Ed News: Summer Programs Increase STEM Learning Opportunities For Visually Impaired Students

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This week in education news, there is a math and science teacher shortage in Rhode Island; new report finds that most states’ requirements for license renewal, prioritize accumulating credit hours, rather than sustained, targeted professional learning; advancements in assistive tech and interactions with industry professionals help students with blindness pursue interests in STEM fields; recent study finds nearly 20 percent of teachers don’t have any input in their professional development decisions; NSF selects Dr. Karen Marrongelle as head of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources; Michigan to withhold science test scores for two years; and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is considering whether to let school districts use federal money to buy guns.

Math, Science Teachers In Short Supply In R.I. Schools

East Providence High School hasn’t had a physics teacher in 2½ years. The district has had to offer the course online. Supt. Kathryn Crowley said it’s so hard for her district to find qualified high school math and science teachers that she “poaches” them from other districts, a practice that other school leaders privately acknowledge. Read the article featured in The Providence Journal.

Renewing A Teaching License Doesn’t Help With Professional Growth, Report Finds

Every teacher has to renew their teaching license periodically—and too often, the renewal process is a missed opportunity for professional growth, concludes a new report. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Embracing Inquiry-Based Instruction

Recent education reforms call for a shift in pedagogy to provide students with the skills necessary to be competitive in a global society. One such shift, inquiry-based instruction, is supported by evidence as a successful approach to fulfill the goals and processes of the NGSS. Read the article featured in edutopia.

Summer Programs Increase STEM Learning Opportunities For Visually Impaired Students

Mariah Maryman, a 10th-grader at Kennedale High School, southeast of Fort Worth, Texas, has never let her visual impairment get in the way of speaking up for herself and her needs in the classroom.But with coding and other STEM skills now playing a more predominant role in the curriculum, blind and visually impaired students, such as Maryman, require a range of accommodations to be able to keep up with their peers and imagine themselves pursuing careers as computer scientists or engineers — support that might not be available during the summer months when school is out. Read the article featured in Education DIVE.

Putting The Professional Back In K12 Professional Development

Personalized learning for students has long been a priority in K12 education, but for some reason, some districts haven’t applied this same approach to teachers. For years, PD has been completely one-dimensional. Teachers sit in district- and state-mandated PowerPoint-driven seminars that fail to encourage collaboration or authentic engagement in the material. Often, teachers leave feeling like what they have learned isn’t applicable to their teaching styles and classrooms—therefore no progress is made. Read the article featured in District Administration.

NSF Selects Karen Marrongelle To Head Its Education And Human Resources Directorate

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Dr. Karen Marrongelle to serve as head of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). EHR supports fundamental research that enhances learning and teaching, and broad efforts to achieve excellence in STEM education, at all levels and in all settings. Read the press release.

Michigan To Withhold Science Test Scores For Two Years

State education officials plan to withhold the public release of science scores from the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress for two years because they say the exam is a sample test that does not yet measure student proficiency. Read the article featured in The Detroit News.

Firestorm Erupts As Betsy DeVos Weighs If Districts Can Buy Guns With Federal Money

News that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is considering whether to let school districts use federal money to buy guns set off a cascade of anger from lawmakers and others, and put the polarizing issue of arming teachers back at the center of the debate over school safety. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Science For All: How To Reach English Learners

Nationally, English learners (ELs) make up nearly 10 percent of PK-12 classrooms and almost 15 percent of urban classrooms, and these numbers are on the rise. Many supports are available for ELs (bilingual programs, SIOP, SEI), but the elementary science materials available are disproportionately directed toward grade-level readers. In our work in local districts with high EL populations, we regularly see upper elementary students using K-1 science texts. While this might be acceptable for building language proficiency, content becomes a major issue. Read the article featured in eSchool News.

Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.

The Communication, Legislative & Public Affairs (CLPA) team strives to keep NSTA members, teachers, science education leaders, and the general public informed about NSTA programs, products, and services and key science education issues and legislation. In the association’s role as the national voice for science education, its CLPA team actively promotes NSTA’s positions on science education issues and communicates key NSTA messages to essential audiences.

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


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