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Week of May 24, 2010

Table of Contents

Speak Up for Education May 26

In response to recent reports and budget projections calling for massive layoffs in schools nationwide, this Wednesday, May 26, the National Education Association (NEA) will launch a national call in campaign to connect voters around the country with members of Congress. Very soon both the House and Senate will be considering an emergency supplemental funding bill that could include $23 billion to states to create or save education positions in both K–12 public schools and public institutes of higher education. NEA is urging everyone to call 866-608-6355 to hear a message about the importance of education funding, and to urge Congress to include the $23 billion in the emergency funding bill.

According to the NEA:

  • A recent report from the American Association of School Administrators predicts nearly 300,000 educators have received or will receive pink slips for the next school year.
  • More than 80 percent of school districts across the country have had to layoff educators, leading to crowded classrooms and dramatic cuts to after-school programs, arts, music, sports, and even subjects like social studies and history.
  • In some places, the school day and school week are being shortened. This will impact state tax revenues as some parents may leave the workforce or accept part-time employment to care for younger students on days when they are not in school.
  • Unemployment numbers continue to rise.
  • The latest figures show a national unemployment rate of 9.9 percent, with 6.7 million people now classified as “long-term unemployed.”

Read more about Speak Up for Education and Kids at facebook.com/speakupforkids or here (PDF).

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2010 Grand Prize Winning Teams Announced in National Green Community-Based Competition

Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge logoNSTA, in partnership with Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education, today announced the grand prize winners of this year’s Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. The national Challenge encourages elementary and middle school students to develop plans to initiate environmental change in their schools and communities. Projects ranged from reducing lunchtime waste to saving local trees and encouraging eco-friendly gardens. A panel of environmental advocates and science educators selected winners based on the team’s ability to create a positive, measurable solution to a local environmental problem and how well it can be replicated by other communities. Read more about this year’s winning environmental projects at www.wecanchange.com.

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PD for Urban Elementary and Middle School Educators

No single principle of school reform is more valid than the maxim that “student learning depends first, last, and always on the quality of the teachers.” In this context, the Urban Science Education Leaders (USEL) and NSTA are partnering to offer the second annual learning opportunity—an Urban Science Education Leadership Academy, scheduled for August 2–5, 2010, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Teams of teachers accompanied by their district supervisor will collaborate to develop the leadership skills to help guide reform that supports excellence in science learning in urban schools. Attendees will share their personal experiences, build on their knowledge of the change process, and become experienced practitioners who will lead initiatives for science education improvements in their districts. Ultimately, the Academy will help form engaged and responsible leaders who will enhance best practices in an urban setting and improve student performance. Dr. Adrian Dorrington, a noted PD expert, will facilitate. The featured speaker is astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr.

Who should attend: Teams (five-person team required) composed of one district science coordinator, one building administrator-principal/assistant principal, and three teachers
When: August 2–5, 2010
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

Registration is required by June 30.

For more information, visit the USEL Academy web page.

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NSTA Legislative Update: Strike Two on America COMPETES

Last week Congressional leaders reintroduced the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 H.R. 5325 for House consideration after making a few changes to the bill, including reducing the authorization period for the programs from five to three years. As reported in last week’s issue of NSTA Express, House consideration abruptly ended on May 13 when Democrats pulled the legislation following passage of a Republican motion to recommit the bill that would have substantially changed the bill and included an antipornography provision.

The revised bill introduced on May 19 was considered under suspension (bills considered under suspension cannot be amended and need to pass with support from two-thirds of those present, rather than a simple majority.) but it failed to garner the required two-thirds. See more at this House of Representatives website.

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NSTA to Sponsor Online Professional Development Strand at ISTE

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is having their annual conference in Denver, Colorado, June 27–30. Science teachers, faculty, curriculum specialists, administrators, and technology coordinators will comprise a strong percentage of those attending this conference. This year, NSTA is providing a full-day Online Professional Development Strand with a strong list of highly regarded presenters: Eric N. Wiebe, North Carolina State University; Chris Dede, Harvard University; Michael J. Hannafin, University of Georgia; and, from NSTA, Albert Byers (Assistant Executive Director of Government Partnerships and e-Learning), Francis Eberle (Executive Director), and Flavio Mendez (Senior Director, NSTA Learning Center). Those interested in learning more should visit the ISTE conference website and look for the bright yellow burst with a direct link to NSTA’s strand summary. Don’t miss this summer PD opportunity.

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Stretch Your Dollar by Using NSTA's The Frugal Science Teacher: Strategies and Activities

Science teachers on a limited budget will enjoy two new collections of inspiring essays that outline creative and inexpensive strategies to keep expenses low while raising student understanding of science concepts through the author’s everyday classroom projects. Two volumes, one for PreK–5 teachers and another for grades 6–9 teachers, provide a host of ideas for approaching projects that include materials and supplies that school and district budgets can’t—or won’t—cover.

Editor Linda Froschauer suggests new and untapped resources to obtain materials along with re-imagined uses for items teachers already have at home or school. Creative activities and lessons complement the thrifty suggestions and enhance teachers’ abilities to conduct science investigations at a minimum cost. Teachers will find ideas for further reading to expand on an idea and a comprehensive list of the many free resources available from the National Science Teachers Association. Visit the Science Store to download a chapter or to order.

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NSTA Waives NCSE Registration Fee

NSTA has waived the registration fee for everyone attending the National Congress on Science Education (NCSE). This national conversation on science education, which is organized by science leaders and for science leaders, is comprised of one voting delegate from each of NSTA’s Chapters and Associated Groups. For the past ten years, the Congress has provided an opportunity for chapters and associated groups, the NSTA Council, the NSTA Board of Directors, and NSTA staff to collaboratively address issues and work toward strategies that will support our mission—“to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.”

NSTA knows that budgets are tight and also knows the value of learning and collaborating with peers. With the registration fee waived, every Chapter and Associated Group is urged to participate. For more information, please click here.

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Hands-On Lab and Field Courses for Science Educators

The Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) Program at Montana State University has a diverse offering of campus courses this summer that are open to all science educators. Spots are still available in several one and two-week summer campus courses. Some of the highlights include:

MB 538: Cell and Molecular Biology
An inquiry-based laboratory in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell and molecular biology.

PHYS 401 & 402: Physics by Inquiry
 An entirely laboratory based physics course with a curriculum that is based on two decades of research concerning student misconceptions.

PHYS 580: Teaching Mechanics Using Research-Based Curriculum
A physics course that will prepare you to teach an integrated mechanics course built around the Tutorials in Introductory Physics, a research-based curriculum.

CHEM 506: Integrating Computers in the Chemistry Laboratory
Learn how to use computer technology to enhance laboratory instruction through a three-day conference with national leaders in chemical education, followed by opportunities to develop experiments for your classroom.

LRES 580: Lake Ecology of the GYE
Spend time in Yellowstone learning about lake ecology from experts and conducting research on Yellowstone Lake, followed by genetic analysis in an MSU research lab. This is an amazing opportunity to be a teacher-researcher!

EE 580: Solar Cell Basics
Learn the operating principles of solar cells that convert light energy into electrical energy, and get the chance to fabricate solar cells in the Montana Microfabrication Facility.

Come visit Montana and the beautiful MSU campus in Bozeman this summer and participate in exceptional professional development opportunities for science educators. You do not need to be admitted as a graduate student to register for summer courses, but these credits can count towards an MS in Science Education. To see a complete list of courses and to register, visit www.montana.edu/msse.

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Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off the price of the May featured books, Assessment in Science. and Climate Change From Pole to Pole.


Click on the logo above for more information and to register for these free 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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