Ed News: How to Engage All Students in STEM

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This week in education news, CTE pathways prepare students for the rigors of STEM careers by giving them foundational skills and allowing for a broader interpretation of STEM; new report finds that 32% of teachers with one year or less of teaching experience have a non-school job over the summer break; study finds that the home literacy environment may influence the development of early number skills; and teachers around the world are using virtual reality to overcome barriers of physical distance and give their students a first-person view of the changes scientists are observing in remote areas.

How to Engage All Students in STEM

Early in their school careers, students see STEM pathways as desirable but then change their minds: 60 percent of high school students who start out interested in STEM careers lose interest by their senior year. And too many of those who are interested do not have the skills that are needed: A study by the Business-Higher Education Forum found that only 17 percent of high school students are both interested in STEM and proficient enough in math to succeed. Read the article featured in Education Week.

About One-In-Six U.S. Teachers Work Second Jobs – And Not Just in the Summer

Classes have ended for the summer at public schools across the United States, but a sizable share of teachers are still hard at work at second jobs outside the classroom. Among all public elementary and secondary school teachers in the U.S., 16% worked non-school summer jobs in the break before the 2015-16 school year. Notably, about the same share of teachers (18%) had second jobs during the 2015-16 school year, too, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Read the article by the Pew Research Center.

Preschoolers Who Practice Phonics Show Stronger Math Skills, Study Finds

Young children who spend more time learning about the relationship between letters and sounds are better at counting, calculating, and recognizing numbers, a new study has found. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Report: More States Pursuing Innovative Assessment Models

Giving interim student assessments for accountability purposes — instead of waiting until spring when it’s too late for teachers to adjust their instruction — could “discourage weeks of pretest preparation” and provide schools with more useful feedback. But there might also be resistance to shifting curriculum and pacing during the school year, and teachers would need support in using the results. That’s one of the topics covered in a new “State of Assessment” report from Bellwether Education Partners. Read the brief featured in Education DIVE.

Elementary Education Has Gone Terribly Wrong

In the early grades, U.S. schools value reading-comprehension skills over knowledge. The results are devastating, especially for poor kids. Read the article featured in The Atlantic.

Virtual Field Trips Bring Students Face-To-Face with Earth’s Most Fragile Ecosystems

Teachers say first-person environmental experiences engage learners and foster empathy. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.

Requiring School to Teach Climate Change Risks Backlash in Oklahoma

Melissa Lau is preparing for the coming school year. She teaches 6th grade science in Piedmont, just northwest of Oklahoma City. Lau says she has been educating her students about the connection between fossil fuel combustion and climate change for three years, though she isn’t required to. Oklahoma’s K-12 science standards are based in part on the Next Generation Science Standards, national guidelines developed in 2013 that recommend teaching the concept in sixth grade, but Oklahoma left it out. Read the article featured on KOSU.org.

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.

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