Education, Press Release Governor Tom Wolf announced the progress continues on updating Pennsylvania’s science education standards. The Department of Education (PDE) today briefed the State Board of Education and identified 60 education professionals to serve as content experts to draft the new standards. A draft of the revised benchmarks will be publicly available this fall.The state board initiated the review last year to revise the standards and align them with current research and best practices, including a review of Next Generation Science Standards.“Science is a vital part of our educational system and an integral component in a changing economy,” Governor Wolf said. “My administration has been making significant investments in science education through PAsmart, and we must modernize science standards so students have the knowledge and skills for good careers in emerging industries.”Science standards serve as the basis for curriculum development and instruction in schools. Currently, the state Board of Education regulations include two sets of standards related to science – Science and Technology and Environment and Ecology.“The Wolf administration recognizes that expanding access to computer science and STEM education is critical for preparing our students for an ever-changing workforce, and that updating science standards is an important part of this initiative,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera.As part of its review, PDE held a series of 12 public meetings engaging more than 900 stakeholders earlier this year to receive feedback from educators, parents and other community members. A detailed report of all stakeholder input was compiled to inform the recommendations of the committee drafting the new standards.“Hearing directly from educators, parents and other individuals at public meetings is essential to helping the board develop new standards,” said Board Chairperson Karen Farmer White. “We look forward to receiving the recommendations from the committees as the next step in this priority project.”The department also sought volunteer content experts to serve on the committee drafting the new standards. The board today approved 60 education professionals to serve on the Content Committee and an additional 18 individuals to serve on a Steering Committee to work in tandem with the Content Committee.View a list of committee members.As part of his commitment to science and technology education, the governor launched the innovative PAsmart initiative to support K-12 computer science and STEM education, registered apprenticeships, and job training.For more information about Pennsylvania’s education policies and programs, please visit the Department of Education’s website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.View this information in Spanish. Progress to Modernize Science Education Standards Continues as Content Team Announced May 06, 2020 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
Chemicals giant Dow is to concentrate its European defined contribution (DC) schemes in a Belgium-based cross-border pension fund, starting with its Dutch DC plans.It is to place the Dutch DC plans – with combined assets of €45m and 1,900 participants – with UnitedPensions, the cross-border vehicle of Aon Hewitt.However, Dow’s current closed defined benefit (DB) plan in the Netherlands, comprising €2.5bn of pension assets, will remain with its Dutch pension fund, the company made clear in a newsletter.Ed d’Hooghe, Dow’s director of human resources and vice chairman of the Dutch scheme, said the firm’s DC scheme in the UK was to be next to join United Pensions, to be followed by its DC pension funds in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. He made clear the decision was aimed at achieving benefits of scale and costs savings, as well as improving the portability of pensions for staff moving between countries. Dow to relocate DC schemes to Belgian cross-border fundCurrently, Dow has three DC plans in the Netherlands, two of which are being implemented by a low-cost DC vehicle (PPI), i-PensionSolutions, and the third by Dow Pensioenfonds itself.D’Hooghe indicated that the decision to relocate the Dutch pensions was in part triggered by the PPI contracts expiring and Dow developing plans for European DC arrangements.“After comparing the propositions of Dutch PPIs, we concluded that the international option would be the best.”According to d’Hooghe, UnitedPensions’ life cycle came on top in a survey by consultants Mercer and Milliman.He said that the pan-European pension fund would also be cheaper to run in the longer term after more Dow schemes have joined.“As we are satisfied with the current solution, starting a cross-border DB pension fund does not seem to be efficient”Ed d’Hooghe, Dow director of human resources and vice chairman of its Dutch schemeIn conformity with Dutch legislation, the Dutch participants of the cross-border scheme will have the choice between fixed and variable benefits after retirement, and will also be entitled to shop around for the best deal.However, Aon Hewitt in Belgium will also offer benefits, Dow made clear.The company’s Dutch pension fund will continue to independently implement its remaining DB plan.According to its vice chair, it had a sufficient number of active participants and funding of 117.5% as at the end of November.“We want to improve coverage to more than 120% and subsequently start reducing investment risk,” said d’Hooghe.He said that setting up a pan-European DB scheme, as Dupont, BP and ExxonMobil have done, was not a priority for Dow.“This would require a significant transition. As we are satisfied with the current solution, starting a cross-border DB pension fund does not seem to be efficient,” he explained.
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