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Draft Science Standards Released

pourThe second – and final – draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was released for public comment on January 8 for a three-week review period. Developed from the National Research Council’s Framework for K–12 Science Education, these cross-disciplinary new standards set “performance expectations” for students, and integrate engineering and design into the traditional core science subjects. The goal: Have students learn by doing science, not just observing or reading about it.

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$1B Plan for STEM Teacher Corps

excellenceUncle Sam wants you – if you’re the best and brightest – for a new STEM Master Teacher Corps. The Obama administration’s ambitious $1 billion plan to boost student achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics seeks to create an elite cadre of exceptional STEM educators who can serve as curriculum innovators, classroom mentors, and instructional leaders in their schools and communities.

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Nearly Half of Schools ‘Failing’

woodworking classroomNearly half the nation’s public schools failed to meet federal benchmarks this year, up from 39 percent in 2010 and marking the largest washout rate since the No Child Left Behind Law took effect a decade ago, a new national report calculates. That’s still well below the 82 percent failure rate that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan predicted earlier this year, but the nonpartisan Center for Education Policy’s findings still indicate an alarming trend.

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Teens Don’t Know from Engineering

student in classroomWant to boost the nation’s supply of engineers? A new survey of 1,000 U.S. teenagers conducted by the Intel Corporation found that two-thirds wouldn’t consider a career in engineering but may point to a relatively simple solution: expose more middle and high school students to the profession.

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Program: Einstein Fellowships

einsteinApplications are now open for the 2012-13 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator program. Interested educators should use the online application. This fellowship, in its 23rd year, aims to provide teachers voice in Washington D.C. regarding Federal STEM education programs and policies.

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Senate Bill Pushes STEM Education

capitolThe Senate is moving forward with a draft reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that includes a major push for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The bipartisan bill to fix No Child Left Behind represents 10 months of negotiations between Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and his Republican counterpart, Sen Mike Enzi from Wyoming. Hearings are scheduled for November 8.

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Indiana District Trades Texts for Tech

text to techAre science and math textbooks slated for the scrap heap? In Munster, Ind., they’re already history. The well-regarded school district tossed out the traditional tomes for 2,600 students in grades 5 -12 in favor of video-rich, online science and math content accessed by school-issued laptops.

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Atlanta Educators Fired for Cheating

CheatingA Georgia state commission voted to revoke the licenses of eight Atlanta Public Schools teachers and three administrators, imposing the first sanctions in one of the nation’s largest test cheating scandals. The decision stems from a state investigation, released in July, that revealed high numbers of wrong-to-right erasures in nearly half of the district’s 100 schools dating as far back as 2001.

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More Start, Fewer Finish College

graduationDespite decades of steadily climbing college enrollment rates, the percentage of students earning a degree or certificate on time has barely budged, a new study reveals. By including older and part-time students, the Complete College America report paints a more comprehensive picture of the gap between college aspirations and outcomes than federal data typically has captured.

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