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Ed News: Betsy DeVos Steers Federal Grant For Innovation To STEM Programs

By Kate Falk

Posted on 2018-10-12

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This week in education news, 11 of the 18 Education Innovation and Research grant recipients have programs focused on helping schools improve STEM instruction; there are 389,000 fewer teachers in the K-12 workforce new report finds; the job of a teacher is to help students apply content in meaningful ways to their lives; teacher evaluations improve quality according to a new NCTQ report; according to UNESCO, girls are still more likely than boys to never enter into a school system, yet countries are committed to closing the gender gap by 2030 and also achieve universal completion of secondary education; and high school career and technical education programs now focus heavily on robotics.

Betsy DeVos Steers Federal Grant For ‘Innovation’ To STEM Programs

Programs focused on helping schools to improve instruction in STEM were big winners in the latest round of the Education Innovation and Research grants. In fact, of the 18 winners, at least 11 appear to have some sort of STEM twist. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Jobs Report Shows Shortfall Of Almost 390,000 Teachers

There are 389,000 fewer teachers in the K-12 workforce than are needed to keep up with a growing student population, according to a jobs report issued by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Read the brief featured in Education DIVE.

An Authentic Connection To Learning

The question “When am I going to use this?” can make educators feel like we’ve failed somehow. It implies that none of what we’re doing—the lessons and exercises we carefully crafted—actually matters. Whether we teach Algebra II or U.S. History, we want students to be engaged in the subject matter we care about, that we believe has purpose and value. But I think it’s important to be mindful that relevance in learning is defined by the student, or rather, the student’s interests—not ours. The job of a teacher is not just to teach content, but to help students apply it in meaningful ways to their lives. Read the article featured in edutopia.

Teaching To The Student, Not The Test

Most days in Nancy Barile’s English course at Revere High School, a visitor might begin to wonder when the real class is going to start. Discussions focus on plot points, character development, and persuasive writing, yes, but the text at their center isn’t Hamlet or Catcher in the Rye. It’s the television series The Walking Dead. Read the article featured in The Hechinger Report.

Could She Close America’s Science Education Gap?

In 1998, in a third-grade classroom at Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto, California, Michelle Williams watched as her students presented a report on muskrats to Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The students had researched their subject online using seven computers Williams procured for her school through tireless grant writing. Suddenly, it clicked for the young teacher: Technology was the future of learning. Twenty years later, after stops to obtain her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and a 10-year tenured position at Michigan State University, Williams, 49, has returned to her education roots. Read the article featured on

NCTQ Report: Teacher Evaluations Improve Quality

Evaluating teachers annually using multiple measures, as well as tying professional developing to a teacher’s evaluation results, are among the ways states and districts are improving teacher quality through this rating process, according to a report released Thursday by the National Council on Teacher Quality. Read the brief featured in Education DIVE.

Around The World, Girls Still Face Challenges In STEM Education

As the seventh International Day of the Girl is observed, experts remind the public that providing a complete education for girls and women worldwide remains a challenge. Read the article featured in U.S. News & World Report.

‘It’s Just Heartwrenching,’ Principal Says of Hurricane Michael’s Rampage Through His School

Hurricane Michael tore through the heart of a Panama City middle school when it ripped through the school’s gymnasium, carving out a clear path from one side of the building to the other.The gymnasium, which got shiny new floors last year and a fresh coat of paint at the beginning of this school year, was the main hub for students at Jinks Middle School—where they hung out and chatted in the morning before the first bell, where their basketball and volleyball teams played, and where 8th graders walked across the stage each spring to herald the end of middle school and start of high school. Read the article featured in Education Week.

Behind Every Good Robot…Is A CTE Student

The use of drones and robots is flourishing across the government and private sectors. The increasingly automated manufacturing industry will require 3.4 million new workers with more advanced tech skills in the next decade, according to analyst estimates. Appreciating this, high school career and technical education programs now focus heavily on robotics, unmanned aviation technology and mechatronics (the technological combination of electronics and mechanical engineering). These STEM-oriented programs provide students with the invaluable and transferable skills they need to jump-start potentially lucrative careers. Read the article featured in District Administration.

Stay tuned for next week’s top education news stories.

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