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Teacher Salaries Not Keeping Pace with Inflation

An Associated Press article reports that in 2003-2004, the average teacher salary edged up slightly to $46,752, but did not keep pace with inflation. According to the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teacher union, the average annual salary increased 2.1%, while inflation rose at 3.3%. NEA indicates that over the last decade, teacher salaries have remained flat, growing just 2.9% in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Average salaries ranged significantly from state to state. At the top of the scale, Connecticut paid public school teachers an average yearly salary of $57,337, followed by the District of Columbia at $57,009. South Dakota paid the lowest average salary of $33,236, with Oklahoma the next-to-last at $35,061.

Other highlights of the annual report include:

  • Average per student spending for the 2003-04 school year rose 2.3% to $8,248—with 29 states below the average. The highest-ranking states were the District of Columbia, New York, and Connecticut. The lowest were Utah, Arizona, and Oklahoma.
  • Public school enrollment for Fall 2003 rose 0.7% to 48,132,518 students. The fastest-growing student populations were in Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. The largest decreases occurred in the District of Columbia, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Vermont.

For more information, go to http://www.nea.org/newsreleases/2005/nr050623.html.

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Legislative Update: Funding for K-12 STEM Programs Cut

The Senate Appropriations Committee cut funding for K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF), while a House panel establishes a commission to improve science education.. Read more in this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update (http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2005_07_05_legupdate.htm)

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Massachusetts Adds Science Test to Graduation Requirement

In a 6 to 1 vote, last week the Massachusetts Board of Education added science to the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) test, which students will be required to pass before they graduate. The requirement will first affect the class of 2010, which are this year’s incoming eighth-graders. According to an article in The Boston Globe, by making science a graduation requirement, “Massachusetts is joining 13 others states that require the tests or plan to do so soon.”

According to the Globe article, the tests are a mix of “multiple- choice and open-ended questions and should draw from the knowledge that students gain from experiments, textbooks, and lectures.” Opinions about the tests have been mixed. Board members believe the new requirement will focus more time and attention on science. Opponents contend that teachers will focus too much time on test preparation and cut out valuable time for experiments that help students gain a deeper understanding of science. Others worry that too many students will fail the test. To read The Boston Globe article, go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/06/29/science_mcas_added_to_list.

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NSTA Guide to School Science Facilities is July Online Book Special—Don’t Plan to Build or Remodel Without this Definitive Reference, at 30% Discount

Whatever your role in building a school science facility—whether elementary, middle, or high school—as teachers, curriculum leaders, school administrators, facilities planners, and architects, this book from NSTA Press is a must. And if you buy it online during July, you’ll save 30% off the retail price! As your guide through the planning process, it alerts you to safety, accessibility, and legal issues and includes sample timelines and budgets. Featuring photos, floor plans, and full details on science rooms, labs, preparation rooms, student project rooms, and their furnishings, NSTA Guide to School Science Facilities includes a rich appendix, a glossary, and resources for further reading. For more details and to order, go to http://www.nsta.org/onlinespecial2.

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Physics, Biology, Science Curriculum Specialists, and Other Positions Open

These and other interesting positions are now available. Visit the NSTA Career Center (http://careers.nsta.org) for more information including our Career Advice Section, Success Stories, and how to post your resume or a position. Don’t delay. The NSTA Career Center has something for you.

Questions? Contact jobs@nsta.org.

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Gone Fishin’

The July schedule for NSTA Express will be minus one edition. In light of the summer news lull and editors’ vacations, the next Express will be issued on July 18, as we resume our regular weekly schedule.

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And Don't Forget... 

Now that you have time on your hands, take a look at NSTA's new topic-specific SciGuides for classroom internet use... check out the demo and download a free sample at http://www.nsta.org/main/SciGuides.

Blog with Science and Children Online and Explore PreK-2 Science Learning in "The Early Years" at http://science.nsta.org/earlyyearsblog.

Want more information about membership in NSTA? Complete the quick online Inquiry Form at http://ecommerce.nsta.org/sendmeinfo, and we’ll be in touch.

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