NSTA Express
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Table of Contents

No Child Left Behind Act in the News

Media scrutiny of the No Child Left Behind Act continued this past week. A front-page article in the October 13, 2003, issue of the Washington Post says that the new education law may hurt the Bush re-election campaign. “Bush hoped to enhance his image as a compassionate conservative by making this education program one of the first and highest priorities of his administration,” writes reporter Jim VandeHei. “But he could find the law complicating his re-election effort, political strategists from both parties say, as some states report that as many as half or more of schools are failing to make the new grade and lack the money to turn things around promptly.” To read the entire article, go to www.washingtonpost.com (free registration is required).

On Wednesday, October 15, in an open letter to President Bush, Secretary Paige and members of Congress that appeared as a full page ad in Roll Call, the Citizens for Effective Schools (www.citizenseffectiveschools.org) says NCLB is inadequate and calls for the law to be amended. A New York Times article on the same day that focused on the full page Roll Call ad reports that a spokesman for the Department of Education says there were “no plans to amend the law.” Times Reporter Diana Jean Schemo writes “The new law has run into opposition as school districts fully grasp its demands and consequences, particularly with state revenues at low levels.” And on Friday, October 17, the PBS public affairs series NOW with Bill Moyers investigated Secretary Rod Paige’s reform of the Houston education system when he served as superintendent there, which is now largely seen as the model for the No Child Left Behind Act. (In February, allegations of manipulating drop-out rates in some Houston schools called into question the validity and effectiveness of Houston's “education miracle”). For more information on this series, go to www.pbs.org.

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NSTA Teams With Court TV to Bring Forensics Into the Science Classroom

Capitalizing on the groundswell of interest in forensic science series such as CSI and Forensic Files, NSTA has teamed with Court TV to develop exciting new curriculum units on forensic science for middle and high school students. The units help students solve intriguing mysteries by using real science, including biology, chemistry, and physics. The two new units are now available free as part of Court TV’s award-winning Forensics in the Classroom (FIC) educational science initiative, developed in partnership with the American Academy of Forensic Science. The units are ideal for forensics, chemistry, biology, and physics classes. To read an NSTA WebNews Digest story about the forensic units, go to http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/nsta_story.php?news_story_ID=48693. To download the new curriculum, go to www.nsta.org/resources or apps.trutv.com/forensics_curriculum/index.html.

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Results Are In! NSTA Express Survey: Safety in the School Science Lab

Results of last week’s NSTA Express survey on science safety reveal that teachers need and want more opportunities for training on the use and storage of hazardous chemicals in the school science laboratory. Only 18 percent of respondents said they received training on an annual basis, which NSTA recommends, and 73 percent indicated they would like more opportunities for training. While the overwhelming majority of teachers said they were aware of the recommendations against using heavy metals, such as mercury, only 34 percent said they know the state and/or federal standards that mandate appropriate storage procedures of hazardous chemicals. For the complete survey results, go to http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/survey_safety_science_lab.asp.

NSTA offers many resources to help you plan and equip a safe science lab. For elementary resources, go to http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2003-06/member_elementary.htm; for middle level resources go to http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2003-06/member_middle.htm; for high school resources, see http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2003-06/member_high.htm.

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Update Your Science Content Online and Earn Graduate Credit

The award-winning JASON Academy begins its second Fall session on Nov. 10.  Teachers can earn one or two graduate credits in Natural Science or Education for each five-week course. Courses offered include Aquatic Ecology; Ocean Science; Rainforests: Endangered Ecosystems; Earth’s History; Structure of the Earth; Forces and Motion; Transfer of Energy; Teaching Project-Based Science; Teaching Science Safely; and Science and Young Children. Tuition per course costs $175, and NSTA members receive a 10% discount. For course descriptions and registration, go to Jason Academy at http://institute.nsta.org or www.jason.org/academy.  

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Are You Saving Your Out-of-Pocket Receipts? Call Congress to Keep the Educator Expense Deduction

Educators can take a federal income tax deduction of up to $250 for out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies and resources for the 2003 tax year, so SAVE THOSE RECEIPTS.

The Educator Expense Deduction is available to eligible educators in private or public elementary or secondary schools. To be eligible, a person must work at least 900 hours during a school year as a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide.

This is the last year that the current deduction will be available, however. Proposed legislation in both the House (H.R. 785) and the Senate (S. 695) would make the educator tax relief permanent, increase the deduction to $400, and expand the allowable items to include professional development expenses.

If you want to see this proposed legislation become law, contact your member of Congress and ask him or her to support H.R. 785 in the House and S. 695 in the Senate. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Ask to be connected to your Representative or Senator. To send e-mail to a Senator, go to www.senate.gov/contacting/index_by_state.cfm (phone numbers also listed here); to contact Representatives, go to www.house.gov.

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Save $$ If You Register for Reno Convention by Oct. 24; Enroll for CEUs, NSTA Professional Development Certificate When You Join Us Dec. 4–6

Quick summary of Reno NSTA Convention:  12 Short Courses… AAPT Physics Strand Day… Professional Development Certification… Bill Nye addresses the General Session on “The Importance of the Story”… CESI Breakfast presentation… NASA Aerospace Technology/Aeronautics Core Science Content Update… Preservice and New Teachers Luncheon… Featured Presentations including “Human Evolution: A Consilience Approach”… Washoe County Crime Lab field trip (and others)… Dozens of workshops within four learning strands… an exhibit hall packed with the newest and the best for science educators… 2-1/2 days structured for learning and networking to send you home with new inspiration.  To browse the full Reno agenda and register, go to http://www.nsta.org/conventiondetail&Meeting_Code=2003REN. Too far to go? Check out upcoming area conventions in Minneapolis (Oct. 30–Nov. 2) at http://www.nsta.org/conventiondetail&Meeting_Code=2003MIN; or Kansas City (Nov. 13–15) at http://www.nsta.org/conventiondetail&Meeting_Code=2003KAN

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NSTA Offers Memberships for Every Stage of Your Career

NSTA is committed to supporting every stage of your career development. From preservice student/teacher to retirement, NSTA has a membership category and benefits to meet your changing needs.

  • Student—$31/yr. For full-time students only. Include proof of current registration with your payment.

  • New Teacher—$31/yr. Teachers who are in their first three years of teaching. Send a copy of your teaching certificate or a letter from your administrator.

  • Individual—$70/yr. Teachers with more than three years of teaching experience. 

  • Retired—$31/yr. Science educators who are fully retired and have been an NSTA member for at least five years.

Each category includes a choice of one of our award-winning journals, NSTA Reports (U.S. and Canadian residents only), discounts on professional development registration fees and publications, online journal archives, SciLinks®, science suppliers coupons, and much more.

To learn more, including a complete list of benefits (http://www.nsta.org/benefits), information on multiple journal/year discounts (www.nsta.org/benefits#dues), or to join (https://ecommerce.nsta.org/membership/apply.asp), visit our website. 

NSTA. Working for YOU!

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Not a member and want to join? Visit https://ecommerce.nsta.org/membership/apply.asp!

NSTA Express Feedback
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Hope you found this Monday’s edition of NSTA Express an interesting, quick read and a worthwhile update on the latest news and information from the National Science Teachers Association. Our goal is to save you time by delivering information each week in short "news bites," so if you'd like to know more, simply select the headline quick link. NSTA continues to create resources and improve services for science educators. If you're not already a member, we invite you to join the crowd by going to www.nsta.org/whyjoin

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