The final public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards is available for public input at http://www.nextgenscience.org. Comments will be accepted through January 29.
The draft is the culmination of a multi-state effort to update science standards. Iowa is a lead state in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, which will clearly define the content and practices for students to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation.
The effort began in 2010 to develop a common set of learning expectations in science that could be voluntarily adopted by states. The process has been managed by Achieve, a nonprofit education organization. The standards will be complete in March.
In Iowa, the State Board of Education eventually will decide whether to adopt the standards as part of the Iowa Core. In 2010, the State Board of Education approved updates to standards in math and literacy as part of the Iowa Core.
U.S. students continue to lag internationally in science education, making them less competitive for the jobs of the present and the future. A recent U.S. Department of Commerce study shows that over the past decade, growth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs was three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. The report also shows that STEM jobs are expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than other jobs in the upcoming decade.