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On February 13 the Aspen Institute’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) Commission released its long-awaited recommendations for the reauthorization of the federal education law during a news briefing on Capitol Hill well attended by policy leaders, including the leaders of the Senate and House panels who will rewrite the education law: Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA); Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY); Congressman George Miller (D-CA) and Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA).
The commission issued 75 specific recommendations to the law around the themes of accountability, school improvement, highly qualified teachers, and standards. Recommendations of specific interest to science educators include: requiring proficiency in science by 2014; adding consideration of learning gains by students over a three-year period in determining whether a teacher is highly qualified; and requiring individualized professional development opportunities for teachers who are deemed “ineffective.”
The Commission, co-chaired by former governors Tommy Thompson (D-WI) and Roy Barnes (D-GA), was formed last February with the charge of completing in one year a bipartisan analysis of the law and its implementation. Twelve roundtable discussions were held in Washington, D.C. and across the country and an interactive website that received over 10,000 written comments was created.
To learn more about the Aspen Commission’s recommendations for NCLB go to http://www.aspeninstitute.org/site/c.huLWJeMRKpH/b.938015/k.40DA/Commission_on_No_Child_Left_Behind.htm. Read the NEA and AFT reactions to the report at http://www.nea.org/index.html and http://www.aft.org/presscenter/releases/2007/021307.htm.
President Bush recently submitted his budget for FY2008 federal programs. Read more about what the President is proposing for some major federal education programs and for science and math education programs at the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation in this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update (http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2007_02_19_legupdate.htm).
The Kansas Board of Education changed the state’s science standards for the fifth time in eight years last week, voting in "evolution-friendly" standards after moderates took control of the board following elections last fall. “The new guidelines . . . represent a political defeat for advocates of 'intelligent design,' who had helped write the older standards being jettisoned,” writes Associated Press reporter John Hanna. The board removed language suggesting that key evolutionary concepts were controversial and included a new definition of science. Read more at http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/feb/14/science_standards_evolve_again/?evolution.
A new College Board report says that almost 15% of public school graduates from the class of 2006 achieved during their high school years an AP® Exam grade of 3 or better, a significant improvement since the class of 2000, when just 10% of public school graduates were achieving this result. The report also says that research shows that students who participate in AP have significantly better college grades and college graduation rates than academically and economically similar students who did not take the demanding courses and exams. Read the 2007 Advanced Placement Report to the Nation at http://www.collegeboard.com/press/releases/152694.html.
Two highly renowned women scientists, Susan Solomon and Anousheh Ansari, will be featured speakers at the National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, March 29-April 1.
Susan Solomon, Senior Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory, is widely recognized as one of the leaders in the field of atmospheric science. Anousheh Ansari, co-founder and partner at Prodea Systems, Inc. in Plano, Texas, became the first female private space explorer on September 18, 2006.
The Advance Discount Deadline is March 2 so don’t delay! This conference is sure to be the one YOU don’t want to miss!
For more information and to register: http://www.nsta.org/stlouis.
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