Ed News: Early An Overlooked Solution for Diversifying STEM

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This week in education news, educators want Pennsylvania to adopt science standards that help students recognize that science is part of everyday life; low-income students are much less likely than high-income students to complete four years of high school science; new proposed Florida bill would allow school districts to adopt their own academic standards, as long as they are more “rigorous” than the state minimum standards; a bill proposal in Connecticut would mandate instruction on climate change in public schools statewide, beginning in elementary school; today’s mentoring programs in teacher professional development go beyond the basics of helping educators acclimate to the classroom; carefully planned and executed adventures outdoors can give students a positive perspective on learning outside; and new report takes a critical view of fully online courses and competency-based education.

Pa. Educators Want Science Standards to do More Than Teach Students to Win on Jeopardy

Jeff Remington and other educators want students across Pennsylvania to see science as a way to fulfill their dreams. Educators said the state needs to adopt a new set of science standards that helps public school students recognize that science is part of everyday life. Read the article featured on Pennlive.com.

An Overlooked Solution for Diversifying STEM

Colleges can dramatically improve success rates of low-income, first-generation students by working across units, argue Adrianna Kezar and Elizabeth Holcombe. Read the article featured in Inside Higher Ed.

Easing Test Anxiety Boosts Low-Income Students’ Biology Grades

Psychological interventions that improve grades could ultimately help keep more low-income students in the sciences, says Christopher Rozek, a psychologist at Stanford University and lead author of the study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read the article featured in Science News.

Education Bills Continue to Mount as Florida Legislative Session Nears

Every year, Florida lawmakers create their legislative wish list of things they’d like to see happening in the state’s public schools. Most never get passed. But it doesn’t stop them from trying. (An effort to require a financial literacy graduation requirement, for instance, is on its sixth go-round.) And this year appears no exception. With committee meetings already under way, several senators and representatives have filed their bills seeking to do anything from increase the minimum teacher salary to $50,000 (SB 152), to require public schools to offer elective Bible courses (HB 195). Read the article featured in the Tampa Bay Times.

Is It Time to Kill Annual Testing?

Ask anyone from a school accountability expert to a parent of a school-age child, and you will get near universal agreement that we have a dysfunctional standardized-testing system in the United States. Educators do not like the annual statewide tests: They inform school penalties, not learning, because the results come so late in the school year. They fail to match any specific curriculum, and generally don’t deeply measure students’ analytical capabilities or the dispositions employers and colleges value. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Teach Kids About Climate Change? This State Might Require It

A legislative proposal in Connecticut would mandate instruction on climate change in public schools statewide, beginning in elementary school. Connecticut already has adopted science standards that call for teaching of climate change, but if the bill passes it is believed that it would be the country’s first to write such a requirement into law. Read the article by the Associated Press.

Why Are You a Teacher?’ Your Answer Should Change Over Time

It’s not uncommon for teachers to find themselves in professional-development sessions being asked: ”What is your philosophy of education?” or ”Why are you a teacher?” We often shrug off this question and give generic run-of-the-mill answers like “I want students to learn” or “To inspire the youth.” But reflecting on your philosophy of education is an essential piece of becoming an effective educator. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Coach Approach to K12 Teacher Professional Development

Today’s mentoring programs in teacher professional development go beyond the basics of helping educators acclimate to the classroom. Mentors must differentiate coaching based on a mentee’s needs, such as help with lesson planning, instructional strategies or classroom management. New teachers credit the programs for boosting morale, while the veterans benefit when programs result in their growth as well. Read the article featured in District Administration.

Outdoor Adventures With Students

For teachers who love nature, hiking a trail, canoeing a local lake, or birdwatching in the woods are peaceful and rejuvenating ways to escape civilization. As a teacher, I want to share my passion for the outdoors with my students. Many students (and the parents or guardians who sign the permission slips) have reservations about experiences outdoors. While students spend time outside at ball fields, playgrounds, and backyards, many have little experience in more natural settings, and this inexperience can create fear. Carefully planned and executed adventures outdoors can give students a positive perspective on learning outside. Read the article featured in edutopia.

Report: Online Learning Should ‘Supplement’ – Not Replace – Face-to-Face Instruction

A new report takes a critical view of fully online courses and competency-based education (CBE) as regulators and stakeholders discuss the topics during the negotiated rulemaking session that kicked off this week. Critics of the report said its outcomes were colored by data from when the for-profit sector was much larger, meaning newer online learning success stories weren’t given enough weight. Read the article featured in Education DIVE.

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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