This week in education news, Pennsylvania needs to get serious about STEM education; personalized learning has broad appeal, but may be more revolutionary than people think; and to properly integrate coding and computer science into the education system, it is critical to provide teachers with access to training programs that support their personal development.
As a practicing Pennsylvania classroom science teacher for more than 30 years and a National STEM Teacher Ambassador, I appreciate the good work Gov. Tom Wolf has done for STEM and education. His recent PennLive Op-ed “Pa. can build on apprenticeships, skills training and STEM education progress” points out how far we have come in preparing our students for STEM and the workforce. But we have a long way still to go. Read the article featured on Pennlive.com.
On the last day of the only job he’s known for three decades, Dean Howarth wore a kilt. It was the same kilt he’d worn for many first days of school, a purchase inspired by his travels to Scotland years ago, which included a visit to Duart Castle — the ancestral home of the Clan Maclean. A fitting homage, he thought, for his final hours as a physics teacher at McLean High School in Fairfax County. Read the article featured in The Washington Post.
In December 1997, a sixth-grader at Dan D. Rogers Elementary School here set a three-alarm fire in the library. Erin and Sean Jett, whose house is so nearby they hear the school bell ring, did not have school-aged children at the time. But it left an impression. “My child will not go there,” said Erin. When it comes to their children’s education, parents are like drug-sniffing dogs. Test scores matter. But so do other things. Which is why now, more than 10 years later, Emma Jett will be a fifth-grader at the Dallas school this fall. And her parents are happy about it. Their changed view — and that of others who shunned Rogers and now want in — is driven by what seems to be a magic educational elixir: personalized learning. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.
Schools lack the resources they need to properly offer coding education to students. So it’s not surprising that U.S. employers have only been able to fill 10 percent of available computer science jobs with qualified applicants. Progress was made this year when the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) was tasked to devote at least $200 million of its grant funds annually to STEM education, and this initiative was followed by an additional $300 million from tech giants and the private sector for K-12 computer science programs. Read the article featured in eSchool News.
Over the past two years, median wages for educators working in the early-childhood field have increased by 7%, but those working in child-care and preschool programs still earn a fraction of what kindergarten and elementary teachers make, according to the Early Childhood Workforce Index 2018, released by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. Read the brief featured in Education DIVE.
As some parents try to slow the tech tide for their children, code.org has expanded its reach into schools. Twenty-five percent of all U.S. students now have Code.org accounts and 800,000 teachers use the site for class lessons, according to the nonprofit. Code.org has been pressing states to pass laws and adopt policies that support computer science, and, by extension, put technology in the hands of students at a younger age. Some parents worry not just about excessive screen time, internet addiction and data privacy, they worry that new courses are being taught too early in the name of workforce development.
Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.
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