Ed News: A Novel Way To Improve Teacher Prep, Give Teacher Better Curriculum

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This week in education news, a new paper released by Education First suggests that a lack of focus on curriculum is the missing piece in the preparation of teachers; professional sports teams are becoming more involved in math and science education; the Girls Scouts announce the Girl Scout STEM Pledge; Rep. Lamar Smith believes that to fill STEM jobs, federal programs need to focus on results; new study shows that girls in Korea score and enroll in more STEM classes when assigned female teachers; Louisiana is trying to improve the number of students who pursue careers in STEM; and there is more to STEM than hard skills.

Let Science Educators Build New Science Standards

The Utah Science Teachers Association believes that all citizens should have a scientifically based understanding of the natural world in order to engage meaningfully in public discussions, be informed voters and discerning consumers. Problems arise when nonscience ideals impede the teaching and learning of science, either through the use of pseudoscience or the avoidance of topics because they are politically charged. This unfortunately occurred, to no avail, during the process of developing the sixth-eighth grade SEEd standards with regard to evolution and climate change, in particular. Read the article featured in The Deseret News.

A Novel Way To Improve Teacher Prep: Give Teacher Better Curriculum

Is a focus on curriculum the missing piece in the preparation of teachers? That’s the argument made by in a new paper released by Education First, a global education consulting group. It’s part of a project, partly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing together teacher-preparation experts from Finland, Brazil, Australia, and the United States. Read the article featured in Education Week.

From The Field To The Classroom: Pro Sports Teams Are Becoming Players In Math, Science Education

An emergency has occurred at the 49ers football museum in Santa Clara: the stand holding the famous football from “The Catch” has broken, and a classroom of 3rd-graders must build a replacement. Using drinking straws, scissors and tape, the students are tasked with building a device strong enough to hold a 14-ounce, 22-inch football without collapsing. Read the article featured in EdSource.

What STEM Students Need To Know

The U.S. is about to spend a small fortune on teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. The White House has promised $200 million a year to expand K-12 computer-science education. Several large tech firms have pledged another $300 million to the effort. That’s a good investment in theory, but the American education system is in no position to make the most of it. Read the article featured in The Wall Street Journal.

How Girl Scouts Helped Astronaut Reach For The Stars—And Is Going All In On STEM Education for Girls

The Girl Scouts announced the Girl Scout STEM Pledge, challenging CEOs across the country to join us in growing the number of girls in the STEM pipeline by 2.5 million by 2025. Read the article by The74.

To Fill STEM Jobs, Federal Programs Need To Focus On Results

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) forecasts that next year U.S. employers will be unable to fill nearly 2.5 million job openings in STEM and STEM-related occupations. At an average pay of $85,000 per year for jobs in STEM fields, 2.5 million unfilled positions means working Americans will lose $200 billion in lost wages. Lost productivity will decrease U.S. economic growth. Read the article featured in The Hill.

Study Shows That Girls in Korea Score Higher, Enroll In More STEM Classes, When Assigned Female Teachers

A study of schools in South Korea has found that seventh-grade girls who are assigned to female teachers perform better on standardized tests, enroll in more advanced classes, and are more likely to make plans to attend college. The effects were observed from middle school into high school and are particularly pronounced in STEM disciplines like math and science. Read the article featured in The74.

Louisiana Pushing To Make STEM More Pronounced Among Students

Despite daunting hurdles, Louisiana is trying to make a big leap in the number of students who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. The fields, known as STEM, provide a pathway to lucrative careers, including engineering, digital media and cybertechnology. But the state’s longtime effort to improve public education achievement is even more pronounced when it comes to science and related fields. Read the article featured in The Advocate.

OER Adoptions On The Rise

More and more instructors are choosing open educational resources over traditional textbooks, a survey of more than 2,700 faculty members reveals. Read the article featured in Inside Higher Ed.

Majority Of Teachers Say Reforms Have Been ‘Too Much’

Change is hard—particularly for teachers, who are generally taking dozens of students along for the ride. Yet the majority of teachers say they’ve faced major changes—related to what and how they teach, as well as how they’re evaluated—over the last couple of years in their schools and districts, according to a recent survey by the Education Week Research Center. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Cross-Curricular Critical Thinking Is Integral To STEM Success

Whether you’re teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), STEAM (STEM with art) or STREAM (STEAM with reading), the proof of success is in preparing students to be ready for everything. While upgrading the acronym to include elements of visual learning and literacy shows that we’re striving for equal importance for all education topics, having a strong cross-curricular, well-rounded cohesive education is what is really important. Read the article in Ed Tech Magazine.

Improving Educational Outcomes Of Underserved Students

Only 50.4 percent of Orange County’s more than half-a-million students met the academic standards to apply to a University of California or a California State University in the 2014-2015 academic year. The outcome is that approximately 250,000 local students are underserved, resulting in reduced access to higher education and other workforce development programs. But how can we, as educators, ensure that each and every student (and their families) have the same educational opportunities? One solution that is being explored locally is connecting charter schools — public schools open to all students that are granted the ability to operate as a separate entity by a local district, county board of education or by the state of California — and school districts. These collaborations show promise and help facilitate the spread of effective innovations in areas such as STEM education and dual language immersion programs throughout the county. They allow educators and community members to keep the focus on the children rather than other bureaucratic details that can often get in the way of providing the best learning experience possible. Read the article featured in the Orange County Register.

Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.

The Communication, Legislative & Public Affairs (CLPA) tea 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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