The Education Department’s Bureau Chief for Standards and Curriculum, Erika Cook, says the new guidelines are the result of months of work from a state review team.
“We are hoping with the performance expectations that classrooms teach kids to think like a scientist when that is appropriate, and also have also integrated engineering concepts that will be integrated throughout the classrooms,” Cook says. She says the goal was to refocus the way science is taught. “We are hoping the classrooms continue to come alive for out students and they can learn to behave like scientists,” Cook says. “And the most important thing is so they can become excited about science and engineering and can continue learning and studying about that throughout their lives.”
Cook says each individual district will determine how the new guidelines are implemented. She says the Department of Education will put together guidance for districts and put together opportunities to help teachers learn about the new standards. Cook says they got a lot of input majority of public comments on the Next Generation Science Standards were favorable. She says it is important to review standards.
“Because times do change and we want our students of Iowa to be up on the strongest standards in each of the core content areas. And we want to be leaders in education,” Cook says. The core content she talked about also includes statewide academic standards in social studies, English-language arts, math and 21st century skills of civic literacy, employability skills, financial literacy, health literacy, and technology literacy.