From Scientific American: On January 8, 2013, a group of scientists, educators and policymakers released the newest draft of the Next Generation Science Standards, which lay out ambitious expectations for what elementary, middle and high school students should learn at each grade level. These guidelines affect virtually every child enrolled in public school, and advocates say they will revolutionize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in this country. Though the standards are voluntary, many policy watchers expect a majority of states to sign on, as they did with the Common Core State Standards in Math and Language Arts in 2010. Guest writer Michael Wysession, an author of the new standards and a seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis, explains in this article why the science standards are so important.