NSTA Legislative Update: America’s Strategy for STEM Education

On December 4, 2018 the Trump Administration released a five year strategic plan for STEM education that calls for expanding the nation’s capacity for STEM education and preparing workers for jobs in the these fields, and charts out a strategy which federal agencies with STEM education initiatives can use when developing their programs.

The Administration also suggests the report is an urgent call to action on STEM education and should be considered a “North Star” that all STEM stakeholders can follow.

The report, titled Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education, is based on a vision where “all Americans will have lifelong access to high-quality STEM education and the United States will be the global leader in STEM literacy, innovation and employment.”

It was shepherded through an inter-agency process lead by Jeff Weld—a former science teacher and head of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council in Iowa—who worked extensively with the STEM education community over the course of several months to develop the plan. (NSTA Executive Director David Evans is vice chair of the STEM Education Advisory Panel that is advising NSF/Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education (CoSTEM) on this report and other STEM education related issues.)

Here are some highlights from Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education.

The vision for a ensuring the United States becomes the global leader in STEM will be achieved by pursuing three goals:

  • Goal 1: Build Strong Foundations for STEM Literacy
  • Goal 2: Increase Diversity and Inclusion through Broader Access to STEM
  • Goal 3: Prepare the STEM Workforce for the Future

The federal strategy for STEM education is built on four pathways:

Develop and Enrich Strategic Partnerships

Strengthen existing relationships and develop new connections between educational institutions, employers and communities by bringing together schools, colleges and universities, libraries, museums and other community resources to foster STEM Ecosystems.  Increase work-based learning and training through partnerships of educators and employers, and explore opportunities to blend formal and informal learning with curricula so students can complete both core academic and applied technical curricula in preparation for higher education.

Engage Students where Disciplines Converge

Make STEM learning more meaningful and inspiring to study by engaging learners in transdisciplinary activities such as project-based learning, science fairs, robotics clubs, invention challenges and gaming workshops. Make mathematics a magnet, not a barrier, to the further study of STEM subjects.  Teach learners to tackle problems using multiple disciplines.

Build Computational Literacy

Advance computational thinking as a critical skill for today’s world and make it and integral part of all education.  (Computational thinking is defined as including computer science, but not just using computing devices effectively; it means solving complex problems with data). Expand the use of digital platforms for teaching and learning that enable anytime/anywhere learning; make individualized instruction possible; and offer engaging learning through simulation-based activities and virtual reality experiences.

Operate with Transparency and Accountability

The federal government must use open, evidence-based practices and decision making in STEM programs, investments, and activities. Specifically, it calls for federal agencies to:

  • Leverage and Scale Evidence-Based Practices Across STEM Communities
  • Report Participation Rates of Underrepresented Groups
  • Use Common Metrics to Measure Progress
  • Make Program Performance and Outcomes Publicly Available
  • Develop a Federal Implementation Plan and Track Progress

Federal agencies with STEM programs will be developing their plans to implement the goals outlined in this plan in the next few weeks.

Vignettes of best practices and profiles of effective federal STEM programs are sprinkled throughout the report. The Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) was cited as a best example for Documenting the Participation of Underrepresented Students in STEM programs (sidebar, page 30). NSTA administers several programs for AEOP, including eCYBERMISSIONGains in the Education of Mathematics and Science (GEMS), the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), and oversees the Camp Invention sites that are sponsored by AEOP.

Under the section Blend Successful Practices from Across the Learning Landscape, NSTA’s Connected Science Learning is cited as an online community resource that “shares effective practices and research for bridging the gap between in-school and out-of-school settings” (page 13 of the report).

The report can be found here.

Read articles about the report:

EOS: White House Releases STEM Education Strategy

Education Week: Trump Team Outlines Its STEM Education Vision

Education DIVE: White House releases five-year STEM education strategy

Science magazine: Trump emphasizes workforce training in new vision for STEM education

Stay tuned, and watch for more updates in future issues of NSTA Express.

Jodi Peterson is the Assistant Executive Director of Communication, Legislative & Public Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Chair of the STEM Education Coalition. Reach her via e-mail at jpeterson@nsta.org or via Twitter at @stemedadvocate.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.


