Ed News: Teach STEM Using Laughter, Creative Techniques

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This week in education news, in several states, retired teachers and other state workers haven’t gotten a cost-of-living adjustment to their pension checks in years; Bill Nye’s new podcast—Science Rules—to launch May 16; U.S. 8th-graders are getting better at applying their knowledge of technology and engineering to real-world challenges; NMSI unveiled new STEM Opportunity Index; Wyoming State Board of Education approves state computer science standards; different kinds of students are flocking to career and technical education, according to a new analysis; animal dissection will remain in California biology classrooms; 43% of U.S. adults believe teachers are “very prepared” or “prepared” to handle discipline issues in the classroom; and a new study finds black and Latino college students transfer or drop out of STEM programs at higher rates than their white peers.

2 State Universities Successfully Replicate STEM Program for Underrepresented Students

Two state flagship universities — Penn State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) — have made strides in retaining and graduating more underrepresented students in STEM fields thanks to a program pioneered by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), according to a new paper in Science magazine. Read the brief featured in Education DIVE.

Retired Teachers Struggle to Make Ends Meet

Many teachers go into the profession, despite the relatively low wages, with the expectation that they will be taken care of in retirement through their pension. But in many places, that promise isn’t being met. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Bill Nye Wants to Educate the Public About Science with His New Podcast

If you grew up in the 1990s, you’re probably familiar with Bill Nye. He was the host of the popular PBS series Bill Nye the Science Guy, a TV program that ran for a hundred episodes and introduced kids to a range of science concepts. More recently, he hosted Bill Nye Saves the World, a Netflix series designed to educate the wider public about the importance of science. Now, Nye has a new project: a science-themed podcast called Science Rules, which will launch on May 16th. Read the Q and A featured in The Verge.

US 8th-Graders Show Growth in Tech, Engineering Skills

New NAEP results show girls outscoring boys in almost every area but not taking as many STEM classes, while performance gaps persist between students of color and their white peers. Read the article featured in Education DIVE.

New Online Map Increases Understanding of Country’s STEM Education Delivery and Outcomes

The National Math and Science Initiative today unveiled the first version of its STEM Opportunity Index (SOI), a multi-layered online map that illustrates strengths and potential gaps in public STEM education around the country. The Index is based on the nonprofit’s STEM Framework for Success, a collection of 114 indicators that are measured by publicly available data. Read the press release.

State Board Of Education Approves Computer Science Standards

Wyoming is one step closer to teaching computer science in K-12 schools across the state by 2022. A mandate to do so was passed by the state legislature in 2018. Last week, the Wyoming State Board of Education approved revised computer science standards. During its March meeting, the SBE received input that more could be done to make the standards accessible. Read the article featured on the Wyoming Public Media website.

Why the High-Achievers Have Moved to ‘Shop’ Class

A new breed of students has flooded into career-technical education, and they’re transforming a slice of the K-12 world that’s long suffered from stigma and disrespect. These students are focusing on professions like engineering and health care instead of traditional trades like manufacturing and agriculture. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Dissection Will Remain in Many K-12 Biology Lessons

A bill that would have barred K-12 students from dissecting animals during science instruction narrow failed to move out of committee after lawmakers expressed concern that it went against local control. Read the article featured in K-12 Daily.

In U.S., 54% Say Teachers Unprepared to Handle Discipline

Less than half of U.S. adults (43%) believe teachers are “very prepared” or “prepared” to handle discipline issues in the classroom — while a slight majority, 54%, say they are “unprepared” or “very unprepared.” Read the article on Gallup.com.

Report: Teach STEM Using Laughter, Creative Techniques

A study by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) of 1,100 high school students found 60% want teachers to be more creative when teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses. Read the brief featured in Education DIVE.

The Science Divide: Why Do Latino and Black Students Leave STEM Majors at Higher Rates

Lab classes have always left Shason Briscoe wracked with anxiety. The 21-year-old senior at the University of California at Davis wasn’t concerned about the academic rigor or long hours spent in the classroom — it was the uneasiness he felt when his peers and instructors watched him. Briscoe, who is African American, studies computer engineering at UC Davis, where black students constitute fewer than 3 percent of students in the program. Often, he is the only black student in his classes. Read the article featured in The Washington Post.

Instead of Standardized Testing, Consider Portfolio Assessment

The irony of standardized testing is that it seeks to equalize assessment in a way to level the playing field for all students. Regardless of where students are in a state or the country, these exams, not made by classroom teachers, are supposed to show what students really know and can do against a decided upon value. Of course, most educators understand that they do nothing of the sort. 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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