For Immediate Release
November 29, 2011

Illinois among six states joining effort to write Next Generation Science Standards

New more rigorous K-12 science benchmarks to be drafted by end of 2012

NOVEMBER 29, 2011—Illinois is among six new states to join a collaborative effort to develop new science standards that will clearly define what students need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation. In addition to Illinois, the states of Arkansas, Delaware, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon are joining the Next Generation Science Standards project. The NGSS now includes 26 states and the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve, a non-profit education reform organization that is facilitating the collaboration.

“Science benchmarks need to be strengthened nationally so I’m excited that Illinois will have a seat at the table as these new standards are developed,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “We’ve already adopted the new, more challenging Common Core standards in English Language Arts and math. Adding more rigorous science guidelines to our Illinois Learning Standards will help us to better prepare our students to compete and collaborate with their peers around the world.”

In September, the following 20 states were announced as lead state partners: Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

The development of the Next Generation Science Standards is a two-step process. The first step was completed with the release of A Framework for K-12 Science Education by the National Research Council in July 2011. The framework identifies the core ideas and practices in natural sciences and engineering that all students should know by the time they graduate. It was developed by a committee representing expertise in science, teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and education policy.

The second step is the development of science standards based on the Framework. The 26 state partners will guide the standards writing process, gather and deliver feedback from state-level committees and come together to address common issues and challenges. The states also agree to commit staff time to the initiative and, upon completion, give serious consideration to adopting the Next Generation Science Standards. States submitted a letter with the signature of the Chief State School Officer and the chair of the State Board of Education as part of their application.

Drafts of the science standards will be made available for public input at least twice during the NGSS development process. The NGSS should be completed by the end of 2012.

“A majority of the states, educating more than 50 percent of our nation’s students, have committed to developing the Next Generation Science Standards and they should be commended,” said Michael Cohen, president of Achieve. “Their collaboration with the leading voices on science and science education will produce a set of rigorous standards that will provide students with a complete science foundation and prepare them to be college- and career-ready.”

American 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 during the past 10 years, 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 coming decade.

The independent Washington D.C.-based Achieve is leading the effort to make college and career readiness a national priority to ensure the transition from high school graduation to postsecondary education and careers is seamless. For more information about the work of Achieve, visit

For more details on developing new science standards, go to the Next Generation Science Standards website at