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Ed News: Using Teacher-Leaders to Improve Schools

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This week in education news, students chalk up three times the learning gains in classrooms with the most effective teachers; virtual reality can be a powerful tool for improving environmental learning gains and attitudes; new report finds climate change may have a more permanent, major impact on the future of learning; a key method to support skill development without taking away content time is to embed supports; new survey reveals that two in 10 teachers said their students are not taught any computer science; and for co-teaching to work, teachers need time, training, and resources to effectively integrate their distinct instructional expertise; and managers have a hard time hiring and keeping millennials.

Using Teacher-Leaders to Improve Schools

Edgecombe County Public Schools in rural North Carolina has long had trouble filling all of its open teaching positions. Historically, there just hasn’t been enough interest among qualified candidates. But that’s changing. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.

Virtual Reality Could Serve as Powerful Environmental Education Tool

Utter the words “ocean acidification” in mixed company, and you’ll probably get blank stares. Although climate change has grown steadily in the public consciousness, one of its most insidious impacts – a widespread die-off of marine ecosystems driven by carbon dioxide emissions – remains relatively unknown. Enter virtual reality. Read the article featured in Science Daily.

Continue reading …

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Absentee Student

One student in the class I currently teach has only been present one day out of four weeks. How should I keep this student up to date with the work that he is missing? Any tips and advice are greatly appreciated!
— O., Ohio

Talk to your cooperating teacher to learn what strategies have been used in the past and how assessments and grading have been handled. Also, find out if any communications with the family have occurred and if there is support at home for the child to catch up. As a student teacher, you should leave these communications to the cooperating teacher and I strongly advise against giving the family your e-mail or direct contact information.

Since this student is chronically absent, you should keep notes of the lessons and activities he has missed and collect any handouts in a folder. If the student frequently loses or forgets the work he does get, then don’t send work home—keep a binder in class for him.

You can also be a little proactive and differentiate your teaching for this student as having a special need. Assemble booklets or binders of material that the student can work through at his own pace. These binders will be very useful on the days the student is present and you are in the middle of a project or an intensive class activity. Similarly, prepare some take-home activities that can replace in-class labs and hands-on work.

Hope this helps!

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Did You Get My Message?

Curiosity and non-conformity are two traits that have served science educator and eBooks+ Kids author Martha Harney very well throughout her professional life.

Harney, an elementary science specialist for the Northeast Elementary School in Waltham, Mass., grew up among people who instilled in her a lifelong love for learning new things.

“For me, the curiosity was always there,” she said.

Harney’s path to the teaching profession followed a circuitous journey. In college she majored in French. She operated her own DJ business while her children were young, giving her more time to spend with them during the day because she worked nights. Upon completing a teacher certification program, she first taught English to adults. Then she became a “roaming scientist” offering educational programming across many schools.

Approximately five years ago, while being well-established into her elementary science career, Harney applied for and was accepted into the Boston-based Museum of Science Teacher-in-Residence Program. There she met a fellow teacher-in-residence who introduced her to the NGSS@NSTA Curator program. She entered the competitive application process and was accepted into nationwide cadre of educators tasked with establishing a library of NGSS-aligned and vetted resources that teachers could use to help make the necessary instructional shifts to align their teaching with the new standards.

“The NGSS encourage curiosity rather than the memorization of facts,” said Harney. “The ‘correct’ answer doesn’t matter as much as the process required to conduct the type of investigation which leads students to the answer,” she explained.

The expertise Harney gained from becoming an NSTA Curator helped her realize that many teaching and learning resources are “stamped with the NGSS label, but do not necessarily align with the standards and/or do what they are intended to do.” She knew that science educators needed richer resources, and Harney found a great way to bring them one—by writing an NSTA eBook+ Kids.

“I’ve had a lot of books in my head for years,” Harney said, so when she received an email for NSTA seeking book ideas, she jumped at the idea.

Her eBook, Did You Get My Message? allows first graders to explore communication systems, and learn how each has both benefits and drawbacks. Specifically, the content focuses on how sights and sounds help us to send and receive messages. By exploring this eBook, students discover that usage is determined by the method that works best for the situation, and will be able to design their own communication devices after reading it.

Given that she’d taught her own first grade students how to design communications devices, the topic was also a natural one for her to explore in an eBook.

“I started with fire trucks—kids love fire trucks!—because I wanted students to design communications devices that featured light and sound,” she explained. “My students and I watched lots of videos about firetrucks and talked about how they were sending out information via their flashing lights and honking horns. And then I gave them the opportunity to design and build their own communications devices, ones that would give directions across the room.”

The eBook includes messages that students can encode or decode as well as send. Additional  opportunities are provided, via the accompanying teacher’s guide, for educators to extend learning beyond the eBook and into the classroom.

