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Private, for-profit career and tech ed; Draft science standards released

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Last week I wrote a story that appeared in our "Education Focus" section about the Lawrence school district's plans to expand career and technical education opportunities.

A reader quickly called my attention to a statement that overgeneralized the current state of CTE programs in the community. What I should have said is that there are no state-funded, public community colleges or technical schools in Douglas County.

Brian Lahargoue, executive director of the Lawrence campus of Pinnacle Career Institute, correctly points out that private, for-profit institutions have a long history in the area and provide valuable training opportunities.

Pinnacle, a nationally accredited vocational training school, has been in Lawrence for 60 years, Lahargoue says. It offers programs in allied health, wind turbine technology and computers. It offers both traditional (classroom-based) and online courses, as well as full federal financial aid to those who qualify.

Consider me corrected.

Comment period opens on Next Generation Science Standards

The second, and presumably final, public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards was released today, opening a three-week window for the public to offer comment and suggest changes.

Kansas is one of 26 lead states working to develop the standards, which are expected to become a national model for K-12 science education.

According to a report on the Education Week website, the latest draft has been changed significantly since the first draft was released in May, and the changes are largely the result of comments received on that earlier draft.

The document is expected to be finalized in March. After that, it will be up to individual states to decide on adopting them as their official standards.

“We’re pleased to have another opportunity for a broader audience to view the work being done on the Next Generation Science Standards,” Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said in a statement released Tuesday. “We became involved in this work as a state because we welcomed the opportunity to have our voice heard as work progressed on the standards. The public review periods ensure all voices are heard with regard to the standards development.”

As one of the lead states, the Kansas State Board of Education has committed to giving "serious consideration" to adopting the standards as written, once they are finalized, but is under no obligation to adopt the final version.

The question is expected to go before the state board later this year.

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