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Iowa Task Force to Review Common Science Standards

The state of Iowa took a step toward possible adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards yesterday, when the state education department named 28 members to a task force that will review the document and make a recommendation to the state board of education. The panel will meet for the first time next week.

"Iowa played a key role in the development of these standards, and now it's time to vet them and determine whether they should move forward in schools across the state," said Iowa department of education interim Director D.T. Magee in a news release.

The panel includes science teachers, district officials, state legislators, college faculty, and students, among others. One voice that appears to be absent, however, is that of scientists, either in the field or academia. (There are several professors of science education, plus a professor of computer science.)

Five other states have adopted the standards since they were finalized in April, including Rhode Island, Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland. (In Kentucky, the board's vote on adoption is still subject to a regulatory process that includes review by legislative committees.)

Iowa was one of the 26 lead state partners to develop the common science standards. Each of those states has pledged to give serious consideration to adoption, so presumably most, if not all, will eventually do so. Some other states also are expected to consider embracing the standards as well.

Here's a sampling of folks named to the Iowa task force:

• Kelly Carr, science teacher, Lewis Central Community school district
• Leslie Flynn, professor in science education, University of Iowa, Iowa City
• Dan Kelley, state representative
• Mike Knedler, state board of education member
• David Moore, hardware operations manager, Google
• Kari Webb, regional STEM manager, Governor's STEM Initiative; and
• Joseph Schwanebeck, director of education, Science Center of Iowa

Two additional meetings of the task force are scheduled for Sept. 18 and Oct. 16. All the meetings will be open to the public.

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