Maine Among States to Lead Science-Standards Effort

By Erik W. Robelen — September 15, 2011 1 min read
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Word is starting to get out about states expected to play a lead role in developing a set of new, common science standards. So far, we’ve seen stories indicating that Maine is among them (which I’ve confirmed with organizers) and that Kansas is “likely” on the list.

Last month, I blogged about the fact that Kansas was interested in becoming a “lead partner,” given that the state at times has been a center stage for debates over the teaching of evolution. (A framework developed by the National Research Council for the new standards makes clear that evolution is critical to understanding biology.)

A final list of states will be out next week, said Dana Tofig, a spokesman for Achieve, a Washington-based nonprofit that is working with states and outside experts to develop the standards. He did confirm, however, that Maine is among them.

“We will announce the 20 Lead State Partners in the Next Generation Science Standards initiative next week,” Tofig said, “but we are glad to see that excitement is already building.”

For background on the effort to develop new science standards, check out this EdWeek story.

A story in the Kennebec Journal says Maine education Commissioner Stephen Bowen announced Wednesday that Maine had been selected as a lead state partner in drafting the Next Generation Science Standards, a role that Bowen said will help ensure that the standards meet the needs of Maine students and industries.

“There’s going to be this group of lead states that are going to have a seat at the table,” Bowen said. “It means that we’re going to be there as these pieces are put together.”

The article notes that Maine’s science standards were last updated in 2007.

The Capital-Journal newspaper of Topeka, meanwhile, has a story saying members of the state board of education were told this week Kansas is likely going to be named a lead state. That state’s science standards are next scheduled to be reviewed in 2014.

State board member Sally Cauble told the newspaper she hopes her fellow board members will carefully consider the standards when the final draft is presented to the states.

“Kansas has always been a little controversial when it comes to science standards,” she said. “Sometimes we get so focused on one particular area that we forget there are other areas of science.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.