This week in education news, more must be done to increase girls interest in the STEM fields; Florida needs a scientifically literate public; an English teacher’s video explains why teaching is so tiring; misconceptions about climate change common among science teachers; and cash-strapped school systems are turning to traveling teaching teams to help supplement their course offerings, especially in STEM.
At first, people who reject predominant scientific findings that humans are the main cause of climate change may be glad that new public-school science standards don’t require teachers to teach that. But if inquiry-based teaching guides under development in the Iowa K-12 Climate Science Education Initiative are used, students may reach that determination on their own, educators say. Click here to read the article featured in the Des Moines Register.
The gaps between genders, in terms of STEM interest and proficiency (as well as concerns about a shortage in the number of qualified applicants for future STEM jobs), has spurred private industries, the public sector and educational institutions to respond. Women make up only 24% of STEM workers, despite being 48% of the country’s workforce, according to information from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Click here to read the brief featured in Education DIVE.
Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, workers and citizens. We need to invest in them now by helping them build a foundation of knowledge in a wide range of subjects. And one of the most important building blocks in that foundation is science. But are Florida’s children getting the science education they absolutely must have to be successful adults? Florida needs a scientifically literate public that can make sound voting decisions and leaders in private businesses and government to implement policies that will help, not harm, our invaluable natural resources. Click here to read the commentary featured in The Orlando Sentinel.
Why are teachers so tired at the end of the school year? Maybe it’s because they spent the last nine months juggling a million things while still shaping the lives and minds of the students in their care. In a video that has gone viral, high school English teacher Trevor Muir shares the funny and serious ways that teaching is exhausting. He posted it to his Facebook page, The Epic Classroom, where it has received over 18 million views. Click here to read the article and view the video featured on Education Week’s website.
Teachers who teach high schoolers about climate change often don’t know much more about the subjects than do members of the general public, according to a new study from the University of Missouri. A survey of 220 secondary school science teachers in Florida and Puerto Rico found that many teachers who reported that they teach about climate change expressed beliefs about the subject the researchers characterize as naive or incorrect. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.
Eric Madrid teaches advanced sciences, including topics on climate change and evolution, to high school students in the deep-red Texas Hill Country. As one might expect in this conservative bastion of the nation, some of the students say it’s all lies or fake news. “But that’s usually in the beginning of the semester,” said Madrid, who left a Ph.D.-level research gig to go into public education. Click here to read the article featured in Common Sense News.
A report last fall found that the majority of professional development—80 percent—doesn’t align with the new federal definition of high-quality training. So, what is working? The fourth and final installment of a report series by the Frontline Research & Learning Institute, released last week, highlighted district best practices on high-quality PD. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.
A growing number of public schools in low-income areas have begun using “mobile makerspaces” housed in refurbished school buses and other vehicles to expose students to the joys of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The rolling initiative – which would make Ms. Frizzle, driver of “The Magic School Bus” proud – follows a broader trend of cash-strapped districts turning to mobile classrooms to provide students with opportunities too costly for individual schools to afford. Click here to read the article featured in the Christian Science Monitor.
Two years ago, LaTeira Haynes was working in a quiet laboratory at UC San Diego finishing up her doctorate in biomedical engineering. Now, she’s teaching a 9th-grade biology class in South Los Angeles that is so large she uses a microphone to be heard over the constant din of teenage chatter, rustling worksheets, and the zipping and unzipping of backpacks. But to her, there is no sweeter sound. Click here to read the article featured in The Atlantic.
LaWanda Marshall and Candace Graham both teach pre-kindergarten at the Carver STEM Academy on Detroit’s west side. Both have colorful, toy-filled classrooms, computers for students to use and assistant teachers to help guide their four- and five-year olds as they learn and explore. But Marshall’s classroom has other things too — lots and lots of other things that regularly arrive like gifts from the pre-K gods. Click here to read the article featured in Chalkbeat.org.
Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.
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