New science standards to be phased into Louisiana classrooms

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Louisiana’s new science standards for public schools will be phased into classrooms, taking full effect by the 2018-19 school year.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave final approval Wednesday to the rewrite of the state’s 2-decades-old teaching benchmarks with no discussion.

The upcoming 2017-18 school year will include teacher training and field testing in the new science standards, according to the education department. They will be fully implemented a year later.

The standards are guideposts for what students from kindergarten through 12th grade should know in basic science, physical science, physics, biology, chemistry and earth science by the end of each grade.

The rewrite, done by a committee of largely local educators over months of meetings, was aimed at better preparing students for science and technology jobs.

On Tuesday, board members spent much of the afternoon listening to testimony about the standards, with some people saying the benchmarks should include language encouraging science teachers to challenge evolution.

In response, the education board added a provision referencing a 2008 state law that allows public school teachers to use supplemental materials to promote “critical thinking skills” in areas such as evolution and global warming. Critics call the law a backdoor way to introduce creationism into science classes, which supporters of the law deny.

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