Ed News: Peer Interest In Science Leads Students To STEM Jobs

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This week in education news, a majority of Americans are familiar with the opt-out movement according to a new survey; the country’s teaching force is still predominantly white and female; only 39 percent of high school students in Illinois passed the new state science exam in 2016; former Michigan Congressman Vern Ehlers died; fears that students might damage their eyes viewing the solar eclipse have prompted schools to cancel classes; how science standards avoided the backlash of common core; and collaboration among teachers encourages creativity, professionalism, and student achievement.

Fewer Than 1 In 3 Americans Support Kids Opting Out Of Tests; About Half Confused On What ‘Opt Out’ Means

A majority of Americans are familiar with the opt-out movement — parents withdrawing their children from standardized tests — and nearly half of them oppose the practice, according to a new survey from Columbia University’s Teachers College. But even among the one-third who support opting out, many have misconceptions about the true goals behind it. Click here to read the article featured on The 74.

Peer Interest In Science Leads Students To STEM Jobs

A new report published in the journal Science Advances says more Mississippi students may want jobs in science, technology, engineering or math if they learn their friends are also interested in those subjects. Click here to listen to the segment featured on MPBonline.org.

The Nation’s Teaching Force Is Still Mostly White And Female

Teachers tend to be white, female, and have nearly a decade and a half of experience in the classroom, according to new data released Monday by the federal government. But there are signs that the nation’s teaching force is gradually growing more diverse. It is also more heterogeneous: The nation’s charter school teachers look significantly different from teachers in traditional public schools. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.

New State Science Test Raises The Bar But Proficiency Drops

More than a year after students took a new state science exam but never got their scores, Illinois is providing at least a glimpse of how well kids did — and it’s sobering. Only about 39 percent of high school students passed the new science exam in 2016, meaning those kids were considered “proficient.” Close to 60 percent of grade school students passed, according to an analysis by the Illinois State Board of Education. Click here to read the article featured in the Chicago Tribune.

Crossing Boundaries: The Future of Science Education

The science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries are booming. In the U.S. the STEM industries account for more than half of the sustained economic expansion, while in the U.K., the tech industry grew 32 percent faster than any other industry. In a time when young people face an increasingly hostile and competitive job market, doesn’t it make sense to teach them the skills for the industries that have an excess of job opportunities? Unfortunately, science education is struggling to keep up with the fast developments happening in the world. Click here to read the article featured in Scientific American.

Former Michigan Congressman Vern Ehlers Dies At 83

Vern Ehlers, who championed the Great Lakes and scientific research and education while representing west Michigan during 17 years in Congress, died Tuesday night in Grand Rapids at age 83. Click here to read the article featured in The Detroit News.

Teachers: Schools’ Eclipse Fears Drive Kids Inside

Fears that children might permanently damage their eyes viewing Monday’s solar eclipse have prompted school districts in or near its path to cancel classes and, in some cases, prohibit students from venturing outside during Monday’s once-in-a-lifetime celestial event. Such fears are driving science teachers nuts. Click here to read the article featured in USA Today.

How New Science Standards Avoided The Backlash Of Common Core

After the Common Core standards in reading and math ran into backlash from critics claiming federal overreach, the supporters of new science standards decided to take a different tack. They explicitly asked the Obama administration to sit out the promotion of the science guidelines. They also encouraged states to take time to get local buy-in. The strategy appears to have paid off. Click here to read the article featured in The Wall Street Journal.

Op-Ed: Is The Investment In STEM Education Paying Off?

For more than two decades there has been a hefty investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in the United States. There is no question that this investment has, at the very least, brought the positives derived from better STEM education practices into the national conversation. Click here to read the article featured in U.S. News & World Report.

Balancing Teacher Autonomy and Collaboration

Good teachers are growing practitioners. They know their students, their content, and their standards—but they are not satisfied with the status quo. Like all successful professionals, good teachers strive to grow their knowledge and adapt to changes in the landscape of their work. Good teachers know their own expertise is critical in the classroom; they also know the input of colleagues strengthens that expertise. While it can be difficult to find the right balance between personal skill and combined efforts in the classroom, it is worth the effort. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week TEACHER.

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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