Public input sought on science standards

iowa_deIowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck today announced he’s seeking input from Iowans on a preliminary proposal to update Iowa’s science standards.

Buck announced a series of February public forums and an online survey following a state panel’s recommendation to get public feedback on the Next Generation Science Standards. This is the name of science standards developed by 26 states, including Iowa, that all states can consider adopting and adapting to meet their needs.

Academic standards represent expectations for what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through high school. Iowa’s academic standards are being reviewed, starting with science, as part of Executive Order 83.

“We want to improve our state standards, and we also want to make sure they are the right fit for Iowa,” Buck said. “That’s why public input is such a critical part of this review process.”

The process began last fall, when Buck convened a team of education and business leaders to review Iowa’s science standards, as well as rigorous science standards from other states, and to make a preliminary recommendation for improvement to take to the public for feedback.

The science standards review team’s preliminary recommendation came in December, following three public meetings.

Feedback from the February public forums and survey will be used to provide guidance to the science standards review team, which is expected to submit a final recommendation regarding science standards to the State Board of Education later this year.

Buck said fine-tuning Iowa’s science standards is especially critical as the state works to bolster its commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education so that students can compete for a growing number of STEM-related jobs.

“Standards are about setting consistent, rigorous learning goals statewide and leaving decisions about curriculum and teaching to local school administrators and teachers,” Buck said. “If our goal is to make sure Iowa students are ready for college and career training after high school, we must have clear, consistent statewide standards.”

The survey will be open through Friday, Feb. 27. Iowans also can provide feedback in person at any of the four public forums in February:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 24, Ottumwa
    4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
    Great Prairie Area Education Agency, Ottumwa Office – Auditorium                                   2814 North Court Street, Ottumwa, IA
  • Wednesday, Feb. 11: Waukee
    4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
    Waukee Community Schools District Office – Board Room
    560 Southeast University Ave. Waukee, IA
  • Wednesday, Feb. 25, Dubuque
    4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
    Keystone Area Education Agency, Dubuque Office – Room 1 ABC
    2310 Chaney Road, Dubuque, IA
  • Thursday, Feb. 26, Sioux City
    4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
    Northwest Area Education Agency, Administrative Office – Room A/Auditorium
    1520 Morningside Ave., Sioux City, IA

Visit the Next Generation Science Standards to learn more about the standards.
Iowa’s academic standards can be found on the Iowa Core website.

The Science Standards Review Team is made up of education and business leaders with expertise in physical science, life science, earth and space science, and engineering, technology and application.

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