Illinois Science Standards Face Overhaul

Mar 26, 2013

Carol Baker

Illinois educators are in the process of re-writing science standards for public school students. The move would involve a major shift in how the subject is taught.

Illinois’ current science standards were adopted in 1996. Some say it’s time to implement a new model that will give students a better chance to compete in today’s jobs market.

Carol Baker, who heads the Illinois Science Teachers Association, is taking part in the drafting the new standards.

She says the goal is to get away from what she calls “worksheet science.”

"What the new science standards are really going to do is require that students are doing something. That they are doing laboratory investigations, they're making models, they're communicating scientific information, they're arguing and developing ideas" Baker said.

Many other states are also taking steps to overhaul science education. But some worry that potential changes, including the replacement of traditional course names, could upset parents and fail to impress college admissions officials. However, Baker says there's a good chance that any changes will be phased in, giving those involved time to adjust.

A draft of the new standards is scheduled to be released later this week. The Illinois Board of Education could take up the recommendations as early as this summer.