State Board of Education Seeks Public Feedback to Advance Tennessee's Science Education Standards
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2022
CONTACT: Elizabeth Tullos
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — The Tennessee State Board of Education launched its second survey to collect public feedback on the state’s newly revised K-12 science academic standards earlier today.
The K-12 science standards set grade-specific goals that establish what students are expected to know and be able to do by the end of a given grade or course.
During the two public review periods, the State Board invites Tennesseans to share their feedback on the state’s K-12 science standards through an online survey. Members of the public can review the recommended changes to all sections of Tennessee’s science standards. The survey includes options to indicate whether a standard should be kept, changed, removed, or moved to a different grade level, as well as space to indicate if a new standard should be added.
"Collecting public feedback is an important first step in revising the standards," said Catherine Johnson, deputy director for academic policy with the State Board and project manager for the standards review process. "As a former Tennessee teacher, I believe this is a key time for educators, parents, and community members to make their voices heard on what our students should know and be able to do."
The first round of public feedback closed on September 19, 2021, collecting over 10,000 comments from teachers, education leaders, and parents. At the conclusion of the first survey window, teams of Tennessee educators from K-12 schools and higher education reviewed the public comments. Those educator teams proposed revisions, which are now available for public review in the second survey window.
"We are grateful for the time and expertise of the Tennesseans who comprised these committees," said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director for the State Board of Education. "Their day-to-day work in the classroom and content expertise shaped how they incorporated the public feedback into the proposed revisions."
Established in law in 2015, Tennessee’s process for updating the academic standards on math, English language arts, social studies and science is among the most transparent and comprehensive in the nation.
The initial public survey on the science academic standards initiated a year-long process that includes two rounds of public feedback and input from multiple committees of Tennessee educators.
Following the second survey, the Standards Recommendation Committee — a public body appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House of Representatives, and confirmed by the General Assembly — will review the proposed revisions alongside public comments to deliberately decide which standards to recommend to the State Board of Education for final adoption. These steps combine public input and expert vetting in a transparent and inclusive way.
Adoption of the revised standards kicks off a preparation process that includes educator training, the adoption of aligned textbooks and instructional materials, and the alignment of state assessments to the revised standards. After these processes are complete, the revised science standards will be implemented in Tennessee classrooms during the 2024-25 school year.
The State Board last received public comment on Tennessee’s science standards in 2016 and, following revision, approved the current standards in October 2016. During that review process, there were over 1,300 reviewers and 29,000 comments, each of which was considered by the educator advisory team as they updated the standards line-by-line. An overview of the academic standards review process is available on the State Board of Education website.
The Tennessee State Board of Education is a ten-member, governor-appointed and legislatively confirmed board charged under the law with rulemaking and policymaking for K-12 education. Through a close partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, the Board maintains oversight in K-12 implementation and academic standards.