This week in education news, controversy over science education nothing new in Oklahoma; President’s budget would zero out the funding for innovations in teacher training; the debate over teaching climate change in U.S. schools heats up; experiential learning helps students own their future; computer science educators should prepare students with how to deal with pressing ethical questions related to the capabilities of technology; mentors for new teachers found to boost student achievement; and NSTA and the STEM Education Coalition warn the U.S. Department of Education that excluding science as a top priority in new state education plans would be a mistake.
Science teacher Heather Johnston has fielded an increase in student questions about the concept of rising temperatures across the planet, an example of the intensifying political debate over climate change creeping into her classroom. But even when a student might express disbelief in the scientific theory, Johnston, who teaches at Norman High School, views it as an opportunity to invite students to practice their scientific investigation skills. Click here to read the article featured in Tulsa World.
It’s no secret that traditional teacher training and “professional development” can feel far removed from the real world of the classroom. That’s daunting to many who might enter the profession, frustrating to many already there — and ultimately hurtful to students. So when Louisiana announced that every new teacher in the state would receive a full year of “residency-based” training, modeled on how doctors learn their craft, the question the rest of the country should have asked is, “How do we make that happen here?” Unfortunately, the Trump administration is moving in precisely the opposite direction, with a plan to zero out the funding for innovations like Louisiana’s. Click here to read the article featured on The 74.
Climate change is adjustments in the Earth’s weather and climate patterns, including the accelerated increase in the planet’s overall average temperature, that scientists have observed for more than a hundred years, says David Evans, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, a professional group for science educators. While leaders worldwide determine how to address climate change, high school teachers in the U.S. face a number of challenges. Click here to read the article featured in U.S. News & World Report.
One of the worst-kept secrets in the tech world is how “awful” tech companies can be to women. You don’t have to go far to find a story about sexism or discrimination. There are a lot of theories about why this is happening, but I think the root cause doesn’t get enough exposure: More girls need to be encouraged to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM-related fields from a very young age. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week’s Market Brief.
The struggle over what American students learn about global warming is heating up as conservative lawmakers, climate change doubters and others attempt to push rejected or debunked theories into the classroom. An overwhelming majority of climate scientists say man-made emissions drive global warming, but there’s no such consensus among educators over how climate change and its causes should be taught. Click here to read the Associated Press article.
Passion and purpose. One drives students’ ability and eagerness to learn. The other can keep them wavering in life to no end. As an educator and father, I’ve been quick to notice that my students and even my own children, for that matter, are passionate about the subjects they learn and concepts that come naturally to them; however, often these passionate students get lost in the application of that passion to its purpose—i.e., how it applies to a career or real-life situation. Click here to read the article featured in Education DIVE.
In recent years, the dizzying pace of technological innovation has motivated a surge of interest in creating quality computer-science-education experiences for all K-12 students in the United States. In early 2016, President Barack Obama announced the Computer Science for All initiative, which called for more than $4 billion in federal funding to expand computer science in elementary, middle, and high school. Though Congress never set aside the proposed $4 billion, the initiative set in motion a new focus on computer science, triggering change across the country. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.
Can project-based learning help close the achievement gap? New research focused on young elementary schoolers suggests that a well-designed and well-taught project-based-learning curriculum can help make a difference for students living in poverty. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.
If new teachers are paired with high-quality, trained mentors and receive frequent feedback, their students may receive the equivalent of up to five months of additional learning, a new study found. Click here to read the article featured in TEACHER.
There are some economic realities that are inescapable. The very structure of the US economy has shifted dramatically in just fifteen years. Look at the list of the most valuable companies then and now. In 2001, GE, Microsoft, Exxon, Citigroup and Walmart were the top five US companies by market cap; but by 2016 the list was Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. During the same fifteen years, Internet growth increased from about 50% to over 90%, and the number of Americans accessing the Internet via high speed connections grew from less than 5% to over 75%. Click here to read the article featured in Forbes magazine.
A nationwide group representing science teachers and a science education coalition have written to the U.S. Department of Education warning that excluding science as a top priority in new state education plans would be a mistake. In a letter sent Thursday to Jason Botel, the department’s acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, the National Science Teachers Association and the STEM Education Coalition said that the department’s recent feedback on states’ plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act improperly discourages states from using science in school accountability systems. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.
Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.
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