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TIMSS Garners Media Coverage Nationwide

Science and math education was front and center last week as evidenced by the media coverage of the December 14 release of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). An article in The Associated Press (AP), which goes to newspapers nationwide, reports "The 2003 international results show some promise for the United States, including a shrinking achievement gap between black and white students, a federal priority. Yet several countries, particularly in Asia, continue to outperform the United States in science and technology, fields at the heart of research, innovation, and economic competitiveness." NSTA Executive Director Gerald Wheeler is quoted in the AP story, saying "The lack of improvement at the elementary level does not surprise us. We've been hearing from many elementary teachers that they are not teaching science because of the increased emphasis on literacy. Science is essentially being squeezed out of the elementary classroom." To read these and other reports on the TIMSS, go to:

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6711414/print/1/displaymode/1098.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2004-12-14-student-scores_x.htm.

http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/newsroom/pr.cfm?ni=15300000000133.

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Direct Instruction: Is It the Most Effective Science-Teaching Strategy?

In recent weeks, writers in the education and mainstream press have questioned and explored what the research says about the best instructional approaches for teaching science. Unfortunately, terms such as "discovery learning" and "direct instruction" are being frequently misused and commonly misunderstood. NSTA hopes to clarify the issue and provide you with insights on this important topic. We encourage you to read the article by NSTA President Anne Tweed, which will appear in the January issue of NSTA Reports. http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/education_story.php?news_story_ID=50045.

See below to link to various news stories and letters to the editor on this issue.

"NCLB Could Alter Science Teaching," Education Week, November 10, 2004.
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2004/11/10/11science.h24.html?querystring=direct%20instruction

"Mandatory Testing's Impact on Teaching and Learning"
Education Week, December 1, 2004 (Letter to the Editor)
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2004/12/01/14letter-5.h24.html?querystring=alter%20science%20teaching

"Better Science Instruction Requires Clear Definitions"
Education Week, December 8, 2004 (Letter to the Editor)
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2004/12/08/15letter-3.h24.html?querystring=direct%20instruction

In two separate articles, Wall Street Journal reporter Sharon Begley also addressed the topic of research in science education. The first article, "The Best Ways to Make Schoolchildren Learn? We Just Don't Know," appeared on December 10, and the second article, "To Improve Education, We Need Clinical Trials To Show What Works" appeared on December 17. The articles are available to subscribers only at http://www.wsj.com. In response to the first article, NSTA President Anne Tweed submitted a letter to the editor (http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2004_12_20_tweed.htm).

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Take Advantage of Special 2004 Teacher's Tax Deduction: Up to $250 For Out-of-Pocket Purchases before Dec. 31

Dig out those receipts, buy a last-minute holiday gift that benefits you and your students…but do it by the end of 2004. Recent tax legislation signed into law included an extension of the "above-the-line" tax deduction for teachers for the first $250 "out-of-pocket" you spend on instructional materials and classroom supplies. Originally passed in 2002, the legislation had expired at the end of 2003, but was extended for 2004 and 2005 calendar years. For the full story, go to http://www.nea.org/lac/edtax/index.html. And of course, we invite your consideration of the books in NSTA's Science Store, and particularly our newest titles published by NSTA Press which you can browse free online when you visit http://www.nsta.org/pressnew.

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Looking to Save More Money This Holiday Season?

NSTA members can choose to have membership dues billed automatically to a credit card on a quarterly or annual basis-FREE of charge. If you choose to take advantage of this member service, simply indicate your automated payment preference (quarterly or annual) on your next membership renewal statement or visit http://www.nsta.org/renew. to renew online. Questions? Contact NSTA Member Services at 800-722-NSTA or 703-243-7100 or via e-mail at membership@nsta.org.

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Happy Holidays from the NSTA Express Staff—See You in 2005!

NSTA would like to wish all of you a happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous new year. NSTA Express will return to a regular weekly schedule on January 4. See you in 2005!

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