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State Board of Education Advances Proposed Standards to Modernize Science Education


Harrisburg, PA - Following a series of public stakeholder sessions and committee meetings with education professionals to develop content, the State Board of Education today advanced new proposed science standards that align with current research and best practices, including Next Generation Science Standards. 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 serve as 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 rulemaking 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.

PDE sought volunteer content experts to draft the new standards. On May 6, the State Board approved 60 education professionals to serve on the Content Committee and an additional 18 individuals to serve on a Steering Committee to work in tandem with the Content Committee. Additionally, the department held 14 public meetings across the state to solicit stakeholder input.

For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs please visit the Department of Education’s website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest

MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Levis - 717-783-9802, or

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