of applicants skilled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)," said Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin in the release. "The Next Generation Science Standards help address these gaps and keep Vermont's schools on the leading edge nationwide."

Also, this document from the state education agency provides some background on Vermont's involvement in developing the standards. In addition, it discusses the "cost implications" for implementing the standards. Not surprisingly, the first item is professional development for educators.

"Vermont educators will need meaningful professional development to support refocusing their pedagogy to incorporate engineering design and integrated science
content into classroom instruction effectively," the document says.

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