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New Publication from Chief State School Officers Provides National and State-by-State Data on Science and Math Education

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has released a new edition of their biennial series, State Indicators of Science and Mathematics Education. The report provides key trends and state-by-state comparisons on teacher supply and quality and on course enrollments in high school and middle level science and mathematics courses.

This year’s report shows increased enrollments in higher-level mathematics and science courses: 50% of graduates completed four years of high school math as of 2004, and 72% completed three years of high school math. As of 2004, 60% of graduates completed high school chemistry, and 25% completed physics.

During the 2003-04 school year, 48% of all high school students were taking a higher-level math course (above algebra 1), and 31% of all high school students were taking a higher-level science course (chemistry, physics, or an advanced course in any field).

In science, an average of 85% of high school teachers were certified in 2004, and 63% of middle grades teachers were certified to teach science. In math 89% of high school mathematics teachers and 61% of middle grades mathematics teachers were state certified. Read more about how your state’s science and math education stacks up against other states at http://www.ccsso.org/Projects/Science_and_Mathematics_Education_Indicators.

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“Is U.S. Becoming Hostile to Science” Asks Reuter News

“A bitter debate about how to teach evolution in U.S. high schools is prompting a crisis of confidence among scientists, and some senior academics warn that science itself is under assault,” begins an October 28 Reuters article titled “Is U.S. Becoming Hostile to Science?” “Among the most significant forces is the rising tide of anti-science sentiment that seems to have its nucleus in Washington but which extends throughout the nation,'' said Stanford's Philip Pizzo in a letter posted on the school website on October 3.” The article claims the intelligent design dispute was “widening political, social, religious, and philosophical rifts in U.S. society,” points to the scientific community’s debate with the Bush administration over issues such as global warming and stem cell research, and calls attention to charges from scientists that the administration has politicized science by “seeking to shape data to its own needs while ignoring other research.” Read the entire article at http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=scienceNews&storyID=2005-10-28T160403Z_01_SCH843728_RTRUKOC_0_US-SCIENCE-USA.xml.

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Forensic Science, Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry, Classroom Safety Among Your Choices at NSTA’s Nashville Convention, Dec. 1-3

Thanks to television, forensic science is one of today’s hottest topics among the science-savvy middle and high school crowd. And when you join NSTA in Nashville Dec. 1-3, for our only Southeastern convention of the year, you’ll hear from one of the educational pioneers in the field, general session speaker William Marvin Bass III, presenting Science from the Body Farm—the Anthropology Research Facility (aka “the body farm”) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, which he founded.

Choose from sessions, workshops, and short courses, including NSTA Symposia featuring NSTA Press authors: Karen Rohrich Ansberry and Emily Morgan on their best-selling Picture-Perfect Science: Using Children’s Books to Guide Inquiry for grades 3-6 teachers (SC-6); and Juliana Texley, Terry Kwan, and John Summers on Investigating Safely: A Guide for High School Teachers (SC-10). A copy of the subject book and refreshments are included in the fee for the half-day courses. For details on these and dozens of special events, field trips, meetings, social get-togethers, and more, visit http://www.nsta.org/conventions.

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Free NSTA Web Seminars Series Presents Three NSTA Press Authors Through Year-End, with Bill Robertson on Force & Motion Nov. 17

The NSTA Institute program of online professional development events continues this month and next with three interactive Web Seminars, and additional events are scheduled through February 2006. Grant-funded and free of charge, 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. To read more, visit at http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2005_11_07_webseminars.htm.

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2006 Registration Open for AMNH's Winter Online Graduate Science Courses; Discount for Earlybirds

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) can help you add to your content knowledge and professional development with its award-winning Seminars on Science online courses in the life, Earth, and physical sciences. Designed for K-12 educators, courses include an integrated science course on The Ocean System, plus Space, Time and Motion, Earth: Inside and Out, The Diversity of Fishes and Genetics, Genomics, Genethics.

Taught by AMNH scientists and educators, courses immerse the learner in an area of contemporary research for a deeper understanding of the science and the tools of scientific inquiry. They also provide an array of classroom resources and rich web-based discussions. Graduate credit is available from major institutions and may meet your local professional development requirements. Flexible and easy to use winter courses run six weeks, from January 16-February 26, and registration closes January 5, 2006. A $50 discount is available for those who register by December 19. For more information and to register, go to http://learn.amnh.org or call 800-649-6715.

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There’s Still Time to Apply for NSTA’s Newest Teacher Award—VSP “Vision of Science”

The Vision Services Plan (VSP) “Vision of Science” Award, NSTA’s newest addition to our Teacher Award Program, has extended its deadline to December 15, 2005. This award recognizes one classroom science teacher (grades K-8) who has developed creative, innovative science lessons that develop an understanding of eye health and vision. The winning teacher will receive $2,500, which includes travel expenses to attend the NSTA National Conference in Anaheim, April 6-9, 2006. The winning teacher’s school will also receive a $3,000 check to be used to further the study, teaching, and learning about eye vision and health. Apply now! For more information or to download an application, visit http://www.nsta.org/vsp.

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