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The President’s State of the Union address last month generated a number of news stories and editorials examining his ideas to bolster the nation’s economic competitiveness by doubling federal funding for research in the basic sciences, making the R&D tax credit permanent, and strengthening science and math education. TIME magazine’s February 13 cover story —“Is America Flunking Science”—provides a comprehensive overview of the issue.
The TIME article examines how the U.S. still leads the world in scientific innovation, but years of declining investment and competition from abroad threaten to end our supremacy in these areas. At the same time many scientists believe that ideological concerns are hampering their work. A side bar titled “Science in School: Looking for a Lab-Coat Idol” reports the science role models most students know best are their teachers, “but science teachers who are both passionate and prepared are scarce.”
Subscribers can read the TIME article online at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,1101060213,00.html. To read the letter to the editor from NSTA Executive Director Gerald Wheeler about the front cover graphic of that issue of TIME which depicts a young male in the aftermath of an apparent lab explosion, visit http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2006_02_13_letter.htm.
In other science education in the news on February 8 Education Week featured a live online chat about the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative and the state of science and math education. To read the transcript of the chat, visit http://www.edweek.org/chat/transcript_02_08_2006.html.
The Bush Administration released the FY2007 Budgets for federal agencies last week, kicking off the yearly funding (appropriations) process for federal education programs. As expected math and science education programs at the U.S. Department of Education got a huge increase under the American Competitiveness Initiative. R&D programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) received a generous funding increase, but funding for NSF science and math education programs was modest. And Congress has given final approval for the new $3.7 billion federal student grant program for low-income STEM majors. Read more in this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update (http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2006_02_13_legupdate.htm).
Guest presenters and an array of hands-on workshops make this debut NSTA Conference presentation a can’t-miss event for PreK-2 teachers who want to introduce developmentally appropriate science to their students! “Engaging Three- to Five-Year-Olds in Science Inquiry,” “Simple Science to Bring Science and Literacy Together;” Ten-Minute K-2 Lessons on Motion,” “Sciencias por los Ninos (Preschool Science for Spanish-speaking Children),” “Early Childhood Science on a Budget,” and more topics make choosing a morning and afternoon hands-on workshop a challenge. This special day-long event is Saturday, April 8, and requires registration in advance before March 10, at http://www.nsta.org/conventionsupport&record_id=128&Meeting_Code=2006ANA, in addition to registration for the full April 6-9 Conference on Science Education. For those of you teaching at other grade levels, there are hundreds of sessions, presentations, speakers, and workshops to fit your needs, too, so browse the Conference agenda at http://www.nsta.org/conferences (and forward the Young Learners Day information to a cohort!).
Besides great benefits such as publication and conferences, NSTA gives you many opportunities to take your commitment to the next level. Whether you’re a new or seasoned science professional, NSTA has something for you. Visit http://www.nsta.org/getinvolved to learn more.
The February issues of the NSTA journals are now available online. Science and Children (grades PreK – 6) explores chemistry through its theme Mixing and Matter; Science Scope (grades 6 – 9) features Weather for its theme; and The Science Teacher (grades 9–12) focuses on Science and Literacy. The Journal of College Science Teaching also features a full line-up of timely articles.
Members can access all articles online using their member number; nonmembers can read one free article from each journal every month. To view the complete table of contents for each journal, visit the links below.
Science Class, your NSTA e-newsletter, explores the same themes and provides additional online resources, such as news stories, SciLinks, and articles from the NSTA journal archives. Look for it in your e-mail inbox on the first Wednesday of every month. Miss an issue? Visit the Science Class archives at http://www.nsta.org/enewsletter/archives.htm.
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