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10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds in K-12 Science and Mathematics Education

Several months ago, two U.S. Senators asked the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to convene a blue ribbon panel of business leaders, scientists, and educators and report back to Congress with a response to this question: What are the top ten actions, in priority order, that federal policy makers could take to enhance the science and technology enterprise so that the United States can successfully compete, prosper, and be secure in the global community of the 21st Century? Lawmakers also asked for specific implementation strategies.

In the NAS report released last week the number one action item on the panel’s list of recommendations was to improve K-12 science and mathematics education.

Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, which was reported nationwide by Associated Press and the subject of a New York Times op-ed by columnist Tom Friedman, recommends a series of initiatives that include:

  • Recruiting 10,000 students annually to become science and math teachers, thereby educating 10 million young minds, by awarding four-year merit-based scholarships to be paid back through a commitment to teach five years in K-12 schools. Teachers serving in hard-to-staff inner city and rural schools would receive an additional bonus.
  • Strengthening the skills of 250,000 current teachers thru summer institute training programs, in master programs, and thru Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) training programs.
  • Increasing the number of students in AP and IB math and science courses from 1.2 million to 4.5 million by 2010.

Other proposals include sustaining and strengthening the nation’s commitment to basic research and developing strategies to recruit and retain the brightest students from within the United States and abroad into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

Norman Augustine, the retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin and chair of the panel that issued the report, is expected to testify October 20 before the U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee hearing on Science, Technology, and Global Economic Competitiveness. Read the report online at http://www.nap.edu/books/0309100399/html.

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Now…Track Your Professional Development at NSTA Conventions Electronically, Access Your Transcript As Needed

Whether you’ll be attending an NSTA fall area convention in Hartford (October 20-22), Chicago (November 10-12), or Nashville (December 1-3), or our national event next spring in Anaheim (April 6-9), you’ll want to take advantage of an important new service: online tracking of NSTA Professional Development Certification. Debuting in Hartford, the new system will provide an opportunity for all attendees to track their professional development certification based on clock hours while simultaneously evaluating sessions. Attendees at presentations and workshops will complete a short written evaluation and deposit the form in drop-off boxes in meeting hotels or at the Evaluation Booth in the convention center. Three weeks after the last day of the convention, attendees can visit the NSTA website to access his or her personal transcript of attendance at specific sessions, and to add documentation of events not being evaluated, such as field trips, short courses, exhibit hall visits, General Session, Professional Development Institutes, exhibitor workshops, and meetings. The complete transcript can be printed and presented to an administrator who requires documentation of participation. Information will be maintained indefinitely for individual access.

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Whether You’ve Got Questions or Answers, NSTA’s Member Listservs are Lively Dialogue Sites

Physical Versus Chemical Changes—Help with Atomic Models—Gender Bias in the Classroom—Photosynthesis and Respiration—Ecology and Pond Life—Scientific Theory Versus Scientific Law.

Those are just a few topics discussed last week on NSTA’s member-only Listservs. Subscribers ask questions and share information about topics that are important to them and receive answers they can use from others with first-hand experience.
NSTA Members who subscribe (at no extra cost!) can now select from 11 topic areas including biology, chemistry, computer science, Earth science, elementary, environmental science, general science, physical science, physics, and technology education, and our newest list—new teacher.

This virtual networking community is available only to members 24/7. Take a look, you’ll be glad you did! To subscribe, visit http://www.nsta.org/listserver for complete details. Not a member? Join today. Visit http://www.nsta.org/memcategories.

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NASA Science and NSTA Press Authors Kick Off Fall NSTA Web Seminars Series

The NSTA Institute continues its ongoing program of free online professional development events with three interactive Web Seminars in October and November plus additional events through February 2006. NSTA Web Seminars are 90-minute, live professional development experiences that use online-learning technologies to allow distant participants to interact with recognized experts including NSTA Press authors, and scientists, engineers, and education specialists from NASA. Seminars are conveniently scheduled for all U.S. time zones to participate live and interactive, and content and pedagogical experts provide real-time answers to questions.

In the first fall Seminar, NASA Engineer Dave McKissock talks about the International Space Station power systems on October 27, from 6:30-8 p.m. (EST). Olaf Jorgenson and Rick Vanosdall, co-authors of the book Doing Good Science in Middle School will guide participants through an exploration of the critical issues facing educators doing science with middle school students on November 2, from 6:30-8 p.m. (EST). Bill Robertson, popular author of the Stop Faking It! book series, will use examples from his book Force & Motion to talk about constructivism and the learning cycle applied to teaching science on November 17, 6:30-8 p.m. (EST).

Grant-funded, these online events are offered at no cost to registrants. Because participation is limited, advance registration is strongly advised. NSTA will e-mail reminders to registrants for future seminars just before the event date. For a full schedule of seminar topics, dates and times, and to register, go to http://www.nsta.org/pd/institute.aspxweb_seminars.asp.

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Teaching With Purpose: Closing the Research-Practice Gap Offers Framework for Research-Based Teaching Rationale

Just released by NSTA Press, Teaching With Purpose: Closing the Research-Practice Gap, helps K-12 science educators create and implement a detailed, research-based teaching rationale that works with students of varied needs in less-than-ideal facilities. Authors John E. Penick and Robin Lee Harris provide a framework for coordinating the reader’s unique students and school with desired educational outcomes and the education research literature. A combination of theory and practice, and instruction and inspiration makes the book ideal for planning personal development and for use at teacher workshops. To browse the book and to order, visit http://store.nsta.org/showItem.asp?product=PB184X.

And Don't Forget... 

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Professional development courses in your future?
Online options give you a world of choice.
Take a look at these institutions offering courses for science educators!

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