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Texas High Schools Adding Engineering

Texas high schools are racing to add engineering courses as state universities battle to increase the low number of students pursuing degrees in math and science disciplines, the Dallas Morning News reports.
Schools are trying to set up alliances with local university engineering programs and industry leaders to better train teachers and write course guides.

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U.S. Education Department Names ‘Blue Ribbon’ Schools

On September 15 2009, the 2009 National Blue Ribbon Schools were announced by U. S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. 314 public and private schools will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., November 2-3. Two people from each school, the principal and a teacher, are invited to the ceremony.

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Harkin Gains Broad Sway over Education Policy

Now that Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, has stepped into the chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, he will have broad authority over both policy and money for education issues in the Senate. That puts him in a powerful position as Congress prepares to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Education Week reports.

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New York Lowers Pass Grade for Math Test

On New York State’s math exam this year, seventh graders who correctly answered just 44 percent of questions were rewarded with a passing grad, according to the New York Times.
Three years ago, the threshold for passing was 60 percent. In fact, students in every grade this year could slide by with fewer correct answers on the math test than in 2006.

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Textbooks Go the Way of the Abacus

Around the country, from high school to grad school, textbooks are getting harder to find. Technology has made the library something that can fit into the palm of your hand, ABC News reports.
Cushing Academy, a private school outside Boston, is dismantling its library altogether, giving away 20,000 books.

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Database to Track California Education Year to Year

California has rolled out a student database known as known as CalPADS, the first component of a statewide system intended to track students, teachers and administrators year to year, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Such education systems are expensive, but experts say they are essential to learn how much of the nearly $60 billion that California spends on K-12 education makes a difference, a fact that student achievement tests only hint at.

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Lesson: Engineered Music

In this lesson series for ages 8-18, teams of students explore the engineering behind recorder manufacturing, and then design, construct, test, and evaluate a working musical instrument using easily found materials. Time required: Two to three 45-minute sessions.

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Solar System Educators (NASA)

NASA’s Solar System Educators Program (SSEP), a nationwide network of highly motivated teachers, is now accepting applications from interested teachers. Applicants need to have classroom experience (at least five years of in-class teaching). Teachers should also have experience leading workshops and be familiar with their state standards.

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Lesson: Weather Forecasting

Hurricane season is here, reminding us that accurate weather forecasts can be a matter of life and death in vulnerable coastal areas of the country. Even inland, severe thunderstorms play havoc with late-summer travel, and tornadoes threaten lives and property. In this lesson for grades 6 to 8, students begin by considering how weather forecasting plays an important part in their daily lives. They learn about the history of weather forecasting — from old weather proverbs to modern forecasting equipment — and how improvements in weather technology have saved lives by providing advance warning of natural disasters.

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