This week in education news, girls now make up about half the enrollment in high school STEM classes; new proposed California bill would exempt teachers from paying state income taxes; U.S. Education Secretary releases new ESSA guidelines; results of the Illinois’ state science test delayed more than a year; and the Trump Administration proposes a $9 billion cut to the U.S. Department of Education.
Thanks to long-standing efforts by teachers, administrators and nonprofits, girls now make up about half the enrollment in high-school science and math classes. But progress lags beyond the walls of high schools. The percentage of women majoring in STEM fields at California State University, for example, has remained a steady 37 percent since 2007, even though women make up 55 percent of all undergraduates. Click here to read the article featured in EdSource.
Two California state senators think the solution to the state’s teacher shortages can be found in its tax code. Senate Bill 807 would exempt teachers with more than five years of experience from paying state income taxes for the next ten years. That would essentially give every veteran teacher a 4 percent to 6 percent raise overnight. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.
In a letter sent this week to chief state school officers, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a new form for states to use in developing their accountability plans for the ESSA. Read the letter here and click here to read the official statement issued by the U.S. Department of Education.
Illinois schools will have to wait until at least summer 2017 to get the results of the state science tests students took in 2016. More than 400,000 students took the inaugural Illinois Science Assessment last year, which was administered to students in fifth and eighth grades and to students who took biology and advanced biology in high school. Click here to read the article featured in the Naperville Sun.
Sen. Dennis Baxley promises his religious expression in public schools legislation will “let freedom ring,” but opponents worry about what they describe as the bill’s vague language. The bill, SB 436, and its companion legislation, HB 303, narrowly moved forward at Tuesday’s judiciary committee meeting in a 5-4 vote. Click here to read the article featured on TCPalm.com.
President Donald Trump’s first budget seeks to slash the Education Department’s roughly $68 billion budget by $9 billion, or 13 percent in the coming fiscal year, cutting popular programs that help districts offer after-school programs, and hire and train teachers. At the same time, it seeks a historic $1.4 billlon federal investment in school choice, including new money for private school vouchers and charter schools, as well as directing $1 billion to follow students to the school of their choice. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.
A Boise Democrat who was blocked by a key Republican lawmaker from holding a legislative hearing on climate change succeeded in securing more than 500 attendees when she decided to host her own event at the Idaho Capitol. Click here to read the article by the Associated Press.
Learning academic content can be a challenge for students who have not yet mastered the English language, especially when it comes to science. But too often, instruction with English learners focuses on the development of vocabulary and grammar rather than authentic engagement with science disciplines. New ideas of language learning call into question this narrow focus on vocabulary and grammar. Click here to read the article in Education DIVE.
Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.
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