Harney credited NSTA’s creative publishing team as well as her own students for making her eBook a truly collaborative effort.

“I was writing the book last year, and during the school day, I would talk to my students  about my content as it was progressing. They helped me write it and provided feedback when they thought that the content was confusing,” she said.

“It’s always a good sign if kids can ask if they take the material home with them to work on it more!”

Never one to stop learning and exploring new topics of interest, Harney shared that she’s already at work on a new eBook about waves for fourth graders.

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Reimagining STEM for English Learners

Science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) learning is for all students. STEM learning is essential in today’s classrooms because it arms our students with the knowledge and skills to process information, uncover problems, design solutions, collect data, evaluate evidence, and engage with technology.

STEM isn’t just experimenting in laboratories and solving complicated equations; our world depends on it. STEM promotes students’ inherent curiosity as they make sense of the natural world and solve problems in innovative ways to improve society.  From making healthy, economical decisions at the grocery store to understanding the complexities of our universe, a rigorous and robust STEM education is imperative for our students to become knowledgeable, productive citizens and ready to enter the workforce.

The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that employment in STEM occupations grew by 10.5% between May 2009 and May 2015, compared to only 5.2% growth in non-STEM occupations. The national average wage for all STEM occupations was $87,570, almost double the national average of non-STEM jobs at $45,700. Giving students access to quality STEM instruction won’t just open opportunities for them to be savvier critical thinkers, it can also open many opportunities for employment in the future. Unfortunately, our English learners (ELs) are woefully underrepresented in STEM fields. How can educators best prepare EL students to be ready for the STEM jobs of the future?

It is essential to acknowledge that all children, irrespective of their home culture and first language, arrive at school with rich knowledge and skills that have great potential as resources for STEM learning.” – English Learners in STEM Subjects

Each and every student brings their own rich experiences and diverse culture to our classrooms. This is especially true for our English learners. Respecting our EL students’ diverse and rich culture—while providing them with an equitable and culturally relevant learning experience—is key to reinventing our classrooms and helping our students realize their potential. Language often appears to be a barrier to learning for English learners in the STEM classroom. This barrier is sometimes used as a catalyst for ELs not to have opportunities to engage in STEM learning, thus limiting their ability to be successful. How can we best leverage our English learners’ talents, knowledge, language, and experiences so they can be prepared to take advantage of all opportunities their futures may hold?

In October of 2018, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released its consensus report English Learners in STEM Subjects: Transforming Classrooms, Schools, and Lives. The report provides a rigorous, in-depth analysis of the research on ELs in STEM and language learning. It also details research-based recommendations for improving STEM learning outcomes for our PreK-12 students.

The report explores some important themes concerning ELs in its chapters:

The report identifies 24 conclusions based on he evidence uncovered, and it makes seven recommendations to help educators, policymakers, and systems remove the learning barriers that hinder EL students. These steps will help ensure that all EL students are provided equitable access to meaningful STEM learning opportunities. Some of the suggested recommendations include improving preservice and inservice teacher professional learning, fostering stronger family and community relationships, evaluating policies concerning ELs, and encouraging curriculum developers to create high-quality instructional resources and formative assessments for ELs in STEM subjects.

One important message from the report is that STEM instruction is not in conflict with increasing English learners’ English proficiency. ELs have the best chance for successful STEM learning outcomes when they are learning with theirs peers. “STEM subjects are best learned with the help of teachers who can support ELs in engaging in the disciplinary practices through which both disciplinary concepts and disciplinary language are developed simultaneously.”

To truly transform students’ futures, shifts in how English learners are taught STEM subjects is crucial.   English Learners in STEM Subjects offers a great framework from which educators, policymakers, families, curriculum providers, and community stakeholders can develop structures to support our EL students. In doing so, students are granted equal and equitable access to robust STEM learning experiences and are able to explore all of the possibilities of their promising futures. 

NSTA gives you the inspiration you need to pursue your dreams as well.


K. Renae Pullen is the K–6 science curriculum-instructional specialist for Caddo Parish Public Schools in Louisiana and is a NSTA/NCTM STEM Ambassador for 2018. Pullen served on The Committee on Supporting English Learners in STEM . She received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching in 2008. Follow her on Twitter: @KrenaeP 

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Early childhood science education at conferences 

 

When a conference has plenty of sessions about science and engineering learning in early childhood—so many that each time slot has 2 or more such sessions—it shows that preschool, kindergarten, and first and second grade teachers are interested in teaching science. Some might not understand much about science yet, or have taken few science education courses, but they don’t lack confidence to participate in conference sessions on science. 

