Team Looks to New Science Standards for State Education

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A team of education and business leaders established by the Iowa Department of Education met Tuesday at the Science Center of Iowa to continue their review of the state's science education standards.

In their last meeting on March 24, the team members agreed that the Next Generation Science Standards should be the basis for their work on a final recommendation to the State Board of Education, whom have the legal authority to make any changes the team suggests. The team is now looking deeper into NGS Standards, deciding - based on public feedback - what should be adapted to better fit Iowans' wants and needs.

"Advocates of Next Generation Science Standards say these standards focus on more specific learning goals for students," said Staci Hupp Ballard, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Education. "They say they support these standards because they focus more on critical thinking, and higher thinking, than they do on standard memorization of concepts."

Academic standards simply represent expectations for what students should know and be able to do from kindergarten through 12th grade; it is left up to individual school districts to come up with a curriculum to meet these standards, however. Iowa's academic standards are being reviewed, starting with science, as part of an executive order from Governor Terry Branstad.

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