Ed News: We Must Restore Respect to the Teaching Profession

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This week in education news, new legislation introduced in ban animal dissection in California schools; House passes the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act; teachers need to have a voice; professional development is a term that many educators have come to hate; first independent review to weigh whether new science curriculum series are truly aligned to a set of national standards was released; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos trying to redefine public education; basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is auctioning off four of his NBA championship rings for STEM education; and virtual and augmented reality educational applications can help students build computer science skills.

Building Bots and Confidence

On a blustery winter afternoon in a school gym that had seen better days, Shemar Watkins, 11, and three friends huddled over a pile of Legos, learning how to fail. The lesson wasn’t going well. Shemar and about two dozen children at Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School, a struggling, mostly African-American school in Charm City, had formed small teams to build “battlebots” — simple, battery-powered devices made from Lego bricks. The goal: Win a king-of-the-hill competition to prove which team had the best bot. Read the article featured in The New York Times.

Groundbreaking Bill Introduced to Ban Animal Dissection in CA Schools

California could become the first state in the nation to ban the dissection of animals in K-12 schools if a bill just introduced in the state Legislature were to pass. Assembly Bill 1586, called the Replacing Animals in Science Education (or RAISE) Act would encourage schools to adopt newer teaching methods such as 3-D computer modeling programs to teach biology. Read the article by the Public News Service.

House Passes ‘Supporting Veterans In STEM Careers Act’

The House passed the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act (H.R. 425), a bipartisan bill authored by Representative Neal Dunn (R-FL) and co-sponsored by Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA-17). The bill encourages veterans to study and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a comprehensive outreach plan to increase veteran participation in its STEM education and research programs. Read the press release.

We Must Restore Respect to the Teaching Profession, Nation’s Top Teachers Say

When it comes to national debates over education policy and school funding, teachers need to have a seat at the table, say the four finalists for the 2019 National Teacher of the Year award. These nationally recognized educators offered their perspectives on the recent wave of teacher activism, attracting new talent to the profession, and the importance of civics education. Read the article featured in Education Week.

NCTQ Report Finds Elementary Teachers Not Getting the Preparation Needed for the Classroom

New analysis from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) reveals both astonishingly high numbers of elementary teacher candidates failing their professional licensing tests each year, as well as widespread evidence that teacher preparation programs give scant attention to the content knowledge candidates need. Read the report, A Fair Chance: Simple steps to strengthen and diversify the teacher workforce

A Teacher-Centric Approach to PD

The term professional development is one that many educators have come to hate—it’s automatically equated with a lot of “sit and get” and a waste of precious time. Read the article featured in edutopia.

Science Curriculum Reviews Are Out, and Results Aren’t Great

The first independent review to weigh whether new science curriculum series are truly aligned to a set of national standards was issued last week—and mostly, the materials fell well short of expectations. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Betsy DeVos and Her Allies Are Trying to Redefine ‘Public Education.’ Critics Call it ‘Absurd.’

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her allies are pushing their own definition of public education, as new Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) did this month, to the secretary’s delight. On Feb. 15, DeSantis gave a news conference about his plan for a school voucher-like program that would use public money for private and religious school tuition, an expansion of the “school choice” options already available in the state. Read the article featured in the Washington Post.

Emilio Pack: On a Quest to Move Children of Poverty Into the STEM Pipeline

When running a charter school network feels like a huge pileup of paperwork and policy, and Emilio Pack loses his way a little, he glances at a picture of himself in elementary school. He’s a chubby kid in homemade plaid overalls, still learning English, a true outsider at a school full of rich white kids in designer clothes. Seeing that photo zaps him full of renewed energy and purpose. Pack, 50, is running three science and technology charter schools, in a neighborhood of working-class immigrants, to give these children something he didn’t have: good choices right in their own neighborhood; schools with the power to lift them out of poverty. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Auctioning Off Four NBA Championship Rings for His Nonprofit

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is auctioning off four of his six NBA championship rings to raise money for his nonprofit focused on STEM education. Read the article featured in The Hill.

K-12 Teachers Use Virtual and Augmented Reality Platforms to Teach Coding

Immersive AR and VR educational applications can help students build computer science skills they can use later in life. Read the article featured in Ed Tech.

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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