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Harrisburg, Pa. -- On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Board of Education advanced new proposed science standards that align with current research and best practices, including Next Generation Science Standards. The advancement follows a series of public stakeholder sessions and committee meetings with education professionals.

The proposed standards will soon be opened for a public comment period under the state’s regulatory review process.

“Updating science standards is a top priority under the Board of Education’s Master Plan,” said Board Chairperson Karen Farmer White. “Over the last year the Department of Education has worked with education professionals and other content experts from across the state to modernize the standards and provide the best framework for preparing our students.”

Science standards are the basis for curriculum development and instruction in schools. The current regulations include two sets of standards related to science - Science and Technology, and Environment and Ecology. Both sets of standards took effect on January 5, 2002.

The State Board directed the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) last September to begin the process of updating the standards.

The proposed standards would replace the previous ones with three sets of standards:

  • Pennsylvania Integrated Standards for Science, Environment, Ecology, Technology and Engineering (Grades K-5)
  • Pennsylvania Integrated Standards for Science, Environment and Ecology (Grades 6-12)
  • Pennsylvania Technology and Engineering Standards (Grades 6-12)

“The Wolf administration recognizes that expanding access to computer science and STEM education has been critical for preparing our students for an ever-changing workforce,” said Matt Stem, PDE Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. “In line with these efforts, Gov. Wolf supports the initiative to modernize science standards and align them with best practices.”

The notice of proposed rule making initiates a formal review and approval process through the Independent Regulatory Review Commission that includes several steps for public comment. New regulations must be approved within a two-year timeline.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.