Group photo of presenters from the NAEYC Early Childhood Science Interest Forum.

Members of the NAEYC Early Childhood Science Interest Forum presented together.

There was an abundance of science sessions specifically for early childhood educators, where the focus was on children’s learning from ages 3 to 8, at both the 2018 NSTA national conference and the 2018 annual conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Many sessions were full—standing room only—and even the last session on the last day was well attended. This speaks to science and engineering being relevant to early childhood curriculum and of high interest to children. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sessions in the “Diversity & Equity” NAEYC conference track on diversity and equity in all sectors of the early childhood field were also full, teaching educators about our implicit biases and strategies to talk with young children about culture, race, and racism, making the statement that NAEYC is for everyone. The NAEYC draft position statement on “Advancing Equity and Diversity in Early Childhood Education” is another indication that the organization and profession is for all people, and education is for all children. The opening statement of the draft states, “All children have the right to equitable learning opportunities that help them achieve their full potential as engaged learners and valued members of society. Early childhood educators have a professional and moral obligation to advance equity and diversity. They can do this best in early learning settings that reflect fundamental principles of fairness and justice and that implement the goals of anti-bias education.”

The NSTA position statements Gender Equity in Science Education (2003) and Multicultural Science Education (2000), are under revision. 

In commentary on equity in science education S. Elisabeth Faller writes, “As the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) make clear, equity must be a priority in today’s science classrooms (NGSS Lead States 2013). This means ensuring that all students, regardless of race, gender, and economic or linguistic background, are able to access, evaluate, challenge, and even generate scientific knowledge” (July 2018 Science Scope). The principles she identifies and discusses can be used by teachers of all ages to support “…students who perceive science to be in conflict with other aspects of their identities, such as gender, ethnicity, or economic class” to develop “positive, science-linked identities.”

Conference learning can be a moment of sudden insight and also take weeks to settle into practice. To read about the 2018 NSTA national conference in Atlanta, visit the April 1, 2018 Early Years blog post. I am going over my notes from NAEYC 2018 which are less helpful than I thought they would be! I need to take a larger notepad with me the next time to make it easier for me to write all of a thought, not just a phrase. Photographs help me remember the action but the words that guide it are also important. Here are a few photos from my experience at the NAEYC 2018 annual conference in Washington, D.C. I appreciate the many opportunities to ask questions directly of the presenters, in large sessions and during the poster sessions. If you have any questions, post a comment and I’ll respond.

I’m looking forward to working again with members of the NAEYC Early Childhood Science Interest Forum (ECSIF) who will also be presenting at the 2019 NSTA national conference in St. Louis!

Resources

Faller, S. Elisabeth. 2018. “Commentary “When you walk into this room, you’re scientists!” How you can promote positive, science-linked identities for all your students.” Science Scope. 41(9): 6-9. https://www.nsta.org/publications/browse_journals.aspx?action=issue&thetype=all&id=114042 

NGSS Lead States. 2013. Appendix D – “All Standards, All Students.” Next Generation Science Standards: For states, by states. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. https://www.nextgenscience.org/appendix-d-case-studies

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Ed News: Science Steps Up

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This week in education news, science too often is misunderstood and overshadowed by the “T” and “E” in the STEM acronym; how a Title 1 school raised its science scores significantly; learning about science is a basic human right; and Connected Science Learning’s analysis of external STEM education programs is proving just how important it is to push science learning beyond the school gates.

Science Steps Up

Carl Sagan, the late astronomer and astrophysicist who wanted to get everyone just as excited about science as he was, once summed up how those in the field feel about the rest of us: “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” Read the article featured in Education World.

Minnesota Proposes Teaching Climate Change as Human-Caused

Minnesota’s draft science education standards include language that would require state students be taught that climate change is a human-caused phenomenon — the first time in Minnesota such guidelines would finger human activity as the driver behind global warming. Read the article featured on MPR News.

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What do you teach?

What is the most important part of teaching to remember when teaching science? 
– C., Iowa

I would ask all my student teachers, “What do you teach?” Without hesitation, they would answer science, biology, chemistry, or another discipline. I would then tell them,

“I teach kids.”

