Ed News: Lab Coats Help Students See Themselves As Future Scientists

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This week in education news, boosting student interest in STEM is important if we want to win the STEM race; there is an increase in STEM-related toys; U.S. Dept. of Education launches comprehensive internal review of the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grant program; American workers need to take advantage of artificial intelligence through new skills and learning programs; new survey highlights the national landscape of mathematics intervention (MI) classes in the middle grades; and the Hawaii Board of Education adopted K-12 Computer Science Standards.

Lab Coats Help Students See Themselves As Future Scientists

In order to encourage more of the nation’s young people to pursue careers in science, it pays to help them dress the part. That is the key finding of a study conducted recently to determine what kind of effect a simple article of clothing – in this case white lab coats – have on students’ confidence in their ability to do science. Read the article featured in The Conversation.

Winning The STEM Race Means Boosting Interest

America is woefully behind the rest of the world in preparing workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. An estimated 3 million jobs are unfilled in America because not enough workers have the necessary STEM skills to do them. While economists, educators, and policymakers have attempted to increase teaching and training in STEM to meet this demand, one problem has gone largely unaddressed: boosting student interest in STEM. Teach math and science all you want, but if students don’t get excited about pursuing careers in STEM, it’s wasted effort. Read the article featured in Education Week.

The Rise Of The STEM Toy

While the subjects that comprise the acronym STEM aren’t new, grouping these subjects of study — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — into a pedagogical approach didn’t become a trend in educational circles until the early 2000s. Today, as the movement has gained momentum across the globe, more parents are taking action when faced with traditional curricula that don’t offer their children the kind of content and pedagogy that will best prepare them for a career of innovation and problem-solving. Some families are advocating for better courses or enrolling their children in extracurricular STEM programs, while others have turned to the marketplace to find the answer they seek. Read the article featured in Forbes.

Education Department Launches ‘Top-To-Bottom’ Review Of Teachers’ Grant Program

The Department of Education has launched a new “top-to-bottom” internal review of all aspects of the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grant program. Officials say that the review is aimed at fixing the issues and that the department is “absolutely committed to improving” the program. Read the article featured on NPR.org.

America Needs Workforce With Technology Skills For The Future

While artificial intelligence has been successful in delivering benefits to people in health care, food delivery, energy and transportation, there exists widespread concern that artificial intelligence will make several types of jobs obsolete, including those sectors like finance. As such, it is more important than ever to teach American workers to take advantage of artificial intelligence through new skills and learning programs. But what should the actual programs look like? The answer is not obvious, given that the relative earnings power of a college degree has been flattening in recent years. If college is not enough, then what is? Read the opinion piece featured in The Hill.

We Should Teach Math Like It’s A Language

The United States has a math problem, and, like most middle school students sitting down with their homework, we are not finding any easy solutions. Young people in this country are struggling to attain the proficiency necessary to pursue the careers our economy desperately needs. Universities bemoan students’ inability to complete college-level math. Each year thousands of newly admitted college students are placed in non-credit-bearing remedial courses in math, a path that immediately puts them at higher risk of not completing a degree. Read the article featured in Education Week.

National Survey On Supporting Struggling Mathematics Learners In The Middle Grades

In the 2016–17 school year, more than half of the schools that served grades 6-8 provided math intervention classes all three years, finds a survey by the nonprofit Education Development Center. The survey, based on a nationally representative sample of urban and suburban public schools, also found that only 21 percent of those classes focused just on enhancing grade-level content; 35 percent focused on helping students master foundational concepts from earlier grades, and 44 percent covered both. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Computer Science Programs To Increase In Hawaii Schools

The Hawaii Board of Education has adopted the National Computer Science Teachers Association’s K-12 Computer Science Standards, joining a growing national movement. Legislators on May 1 passed a bill that provides $500,000 for teacher training in computer science and mandates every public high school to offer the subject by 2021. The bill awaits Gov. David Ige’s signature. Read the article by the Associated Press.

Teach Students To Plan In Reverse, Study Suggests

Common sense says making a plan is a good way to reach a goal. But how do you go about making a plan? Starting from the finish and working backward gets the best results, a new study suggests. Read the article featured in Education Week.

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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