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First States Approve New Science Standards

girls doing engineering in classroomOn May 24, Rhode Island became the first state to approve the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Kentucky’s state board of education followed on June 5. Both are among the 26 states that helped develop the new academic standards, which include engineering design as a stand-alone strand.

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Next Generation Science Standards, Finally

science classroomThree years, two drafts, and many comments later, the much-anticipated final set of Next Generation Science Standards was released on April 9. They emphasize cross-cutting concepts and “storylines” such as energy or Earth’s systems over specific content, and include engineering design and practices. If adopted by states, many of which helped develop the common standards, the NGSS could mark a sea change in the way science is taught across disciplines and grades.

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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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