This week in education news, science and technology have the power to do good; STEAM instruction from a well-trained educator can boost science achievement scores among students in high-poverty elementary schools; science is a front-burner issue for California students; S.C. districts are taking unusual steps to fill teaching vacancies — recruiting in other parts of the country; new study finds people who understand evolution are more likely to accept it; industry and government should work together to encourage more people to consider jobs in software development, computer programming and cybersecurity; and though remedial math was intended to help students succeed in college, research has demonstrated that the courses don’t enhance students’ chances of completing college and can even worsen them.
Earlier this spring the U.S. Department of Education released the results from the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and only 33 percent of eighth-graders tested proficient in math at grade level. This is unfortunate, and not at all surprising. In 2013, only 36 percent of eighth-graders were proficient in math, and in 2015 (the test is given only in odd-numbered years), only 33 percent were proficient. The silver-ish lining to the dark cloud of our schoolchildren’s poor math skills is that we’ve stopped getting worse. We’re not yet horrendous; we’re still just terrible. Read the article featured in U.S. News & World Report.
Natalia Orlovsky had a hard time deciding where to go to college. Her options — Princeton University in New Jersey or the University of Oxford in England — reflected her internal struggle over competing interests: STEM vs. the humanities. It’s a debate roiling the education world, too. If Orlovsky chose Oxford, she would study history. If she chose Princeton, she would study science, a subject in which she recently displayed award-winning proficiency. Read the article featured in The Washington Post.
Science and technology have the power to do good, by helping solve many of the great challenges of our day. They can mitigate global warming, hold the promise to cure cancer and help keep our national assets resilient to cyberattack. But we need more girls to unlock the potential of these next-generation innovations. Read the article featured in U.S. News & World Report.
STEAM instruction from a well-trained educator can boost science achievement scores among students in high-poverty elementary schools, according to a study recently highlighted by the Arts Education Partnership. Conducted in California, the quasi-experimental study shows that students in 3rd-5th grade who received the nine one-hour blocks of STEAM instruction — focusing on the visual and performing arts — went from the 50th to the 63rd percentile on their district’s science assessment. Read the brief featured in Education DIVE.
Science is a front-burner issue for California students, especially for those who are marginalized and disadvantaged. To ensure they receive the education they deserve and need, it is essential for the State Board of Education to add a placeholder for the California Science Test (CAST) to the California School Dashboard. Although the science test is still being field tested, and no test results will be available for accountability purposes for a couple more years, the State Board can still make its commitment to science clear to all stakeholders by stating that the science test results, when ready, will be part of the dashboard and listing it there now as one of the state performance indicators. Read the article featured in EdSource.
With about 25 vacancies to fill next school year, Lexington 2 School District recruiters flew to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this spring to get in front of hundreds of teachers looking for work. It was a success. The district, which covers West Columbia and Cayce, made three job offers at the job fair. Next up: fairs in Ohio and Michigan to find more teachers. Welcome to South Carolina’s new way of filling classrooms. Read the article featured in The State.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and their colleagues measured participants’ knowledge of evolutionary theory, as well as their acceptance of evolution as fact. They found a significant link between understanding the fine points of the theory and believing in it, regardless of religious or political identity. Read the article featured in the Scientific American.
The software industry talks a lot about the software skills gap and the need for more coders. That’s because it’s a real concern – the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will 1.4 million open computing jobs by 2020, but only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to fill them. Industry and government should work together to encourage more people to consider jobs in software development, computer programming and cybersecurity. But the skills gap is much bigger than the Bureau’s 1.4 million estimate. We don’t just need computer science graduates to fill computing jobs; we need people with technical abilities to fill jobs in almost every industry. Read the article featured in The Hill.
More than a dozen students at a high school in a Nashville suburb were injured along with their teacher when a science experiment turned into a chemical fire, sending nine people to the hospital. Read articles featured in The Washington Post and on WKRN-TV in Nashville, which includes information on the NSTA safety alert issued last year recommending teachers not use methanol-based flame tests on an open laboratory desk.
At first, they were isolated experiments. Community colleges were rolling back their remedial math requirements. Students who would have been required to take anywhere from one to four remedial courses were being placed into shorter sequences of remedial courses — or directly into college-level math courses. The trend toward dismantling traditional remedial education is unambiguous. Even before California became the latest state to adopt policies limiting remedial enrollments, community college remedial math course-taking had dropped dramatically, falling 30 percent over a five-year period, from 1.1 million to around 780,000. That decline, recently documented in a survey of math and statistics departments by the Conference Board for Mathematical Sciences (CBMS), is great news for students. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.
Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.
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