This week in education news, a team of researchers is now analyzing whether science fairs help to improve student achievement or interest in science; Best Buy pledges $30 million to dramatically expand its Teen Tech Centers; K-12 students in 30 Long Island school districts are learning to code; teachers would lose $250 deduction for classroom material under new proposed tax bill; a new study finds teachers who are good at raising test scores are worse at making students happy and engaged in school; and OK governor sets goal to increase the number of paid internships and apprenticeships in the state to 20,000 each year by 2020.
It’s something of a rite of passage for middle school students (and parents) to struggle with musical water glasses, baking soda volcanoes, sprouting yams, and red cabbage indicators in the science fair. Surprisingly, we don’t actually know a ton about how (or whether) the fairs help to improve student achievement or interest in science. But thanks to a National Science Foundation grant, a team of researchers is now analyzing a national survey and case studies of more than a dozen schools for clues about how the fairs might help pay dividends for students. Read the article featured in Education Week.
Best Buy recently pledged $30 million to dramatically expand its 11 Teen Tech Centers to more than 60 in the next three years. The philanthropic arm of the consumer electronics store also plans to extend its internship and professional mentorship opportunities. The expansion is a part of its goal to reach 1 million kids a year by 2020. Read the article featured in Inside Philanthropy.
Dozens of Long Island school districts are asking students to put down their pencils and pick up their keyboards to learn the tech-savvy skills of computer programming. About 30 Long Island school districts have contracted to work with kidOYO, a nonprofit that offers digital lessons in more than two dozen programming languages to students in prekindergarten through senior year of high school. Read the article featured in Newsday.
The tax bill proposed by Republican leaders scraps a benefit that many teachers have come to rely on: the $250 “educator expense deduction,” which can be used to recoup the cost of classroom materials. Read the article featured in Education Week.
Automation and other technological advancements threaten to put good-paying jobs further out of reach for marginalized groups unless more investments are made in preparing students for “Blue-Collar STEM” jobs, panelists convened Tuesday on Capitol Hill said. Read the article featured in Diverse.
On average, teachers who are good at raising test scores are worse at making students happy and engaged in school, a new study finds. The study, written by David Blazar, an assistant professor of education policy and economics at the University of Maryland, looked at data from 4th and 5th grade teachers in four school districts from three states over three school years. Blazar found that teachers do have substantive impacts on students’ attitudes and behavior, particularly students’ happiness in class. And he also found that the teachers who are skilled at improving students’ math achievement may do so in ways that make students less happy in class. Read the article featured in Education Week TEACHER.
Gov. Mary Fallin announced a goal to increase the number of paid internships and apprenticeships in Oklahoma to 20,000 each year by 2020 to help address the state’s workforce shortage. The Earn & Learn Oklahoma initiative will benefit both workers and employers who cannot find the skilled people they need, Fallin said. Read the article featured in The Oklahoman.
Maker culture is going mainstream. The maker industry is projected to grow to more than $8 billion by 2020, and with the maker movement infiltrating classrooms, after-school clubs and homes, it’s no wonder. But where is the maker movement strongest? A new report from robotics and open-source hardware provider DFRobot aims to find out by analyzing DIY-labeled products hosted on Kickstarter. Read the article featured in eSchool News.
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.