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Week of August 27, 2007

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National Science Board Seeks Comments on National Action Plan for 21st Century STEM Education

The National Science Board (NSB), the oversight arm of the National Science Foundation, has released for public comment a national action plan to address critical needs in the nation's STEM education system. Actions outlined in the plan include increasing coordination of STEM education—both horizontally among states and vertically through grade levels—and increasing the supply of qualified K–12 STEM teachers. The NSB also recommends the Department of Education create a new Assistant Secretary of Education position that is charged with coordinating the Department’s efforts in STEM education, and urges Congress to charter a new non-federal National Council for STEM Education, which would work to coordinate and facilitate STEM programs and initiatives across local, state, and federal governments.

The NSB is actively seeking public comment on the plan through August 30. The board hopes to integrate this feedback into a final version for approval and release at its next meeting on October 3, 2007, the day before the historic 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik. The draft action plan is available at www.nsf.gov/nsb/edu_com/report.jsp. Read the NSTA Reports article.

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Barbara Morgan Completes Her Mission on the Space Shuttle Endeavour

The National Science Teachers Association congratulates NSTA member and educator astronaut Barbara Morgan on the successful completion of her first mission to space. A former Idaho elementary school teacher, Morgan was one of seven STS-118 crewmates that landed safely on August 21 after a 12-day assembly mission to the International Space Station. While not confirmed yet, NSTA looks forward to her insights and “in-person” participation as General Session speaker at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Boston, March 27–30, 2008.

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More High School Graduates Ready for College-Level Science, Says ACT

National ACT scores of the 1.3 million high school students in the class of 2007 who took the exam demonstrate that a small but growing number of U.S. high school graduates are better prepared for college-level coursework in science and math, according to the 2007 ACT College Readiness Report, released earlier this month. The national average ACT composite score rose in 2007 for the third time in the past five years, and scores improved on all four of the exam’s required subject-area tests: science, English, mathematics, and reading. Read the NSTA Reports story on the ACT scores, or visit the ACT site.

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Check Out the Fall Lineup for NSTA’s Web Seminars

Topics for the Fall 2007 lineup of Web Seminars include human space flight, interesting science careers for students, teaching inquiry with food, engaging parents, the impact of the polar regions on Earth’s climate system, nanoscale science, and the living systems of the Arctic and Antarctic.

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Montana State University’s NTEN Elementary Courses Open for Fall Registration

Today’s kids know technology. But with hundreds of TV channels and 24/7 internet access, it’s sometimes hard for kids to filter all the information. Help your students sort fact from fiction by strengthening your own knowledge of hot topics in science like weather, astronomy, and motion. Leverage the technology that’s shaping a generation by taking an NTEN online science course.

The National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN) offers content-rich courses, delivered via a flexible and supportive online environment from Montana State University, one of the country’s top 100 research universities.

You’ll earn one graduate credit for completing each seven-week, hands-on, inquiry-based course. NTEN fall registration is now open. View all the K–12 online courses.

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Symposia at NSTA Fall Conferences Offer Fresh Approaches to Science Teaching

NSTA’s Detroit Area Conference on Science Education (October 18–20) is hosting two NSTA Symposia: from Sally Ride Science, you will hear From Astrobiology to Zoology: Igniting Students’ Interests in Science Careers; and from NASA, Igniting the Flame of Knowledge: Human Space Flight. These Standards-based, half-day learning experiences offer you the unique opportunity to learn from top scientists and education experts. You’ll find out about the latest discoveries in science and practice the latest teaching techniques when you participate.

For details, visit learningcenter.nsta.org/symposia.

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And Don’t Forget …

Membership Means You Belong! Join NSTA for these essential benefits that will enhance your marketability in the teaching profession and build your professional knowledge. Being a member of NSTA means you’re part of an international community of practitioners dedicated to improving science education.

Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off of the August featured book, Science for English Language Learners.

Visit our member services web page to ensure that NSTA has your current contact information.

NSTA is offering more Web Seminars starting in October. Visit the website for more information about these upcoming professional development opportunities.

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

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