This week, the Kansas Board of Education will get an update on the effort to develop new standards to guide science instruction in the state.
The board has been receiving regular updates on science standards, even though a final vote isn’t expected until at least May. Kansas and many other states are working on common standards for possible adoption in their public schools.
What are these standards? Science is one of the subjects that fall under the Common Core Standards, which will eventually include English language arts, math and social studies and is the updated way Kansas assesses students. State education officials expect the new assessments to be fully implemented by 2015.
The standards identify what students need to learn and teachers decide how to teach. The standards are not a curriculum, and local school boards retain control over curriculum decisions.
There is a shift in emphasis from “adequate yearly progress” to college and career ready as dictated by the controversial No Child Left Behind law. Kansas is one of the 48 states to adopt the Common Core Standards.
It is hoped that science receives the respect it deserves. In the past, Kansas has become the national laughing stock over debates about how evolution should be taught.
Kansas has been ranked first in its region for economic development projects in Site Selection magazine’s 2012 rankings. Site Selection, which has compiled annual economic development rankings since 1978, listed Kansas 13th among all states for expansions and new facilities opened in 2012.
It is through strong education that the state will continue to produce the young minds necessary to keep Kansas’s economic development engines running. Science will be the key to the jobs of the future.