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For the first time in nearly a decade, Tennessee has new science standards

The State Board of Education on Friday approved a new set of science standards, the first in Tennessee since 2008.

The standards, which identify what students are expected to know at each grade level, will reach classrooms in the fall of 2018.

Their approval followed a year-long review that had more than 1,300 Tennesseans, mainly educators, weighing in online last fall during public comment.

While without fanfare, Friday’s unanimous vote received a positive reception, including this tweet by Latoya Pugh, science instructional manager for Shelby County Schools and a member of the standards review committee that vetted the standards.

In a  press release, Climate Parents, a national initiative to support climate change education, also lauded the standards for their attention to the environment.

The state’s current science standards received a “D” in 2012 from the Fordham Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, which called them disordered, confusing and missing critical content in every science discipline.

Tennessee has undergone a flurry of activity in the last year to revise and update its academic standards, which are supposed to be reviewed and renewed by the State Board every six years. The science review happened with little pushback, unlike this year’s review of the state’s social studies standards and last year’s politically charged debate about Tennessee’s Common Core standards for math and English, which also have been revised.