Ed News: New Science Standards A Boon For The Littlest Learners

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This week in education news, new science standards a benefit for children in grades K-2; science education under attack in Florida public schools; Smithsonian partners with Carnegie Learning to build new STEM products; providing only STEM courses for gifted students and STEM-focused after-school clubs, fails to provide adequate STEM experiences for all Pre-K-12 students; at a broad national level, statistics tell us there is no teacher shortage; Trump wants to end funding for the International Space Station by 2025; and D.C. will cancel two years of students’ science assessment scores.

Teacher And Former Student Share Both A Love For Teaching And A Rare Honor

Jerry Opbroek, a science teacher at Mitchell High School in Mitchell, South Dakota, stands out in Julie Olson’s memory. Opbroek was known at Mitchell for his engaging chemistry and biology lessons, for supplying plentiful opportunities for extra learning and for offering laboratory sessions and discussions before school to curious students. He never seemed afraid to try new things in the classroom, Olson says. Others noticed Opbroek’s passion and dedication: In 1990, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the nation’s highest honor for K-12 teaching in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Opbroek’s impact on Olson’s professional life continued years after she left his classroom. Read the article featured on the National Science Foundation website.

New Science Standards A Boon For The Littlest Learners

Science education has long been a weak spot at some elementary schools, but educators are hoping California’s new science standards — if implemented well — will entice teachers to expand and improve science lessons for the youngest students. Read the article featured in EdSource.

Attacks On Science Education Intensify—Push Back, Florida

Science education in Florida’s public schools is facing an unprecedented assault that started last year and has the high potential to escalate this year. Evolution and climate change are the targets of a coordinated attack as detractors of these concepts seek to balance lessons with some forms of creationism or denial of human-caused climate change. Read the article featured in the Orlando Sentinel.

Smithsonian Forms ‘Strategic Alliance’ With Carnegie Learning To Build New STEM Products

Carnegie Learning, a Pittsburgh-based provider of math curriculum and training resources, is teaming up with the Smithsonian Institution on a “strategic alliance” to “develop new product solutions to help address the growing need for improved and expanded STEM education,” wrote Barry Malkin, Carnegie’s CEO. Read the article featured in Ed Surge.

Climate Education Confidence

Environmental science teacher Jamie Esler takes his Idaho high school students outdoors for hands-on learning about climate science and climate change. They take core samples from trees, measure declining snowpack and calculate carbon dioxide levels. This hands-on field work is more impactful than a slideshow packed with data and graphs, Esler says. Before students step into the woods or the class touches on the potentially contentious topic of climate change, Esler spends the first part of the semester teaching the basics of chemistry, physics, biology and the atmosphere. Like thousands of other science teachers around the country, Esler is incorporating the new Next Generation Science Standards, which include the study of climate change. But Esler and other educators have found that one of the first questions to answer is exactly how to deliver the lessons. Read the article featured in District Administration.

More Black And Hispanic Science Teachers Could Mean More Scientists Of Color

Erika Leak is new to chemistry and has more empathy for what students might struggle to understand than someone who has made a career out of science. She spent the first part of her career teaching English, making the transition through an alternative certification program designed to alleviate the shortage of science teachers. The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning trains physics and chemistry teachers based on the belief that it is harder to train people to be good teachers than it is to train good teachers to lead science classrooms. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.

Improving STEM Education

Jeff Remington, a science teacher at Palmyra Middle School and NSTA/NCTM STEM Teacher Ambassador, and Dr. Christine Royce, a professor of education at Shippensburg University and president of NSTA, were on WITF’s Smart Talk to discuss how STEM education has or hasn’t kept up with the lightening pace of tech advances. Listen to the show here.

STEM For All: How To Create A Healthy STEM Ecosystem

Many of the most valuable jobs of tomorrow depend on STEM education happening in classrooms today. To satisfy this appetite for STEM, educators are feeling the pressure to make curriculum changes, but many are not sure how to begin. School districts have responded to this pressure by providing courses for gifted students and STEM-focused after-school clubs. However, this selective approach is failing to provide adequate STEM experiences for all Pre-K-12 students. Read the article featured in U.S. News & World Report.

Teacher Recruitment And Retention: It’s Complicated

At a broad national level, statistics tell us there is no teacher shortage. In fact, the number of U.S. teachers has grown by 13 percent in four years, far outpacing the 2 percent rise in student enrollment during the same period. But that doesn’t mean teacher shortages aren’t real. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Need a STEM Teacher? This District Trains Its Own

Nearly every school district across the United States has struggled finding enough science, technology, engineering, or math teachers. Could one solution be for districts to recruit content-area experts and both train and license them themselves? Read the article featured in Education Week.

Trump Administration Wants To End NASA Funding For The International Space Station By 2025

The Trump administration is preparing to end support for the International Space Station program by 2025, according to a draft budget proposal reviewed by The Verge. Without the ISS, American astronauts could be grounded on Earth for years with no destination in space until NASA develops new vehicles for its deep space travel plans. Read the article featured in The Verge.

New Poll Of Americans’ Top Priorities For 2018 Has Education At No. 2 — Ahead Of The Economy

A new poll of American adults released Thursday by the Washington-based Pew Research Center shows that the economy is not the No. 1 public priority for 2018. Fighting terrorism is No. 1, and No. 2 is improving education. Read the article featured in The Washington Post.

D.C. Will Invalidate 2 Years Of Science-Test Scores

The District of Columbia will cancel two years of students’ science assessment scores, alleging that its test contractor, WestEd, bungled its handling of the tests. Read the article featured in Education Week.

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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