Ed News: AZ Science Educators Raise Alarms About Revised K-12 Standards

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This week in education news, should STEM evolve in STEAM; North Carolina teacher rally for increased teacher pay and education spending; Chicago will invest $75 million to renovate the high school science labs; new middle school genetics and genealogy curriculum will be featured in the National Science Foundation’s STEM for All Video Showcase; and Artificial Intelligence’s progression has been evolving at unbelievable speeds.

Science Educators Raise Alarms About Revised K-12 Standards

The standards for teaching Science, and History, to Arizona school kids are undergoing their first revisions in more than a decade. A committee of 100 educators, parents and community members hammered out the Science document in a year-long process. But the Department of Education made unexpected last-minute changes, shifting from big ideas to vocabulary words and watering down the concept of evolution. Read the article featured on KNAU.org.

Is STEM Better Off As STEAM?

Should STEM evolve into STEAM? Bringing up the STEM versus STEAM debate to 100 people might elicit 30 different reactions. Supplementing the hard sciences with art may seem like a simple matter, but there are several well-reasoned arguments for and against STEAM. Read the article featured in Engineering 360.

Thousands Of NC Teachers Rally In Raleigh For More Education Funding

Downtown Raleigh filled Wednesday with thousands of teachers who marched in the morning and rallied in the afternoon rain as they demanded that lawmakers do more to raise teacher pay and education spending in North Carolina. The “March for Students and Rally for Respect” — the largest act of organized teacher political action in state history — was organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators. Read the article featured in The News & Observer.

Chicago High School Science Labs To Get $75 Million Upgrades

Chicago officials say $75 million will be spent over three years to renovate science laboratories in 82 public high schools. In announcing the plan Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged significant disparities in the quality of school facilities. Read the article by the Associated Press.

AP Physics As Force For Civil Rights?

The College Board’s Advanced Placement courses prepare high school students for college rigor, enhance admission prospects, and, in many cases, reduce college costs by enabling students to earn college credit prior to matriculation. AP classes increasingly are a standard component of a college preparatory curriculum — students took about 5 million AP tests in 2017, more than quintuple the total 20 years earlier. However, many schools have failed to keep up. Demand for AP classes, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, vastly outpaces the supply of qualified teachers, exacerbating educational disparities. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.

Genealogy Curriculum Sparks Students’ Interest In STEM (and History, Too)

A new middle school genetics and genealogy curriculum will be featured in the National Science Foundation’s STEM for All Video Showcase. The genetics and genealogy curriculum was inspired by the PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” where celebrities like former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and actress Angela Bassett discover their ancestral histories. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., the show’s host, and Nina Jablonski, a professor of anthropology at Penn State University, dreamed up the curriculum, inviting historians, artists, biologists, geneticists, anthropologists, genealogists and educators to weigh in. Their goal is to engage students in science using a more personal approach. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Artificial Intelligence Is No Longer Science Fiction, Bust Science Fact

Technology has been evolving at unbelievable speeds predicted by Moore’s Law for years now, but AI’s progression has been unfathomable. Our current form of AI, machine learning, gives researchers the ability to not only train computers to correctly solve problems, but to learn from its mistakes and then teach other computers the same tasks. Read the article featured in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Training And Education Beyond The Obsession With STEM

Trade can help alleviate the pressures of this country’s aging demographic by allowing the economy to source labor-intensive products from abroad. It can only work, however, if the United States has something else to sell the world in return. Right now, the country has huge comparative and absolute advantages in producing high-value products. Its workforce is better educated and better trained than those of the emerging economies, where the United States would source its purchases of labor-intensive products. That workforce also has much more capital and technology at its disposal. To carry on this way, the economy will need to sustain these advantages, and that will involve an ever-greater emphasis on training and innovation. Read the article featured in Forbes.

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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