Baesler Seeks North Dakotans’ Insight on Computer Science, Social Studies Learning Standards

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Office: 701-328-2247
Cell: 701-400-8557

BISMARCK, N.D., Nov. 9, 2018 – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler is asking for North Dakotans who are willing to step forward to serve as independent reviewers of new state academic learning standards for social studies, computer science and cybersecurity.

Two separate groups of public reviewers will be assembled to scrutinize drafts of the standards, Baesler said Friday. The academic content standards are being written by two committees of North Dakota educators who are experts in cybersecurity/computer science and social studies.

Baesler said she hoped parents, business people, educators, community leaders and anyone with an interest in education would consider applying to join one of the two review groups. Applications for each group are on the Department of Public Instruction’s website. The application deadline is Friday, Nov. 23.

"We want North Dakota parents, taxpayers and community leaders to bring an outside, independent perspective to these standards," the superintendent said. "I believe this process will strengthen the standards, and give added public credibility to the final product."

North Dakota’s social studies standards were last updated in 2007. The computer science and cybersecurity standards are the first ever written in the state. Academic content standards are intended to show what a student should know, and be able to do, at certain points during his or her progress through elementary and secondary school.

Since Baesler took office in January 2013, the Department of Public Instruction has updated the state’s academic content standards in mathematics, English, early learning, physical education and health. New standards for science and the arts are nearing completion. The early learning standards were written in collaboration with the state Department of Human Services.

The superintendent has established standards-writing procedures that put the task in the hands of North Dakota educators who are experts in the subject matter, while providing ample opportunities for public review and comment on the teachers’ work.

The first draft of the computer science/cybersecurity and social studies standards will be completed soon and available for public comment. After the public comment period ends, the two sets of standards will go to their respective independent review committees. The review panels will go over the standards and offer suggestions on how they could be improved or clarified.

"North Dakotans who are interested in education should have an opportunity to take a hand in writing these new standards for computer science, cybersecurity and social studies," Baesler said. "These standards are critical building blocks for the education of our young people."

To participate in the review process, download the computer and cybersecurity standards review group application or the social studies review group application.