Ed News: STEM Educators Can No Longer Be Apolitical

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This week in education news, virtual reality offer educators an expanded tool belt of real world learning opportunities for students; new bipartisan Planetary Science Caucus announced; Mississippi students could soon have more exposure to computer science; educators find that teaching math outside the classroom is an effective way to engage students; Gates Foundation announces new plan to help public schools; Idaho House Education Committee voted to remove references to climate change in new proposed science standards; and North Idaho senator wants to create a STEM diploma.

STEM Educators Can No Longer Be Apolitical

Two decades ago, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Jane Lubchenco, called for a new social contract for science. She pointed out that, given the current state of the human-environment system, it is no longer adequate for scientists — and all STEM practitioners — to view our primary obligations as simply to discover, publish and train the next generation of scientists. If we expect society to support the pursuit of our disciplines, our work and our teaching must have at least some direct relevance to society. Read the article featured in Inside Higher Ed.

The Future Of Education Needs Mixed Reality

STEM has been used for nearly two decades to refer to the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Incorporating it in primary schools not only helps make students better prepared for higher education, it also creates a stronger rising workforce of future problem-solvers and critical thinkers. But STEM is not only an acronym; it’s also a way of looking at the world. Examples abound of STEM’s increasing reach, as well as its potential to change our students, our school and our future capacity for innovation across industries. And, increasingly, there have been some incredibly exciting innovations in the field of mixed reality. Read the article featured in the Silicon Republic.

Culberson, Kilmer, Senators and Bill Nye Announce New Bipartisan, Bicameral Planetary Science Caucus

Representative John Culberson (R-TX-7) and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6) announced they plan to launch a new bipartisan Planetary Science Caucus in the United States House of Representatives. The Planetary Science Caucus will unite members of both parties who are passionate about the scientific exploration of space. Read the press release.

Mississippi Students Could Soon Have More Exposure To Computer Science

The Mississippi Department of Education is following the lead of Southern states like Virginia and Arkansas by expressing a commitment that all students should have exposure to computer science by 2024.It’s an ambitious plan in a state where 40 percent of residents lack access to broadband services, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Read the article featured in The Clarion-Ledger.

It’s A Big World Out There: Teachers Take Math Outside The Classroom

In Dan Goldfield’s high school math class, students don’t learn about large numbers by staring at a whiteboard and copying zeros. They go to a beach and count grains of sand. Goldfield is among a cadre of educators who’ve found that teaching math outside the classroom — in the park, on a city street, at a playground — is an effective way to engage math-averse students at all grade levels. Read the article featured in EdSource.

With New Focus On Curriculum, Gates Foundation Wades Into Tricky Territory

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a new plan intended to help public schools: improve the materials that teachers use to teach. It’s part of a revamped strategy for the philanthropy, which has become one of the most influential forces in American education over the last two decades. Read the article featured in Chalkbeat.

House Education Committee Again Removes References To Climate Change

The House Education Committee went against overwhelming public opinion by voting to remove several references to global warming and fossil fuels from a proposed slate of new science standards. Committee members voted 12-4 to approve new K-12 academic science standards after first removing one standard referencing fossil fuels and global warming and then pulling out all supporting content. Read the article featured in the Idaho Ed News.

Programs, Workshops, Even Graduate Degrees Help K-12 Teachers Get Fluent In STEM

When Joanne Baptista started teaching fifth-graders a decade ago, the concept of STEM subjects hadn’t yet filtered down to elementary classrooms. All that has changed. Now K-12 teachers are expected to teach science, technology, engineering and math – not as isolated subjects, but as concepts and theories that overlap and work together. Read the article featured in the Houston Chronicle.

Nonini Pushes For STEM High School Diploma

A North Idaho senator wants to create a “STEM diploma,” recognizing high school graduates who take extra classes in science, technology, engineering and math.Sen. Bob Nonini says a STEM diploma would help high school graduates bolster their college applications, scholarship applications and resumes. Read the article featured in the Idaho Ed 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.

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