The most important thing is to remember that you teach students. If you keep in mind that you are helping to develop minds and prepare them for the modern world, then throughout your career you will consider your students before your subject, keep up with new ideas in teaching, and be flexible when dealing with them because we are all different.

You need to remember that, as a teacher and perhaps a science specialist, you are among the minority in terms of your love and interest in learning and science. The majority of your students are not like you and come to your class with different ideas, likes, dislikes, and perceptions. Keeping that in mind, you should work towards getting the majority of your students to see utility and wonder in scientific pursuit, perhaps by concentrating on how science works. There are important concepts, ideas, and skills that we need to convey that cut across all scientific endeavours and demystify science. By doing so, we hopefully can create a scientifically literate populace able to understand the important contributions of science to society and capable of making informed decisions about future scientific discoveries.

Hope this helps!

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How to Properly Dispose Chemical Hazardous Waste

Most middle and high school science laboratories produce chemical hazardous waste, but what exactly is it, and how do you dispose of it appropriately?

Chemical waste is a substance that poses a hazard to human health or the environment, including toxins, corrosive liquids, and organic solvents. A school’s chemical hygiene plan or lab safety plan should include instructions for properly disposing chemical hazardous waste, as well as offer strategies for implementing alternatives to traditional chemistry lab activities or provide more teachers laboratory demonstrations. Both would ultimately reduce the amount of chemical hazardous waste.

The Environmental Protection Agency defines hazardous waste as a waste that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic. According to the EPA,

Ignitable hazardous waste could cause a fire during handling. Examples include acetone, ethanol, ethyl ether, hexane, and methanol.
Corrosive hazardous waste could corrode containers. Examples include strong acids with pH less than 2 or strong bases with pH higher than 12.5.
Reactive hazardous waste could explode with air, water, or other chemicals. Examples include picric acid, dinitro and trinitro compounds, and ethers with peroxides.
Toxic hazardous waste contains toxic components such as carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, and heavy metals.

Getting started

The first step in disposing of chemical hazardous waste involves determining its location. Usually, chemistry laboratories produces waste, but biology laboratories may also produce biological or medical waste as the result of biotechnology and microbiology course work.

The second step involves determining whether the waste is hazardous or nonhazardous. This will dictate how to handle the waste. A generator in school laboratories can make the determination based on information supplied by the manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheet. Alternatively, you can check if the chemical is listed in the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

In addition, all waste containing chemical solids, liquids, or containerized gases should be treated as hazardous chemical waste. A laboratory chemical is considered to be “waste” when you no longer plan to use it. Spilled chemicals and materials used to clean them up are hazardous waste. In addition to stock chemicals, items containing chemicals (e.g., solvents, glues, disinfectants) are hazardous waste.

Collecting and disposing hazardous waste

The American Chemical Society’s book titled Guidelines for Chemical Laboratory Safety in Secondary Schools provides the following series of steps in planning for hazardous waste collection and disposal:

1. Spend time planning and preparing for the activity.
2. Select laboratory activities that are tailored to your science standards:
     a)    Review the properties of the chemicals required and the products generated using resources such as the SDS. If the reactants or products require special disposal or create unique hazards, then modify the experiment to use safer materials.
     b)    Use small-scale or microscale procedures. These reduce waste, save on resources, and reduce preparation time. Know and review the federal, state, and local regulations for disposal of the chemicals involved.
3. Incorporate disposal instructions into your laboratory activity. By making waste disposal a routine in every activity, students will develop a culture of concern for the environment and accept it as part of their responsibility. Note: Many laboratory explosions have occurred from inappropriate mixing of wastes, such as mixing nitric acid waste with organic wastes, so be sure that waste materials are compatible. Mixing nitric acid with any organic materials may result in an over pressurization of the waste container and release of the chemical into the workspace.
4. Collect all compatible waste solutions with similar properties in a centrally located, well labeled container.
5. Dispose of waste immediately, following the regulations appropriate for your area. Disposal of small amounts of waste is easier and quicker than disposal of larger, stockpiled amounts.

The following is a suggested safety disposal protocol that can help you dispose of hazardous lab chemicals. Specific protocols are determined by the needs of each laboratory based on the types of hands-on activities and/or demonstrations.

Glastonbury Public Schools (CT) Laboratory Waste Disposal Safety Procedure

Introduction

Over the past few years, waste-reducing strategies in science labs have been adopted to reduce the amount of hazardous chemical waste being produced. However, to prevent safety incidents resulting from mixing reactive chemical products, science teachers need to be vigilant when disposing and removing solid and liquid waste produced in laboratories.

