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Two SEIA 8th Graders Setting State Policy

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Two Central Lee Middle School students are helping to shape the future of science education in Iowa.

26 states, including Iowa, came together to develop the Next Generation Science Standards.  They establish what a student should be proficient in as they advance in school.

A special task force is reviewing the standards to see if they should be added to the Iowa Core, which establishes benchmarks for math, science, social studies, and language arts.

The 28-member panel includes a mix of teachers, college professors and state lawmakers.  It also features three students, two of whom are from CLMS.

8th Graders Carleigh Cass and Aaron Wills both say science is their favorite subject.

"It's just so interesting," says Wills, "in how it tries to say everything in a scientific way, but some things cannot be explained.  That is what scientists try to accomplish in their lives... find something that cannot be explained and try to put it into your own words.

Cass says her love of science is due to the process of gaining knowledge of the world around you.

"It is so vast and expansive," says Cass.  "You can never cover every end of the Earth, the solar system, the galaxy or the universe."

Cass says she and Wills were selected based on their involvement in the school’s successful science bowl team.

They both say they have enjoyed their time on the panel and worked hard to contribute throughout the process.

The task force plans to hold its 4th meeting in November.

Cass and Wills believe, at that point, the panel will be able to make a recommendation to the Iowa Department of Education on whether it should adopt the Next Generation Science Standards.

The process has involved studying the Iowa Core and determining how it compares with the NGSS.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.