This week in education news, Wyoming and Idaho pass laws mandating schools to offer computer science classes; March for Science taking place April 14; NAEP scores in math and reading remain relatively flat; blind and visually impaired students can now conduct their own science experiments that might have been exceedingly difficult before; Joan Ferrini-Mundy named President of the University of Maine; and Utah State Board of Education approves plans to begin drafting new school science standards.
Two states, Wyoming and Idaho, passed laws mandating schools offer computer science instruction, with the goal of preparing students for the future workforce. Read the article featured in Education Week.
Gov. Matt Bevin has stated that one of the goals of his Kentucky education reform is to focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). As a Kentucky-educated computer scientist and team member of a group whose work was inducted into the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, I feel obligated to comment on Bevin’s plan, and why it’s an abject failure. Read the opinion piece by Mark Alsip featured in the Lexington Herald Leader.
Supporters of science around the world will take to the streets on April 14 to send public officials a message that evidence-based policy decisions are important — and science cannot be ignored. Read the article featured in USA Today.
The performance of U.S. students in reading and mathematics has remained relatively flat since 2015, according to the results of the National Assessment of Education Progress, released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics. Read the article featured in Education DIVE.
Every student, no matter their race or family income level, should be taught by an effective teacher, the Every Student Succeeds Act declares. Exactly how to define what makes an effective teacher and how to implement this ambitious goal has been left up to the states—and their track records on getting started have been mixed. Read the article featured in Education Week.
Teachers in high-poverty schools collaborate just as much as teachers in low-poverty schools, researchers at the RAND Corporation recently found. However, teachers in both low- and high-poverty schools reported they didn’t have enough time to devote to collaboration. Read the article featured in Education Week.
As high school student in Los Angeles, Ann Wai-Yee Kwong, who is visually impaired, remembers what it was like when her classmates did a science project. They mixed chemicals and watched them change color, checked liquid temperatures using a thermometer and measured speed and velocity by racing toy cars down a ramp. Kwong couldn’t do much besides sit quietly and “robotically copy data from my non-disabled peers. … I definitely did not feel included. I felt like a second-class citizen.” Using digital Braille readers, “smart” pens affixed with thermometers, 3-D printers, audio textbooks and other innovations, Kwong and other blind and visually impaired students can now conduct their own science experiments and even pursue scientific careers that might have been exceedingly difficult before. Read the article featured in EdSource.
In recent weeks, teachers have been protesting, staging walkouts and marches in Kentucky, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Arizona. Teachers are upset about working conditions, pay and benefits, which in some cases have been stagnant or worsening for years. One major contributing factor is recession recovery — states have less funding per student now than they did in 2008. Read the article featured in the Kera News.
A top executive at the National Science Foundation and leading science, technology, engineering and math expert has been named president of the University of Maine. Joan Ferrini-Mundy was selected after a national search, and succeeds Susan Hunter, who is retiring. Read the article featured in the Portland Press Herald.
Now more than ever, a high-quality STEM education matters. The STEM fields cultivate curiosity and creativity while preparing students to reach their highest potential in work and life. They are also critical for personal and national prosperity: In the next decade, almost all of the 30 fastest-growing occupations will require intermediate or advanced knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics. Unfortunately, access to a high-quality STEM education is deeply inequitable, limiting opportunities for students while they are still in high school. Read the article featured in The 74.
Today, the biggest need of any startup is talent — creative, highly-skilled workers who can turn ideas into the next big technological revolution. To maintain America’s innovative edge, we need a two-prong policy approach of boosting STEM education and training for Americans to fill the jobs of the future, while fixing our high-skilled immigration system so that businesses can recruit the best people for these jobs today without harming U.S. workers. Read the article featured on CNBC.com.
The Utah State Board of Education approves plans yesterday to begin drafting new school science standards, a process likely to touch on divisive issues like climate change and evolution. Read the article featured in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.
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