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Public comments sought for draft of science standards
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TOPEKA – The second public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) became available this afternoon on the Next Generation Science website,   Through Jan. 29, public comment is being sought on the standards, which are designed to clearly define and integrate the content and practices students will need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation.   

Kansas has been working with 25 other states since last September to develop the rigorous, internationally benchmarked standards. The NGSS are built upon a vision for science education established by A Framework for K-12 Science Education, published by the National Academies’ National Research Council in 2011. According to the introduction of the publication, since science and engineering is increasingly linked to all aspects of life, learning science is “important for everyone, even those who eventually choose careers in fields other than science or engineering.”  The new framework is needed, also, as many states move to adopt Common Core standards in mathematics and in language arts.  
“We’re pleased to have another opportunity for a broader audience to view the work being done on the Next Generation Science Standards,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker. “We became involved in this work as a state because we welcomed the opportunity to have our voice heard as work progressed on the standards. The public review periods ensure all voices are heard with regard to the standards development.”

The first public draft of the standards was made available in May 2012 and the draft released today reflects considerable changes based on feedback from Kansas and other states on that initial draft.

Approximately 95 percent of the performance expectations in the standards draft have been modified to reflect more specific and consistent language in the standards. This draft also includes guidelines for how the science standards will align to college and career readiness goals.
 “A lot has been accomplished through the state level review committees and the first round of public comments, however we’re at a stage in the writing process now where we need additional input from a broader perspective,” said Matt Krehbiel, education program consultant for science at the Kansas State Department of Education. “I strongly encourage anyone who has an interest in science education to take the time to review this final public draft of the standards.”
While this is the final public draft of the standards, state review teams will see at least one more draft of the standards before they are finalized in March 2013. As a lead state in the standards development effort, Kansas has agreed to give serious consideration to adopting the Next Generation Science Standards as written once they are finalized; however, the state is under no obligation to adopt the final version. That decision will be made by the Kansas State Board of Education.