Procedure

The following safety procedure will help reduce or eliminate the danger of unexpected reactions and also help foster proper waste disposal:

a. Proper receptacles: Appropriate waste containers should be made available in the labs to prevent cross contamination of chemical products from lab activities. The use of each container will depend on the number of students and how many times the same lab is conducted. These plastic containers with lids need to be HDPE-rated (High-density polyethylene) as chemical resistant. The containers are to be labeled and color coded for liquid chemical waste or solid chemical waste. Before the end of each class period, students must return any chemicals (excess reagent, product, or waste) to the appropriate location, or dispose of them as instructed by their teacher in chemical waste disposal containers. For instructions on disposal of specific hazardous chemicals, check out: http://mdk12.msde.maryland.gov/instruction/curriculum/science/safety/chemicals.html.

b. Tag it: Each hazardous waste container from the lab needs to display the following information. This information can be completed by the teacher or lab paraprofessional.

• name of chemical waste components;
• known hazard (e.g., GHS pictograms); and
• date, school building, lab room, and science teacher.

c. Storing waste: If you add waste to a container until it is full, make sure it is segregated into compatibility groups. Also remember to add the additional contents to the tag. Keep the containers closed while being stored. They can be temporarily stored in the laboratory if additional use is anticipated within two weeks and if there is space in the container. Waste ultimately will be stored in the chemical storeroom, but again, make sure it is segregated from other chemicals and is clearly labeled and tagged. Also, have the Safety Data Sheets available.

d. Removing waste: The waste removal process will depend on the type of waste. Some forms of waste will be processed and neutralized on site by the science paraprofessional or teacher. Most waste must be picked up and removed from the site. If removed, make sure to record the day it was removed on a document—the school owns the chemical. Always plan ahead—either process it or have the waste removed in an environmentally responsible way via the maintenance hazardous waste disposal program vendor. In addition:

• Chemical storage areas shall be equipped with spill control and containment equipment, and fire extinguishers (types A, B, and C).
• Any storage area containing flammable metals must have a type-D extinguisher available.
• All chemical materials to be recycled shall be recorded on a document.
• The district will provide an annual collection for chemicals to be recycled.

Submit questions regarding safety to Ken Roy at safersci@gmail.com or leave him a comment below. Follow Ken Roy on Twitter: @drroysafersci.

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Ed News: Are Teachers Underpaid? Around the World, People Say Yes

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This week in education news, as personalized learning spreads rapidly among U.S. schools, critics contend the term often is a misnomer; Americans think that U.S. teachers are underpaid by an average of $7,500 a year; it’s still difficult to teach evolution in many public school classrooms; Hawaii has teacher recruitment and retention challenges; incorporating arts education through STEAM engages the right side of the brain; and the panel that sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress approved small but significant changes to the test’s description of what constitutes “advanced,” “proficient,” and “basic” performance.

STEM and Blacks

More Blacks are attending colleges and universities than ever before. Over the last 60 years, the percentage of Blacks attending and graduating from colleges and Universities has nearly quadrupled from less than 5 percent in 1960 to nearly 15 percent in 1998 and 22 percent in 2015. For the last 50+ years Blacks have enjoyed access to opportunities available in every occupation and profession, however Blacks still gravitate toward the same types of professions. Read the article featured in DIVERSE.

Why Does Personalized Learning Sometimes Feel Impersonal?

Fourth graders aren’t great at keeping secrets, but in Jeremy Crowe’s class, they stand shoulder to shoulder and try to stay poker-faced as they pass a small beanbag behind their backs. A girl in the middle of their circle scrutinizes each face, trying to guess who has the toy. The game is part of the class’ morning meeting—based on the theme “How do we reveal ourselves to others?”—and the students’ conversation wraps in role-playing for handling distracting friends as well as ways to create a new character for a class writing assignment on the Lexia reading program. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Are Teachers Underpaid? Around the World, People Say Yes

Americans think that U.S. teachers are underpaid by an average of $7,500 a year, according to a new global survey. The Global Teacher Status Index, conducted by the Varkey Foundation, a global charity that supports teachers, surveyed more than 1,000 people from each of 35 countries. Overall, in 28 of the 35 countries surveyed, teachers are being paid less than the amount the general public considers to be a fair wage for the job. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Continue reading …

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