Ed News: Highlighting the ‘E’ in STEM Education

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This week in education news, Trump presents FY 2019 budget to Congress; new study finds student learning gains in schools where teacher mentor their colleagues; Aurora science teacher like collaborating with students; new study finds online lessons can enhance students’ understanding of science; Idaho Senate Education Committee delays vote on proposed science standards; Wyoming Senate Education Committee passes computer science standards bill; and for experiential learning programs to flourish, they must bridge K-12, higher education, and the workforce.

Opinion: Banish ‘Just A Theory’ Dunces With Sound Science Education

“Evolution is just a theory.” When someone utters that phrase, there is no clearer signal that the speaker has failed to grasp one of the most basic of science concepts. In science, a theory is not a guess. The term used by scientists to indicate a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world. You’re unlikely to hear “gravity is just a theory” or “germs causing disease is just a theory.” And yet “evolution is just a theory” is suddenly popping up in conversations across Florida. Read the article featured in the Tallahassee Democrat.

Trump Budget Request Prioritizes STEM And Apprenticeships. But Is There a Catch?

The Trump Administration’s budget request for 2019 eyes a strong push for high school-based apprenticeships and career and technical education focused on the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. The proposals, however, would revamp the Carl T. Perkins Act, the federal law that governs how this federal funding flows. Among other things, the budget request says it would “promote strategies that allow students to work and learn at the same time,” and prioritize “offerings to STEM fields and other high-demand fields.” Read the article featured in Education Week.

Analysis: New Study Finds Huge Student Learning Gains In Schools Where Teachers Mentor Their Colleagues As Multi-Classroom Leaders

In survey after survey, teachers report dissatisfaction with the professional development they receive. Many aren’t satisfied with their professional learning communities or coaching opportunities. Teachers say they want more on-the-job development, career advancement while teaching, and collaboration time. Some teachers are getting what they want. But is that good news for students? Do their students learn more? According to a new study released through the CALDER Center, the answer is yes — a lot more. Read the article featured in The 74.

Science Education Funding Still In Trump’s Crosshairs, Despite Being Saved By Congress

Days after Congress passed a budget that mostly preserves funding for science education, President Donald Trump released a new budget proposal for 2019 that would eliminate many of those same programs. It calls for a $26 billion increase in defense spending next year, but $5 billion in cuts to non-defense programs, including a 10.5 percent cut to the Department of Education. Read the article featured in EdSource.

Granger Science Teacher Likes Collaborating With Students

Brian Klaft started teaching in 1991 in Chicago Public Schools and has been teaching science at Indian Prairie Unit District 204’s Granger Middle School in Aurora for 19 years, the past 11 in eighth grade. Last year, he began serving as a curator with the National Science Teachers Association, helping teachers around the country locate appropriate resources for teaching science core ideas. Read the article featured in The Daily Herald.

Highlighting the ‘E’ In STEM Education

If you’ve ever searched the internet, shopped online, gotten a medical image, used a smart phone, or played a video game, among many other things, you’ve benefited from the C++ programming language. Most people have never heard of the C++ programming they interact with everyday. Most don’t know the engineering behind how our increasingly technologically-dependent world works. When creating something is the question, engineering is the answer. Read the article featured in The Hill.

Online Learning Wins Out Over Textbooks In Boosting Science Scores

Online lessons can enhance students’ understanding of science and help underachieving students close the gap with their peers, according to a new study. Students who took web-based units made significantly more progress than those who relied on textbooks, while the improvement was particularly marked for students with lower prior achievement. Read the article featured in Forbes magazine.

Senate Drills Down Into Nitty Gritty Of Science Standards

The third year — and possibly final year — of the Legislature’s science standards debate could come to closure next week. The Senate Education Committee spent an hour taking public testimony on science standards Wednesday afternoon. As expected, the committee took no action. There is no date set for a vote, but it appears likely that the committee will vote next week. Read the article featured in the Idaho Ed News.

Wyoming Legislative Panel Endorses Computer Science Classes

A measure that would require Wyoming K-12 schools to provide all students with computer science instruction has been endorsed by a state Senate committee. The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved Senate File 29 Wednesday. Read the article by the Associated Press.

Rethinking Grade Levels And School Design For Personalized Learning

Personalized learning, an amorphous term that means different things to different people, generally refers to a more customized learning experience for students, based on their strengths, weaknesses and interests. Students are given the space to move through content more flexibly, at their own pace, often aided by technology. Nontraditional grade groupings are another way to address students’ individual learning needs. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.

For Experiential Learning Programs To Thrive, They Must Bridge K-12 And Higher Ed (And the Workforce)

In a strong job market that values both experience and educational credentials, interest is growing in experiential learning models that fuse traditional academic study with real-world projects and work experiences. In K-12, that has meant increasing popularity for project-based learning, or PBL, accelerated by various innovation initiatives, grants and start-ups. And beyond project-based instructional efforts, a growing number of K-12 educators and schools are now focused on broader notions of experiential learning that include collaboration with outside employers and industry partners. Read the article featured in EdSurge.

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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