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Common Science Standards Get Thumbs Up From Wash. State Board

The state board of education in Washington voted last week to recommend adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. The final decision rests with state Superintendent Randy Dorn, who has signaled strong support for the standards but has yet to take formal action.

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.)

Washington State and the other five 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.

Maryland and Vermont voted to adopt the standards on the same day in late June.

Washington state Superintendent Randy Dorn "is fully supportive of the standards," said spokeswoman Kristen Jaudon in an email. But as for taking action to adopt them, she said, "he would like to wait until he's had a chance to communicate with our state senate and make sure all interested parties are in the loop.

The Washington state board of education spent about two hours last week discussing the Next Generation Science Standards. Officials from the state education agency first made a presentation. Following their presentation, a panel of experts explored the standards, including representatives from Washington STEM and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and a high school science teacher who is a past president of the Washington Science Teachers Association. The agenda is here. Also, if you've got 10 hours to spare, you can listen to an audio recording of the entire board meeting here.

For further analysis on the issue of states adopting the science standards, check out this Education Week story from early this year.

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