Topeka Kansas is expected to be named one of six lead states for developing national science curriculum standards, meaning it could provide strong input into the formation of those standards, state education commissioner Diane DeBacker said.
"We have it on pretty good authority that we will be named as a lead state," DeBacker told the state board of education Tuesday.
The lead states for the Next Generation Science Standards are expected to be announced next Tuesday.
Being among those states would give Kansas extra input on the drafts of the science standards, which are expected to be in final draft form by the end of 2012, said Matt Krehbiel, educational science consultant for the Kansas State Department of Education.
Education board members were told in July that if Kansas becomes a lead state, it would have to give "serious consideration" to adopting the national standards. But Krehbiel told the board Tuesday that no state will be required to adopt them.
"There's nothing attached to this that's an arm-twisting to adopt this," he said. "But I think we need to be open to what makes sense for Kansas."
Kansas is scheduled to review its state science standards in 2014, The Topeka Capital-Journal reports. The science standards are used to draft statewide tests to see how well students know the subject.
Board member Sally Cauble said she hopes the board will carefully consider the standards when the final draft is presented to the states.
"Kansas has always been a little controversial when it comes to science standards," she said. "Sometimes we get so focused on one particular area that we forget there are other areas of science."
The state's science curriculum has drawn national attention in the past when conservatives on the education board pushed through science testing standards skeptical of evolution. They last succeeded in 2005, but two years later, with moderates controlling the board again, the current evolution-friendly standards were adopted.
As part of the national standards process, each participating state board of education will be allowed to nominate representatives of business and industry to review the drafts.
The drafting of the standards is a joint effort between Achieve Inc., the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Research Council. The project is funded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.