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U.S. Losing Dominance in the Sciences Says NY Times

“The United States has started to lose its worldwide dominance in critical areas of science and innovation” as  “foreign advances in basic science now often rival or even exceed America’s, apparently with little public awareness of the trend or its implications for jobs, industry, national security, or the vigor of the nation’s intellectual and cultural life,” writes reporter William J. Broad in a front page, May 3 article in the New York Times.  In addition to fewer Nobel Prizes going to Americans and a downturn in the number of scientific papers published, the number of American patents is also down, with a quarter of all U.S. patents awarded each year to foreign researchers working outside the U.S. 

While scientific accomplishments in Europe and Asia are on the rise, but largely go unnoticed in the United States, “China represents the next wave, experts agree, its scientific rise still too fresh to show up in most statistics but already apparent.”  In addition, the drop in the number of foreign students in the U.S., the “apparently declining interest of young Americans in science careers,” and the graying of the technical workforce is a perilous combination of developments, says Shirley Jackson, president of AAAS, who asks “who will do the science of this millennium?”

On May 5, the New York Times headline “National Science Panel Warns of Far Too Few New Scientists” reports on the Science and Engineering Indicators 2004 study released May 4 by the National Science Board. Although 38 percent of the nation’s current crop of scientists and engineers with doctorates are foreign born, the NSB predicts the U.S. will soon face a shortage of scientists because too few Americans are entering technical fields, visa restrictions are preventing more foreigners from working in the United States, and more skilled foreigners in countries committed to gains in science and technology are opting not to relocate to the United States. Says NSB Chair Warren M. Washington, “The United States is in a long-distance race to retain its essential global advantage in S&E human resources and sustain our world leadership in science and technology. For many years we have benefited from minimal competition in the global S&E labor market, but attractive and competitive alternatives are now expanding around the world. We must develop more fully our native talent." 

A USA Today May 6 article also picked up the NSB study (“Report: U.S. Losing Ground in Science Education”) and a May 5 Boston Globe editorial “Slipping in Science” says “Jackson calls the attrition in scientists a ‘quiet crisis.’ The federal government, state governments, and local school districts have to start making noise about it.”

The article “U.S. Is Losing Its Dominance in the Sciences” can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/03/science/03RESE.html The USA Today article is at  http://www.enc.org/redirect/ehn/?ehn_id=32108, and the NSB study can be found online at http://www.nsf.gov


Innovative Ideas for the Future Earn Students Top Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Honors; Bill Nye "The Science Guy" To Attend June Awards

New treatments for paralysis...gloves that detect dangerous bacteria before they get into the food supply...robotic craft that scour waterways for non-native plant species. These are just a few of the innovative ideas that have earned eight teams of K-12 students top honors in the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards Program, which is sponsored by Toshiba Corporation, the Toshiba America Group Companies, and the Toshiba America Foundation, and administered by NSTA. For a list of winners, go to http://www.exploravision.org/.

More than 4,000 teams-representing 13,463 students from the U.S. and Canada-entered the competition to envision what a technology that exists today would look like in 20 years. Four first-place teams and four second-place teams have been named top winners and are being honored for their ability to envision how innovations in science and technology could change the future. Students will receive their awards-$10,000 and $5,000 savings bonds-at a gala awards celebration in June in Washington, D.C., where they will be joined by their families, teachers, and special guest Bill Nye "The Science Guy."

Would you like to see your students on the podium next year? Need a project to encourage teamwork and science exploration? Consider sponsoring a team in the 2005 ExploraVision program. For more information about the competition, visit http://www.exploravision.org/. Deadline for entries is February 2005.


Create Your NSTA Convention Personal Professional Development Plan Online; Print, Present and Persuade to Secure Funding to Join Us This Fall

Whether you’re planning to join us in Indianapolis, Nov. 4-6; Seattle, Nov. 18-20 or Richmond, Dec. 2-4; you’ll want to begin the process of applying for funding soon. And there’s no better way to begin than to outline a specific convention-based program as an important component in your overall professional development plan.

NSTA’s new online Personal Scheduler was specifically created to help you design an on-paper professional development convention agenda in support of your request for funds. Convenient, flexible, and all spelled out when you’ve finished—the what, why, when and wherefore to convince your decision-maker (principal, district science supervisor, school/district instructional leader, or superintendent’s office) that you should join NSTA at one of our fall area events.

Within weeks of its launch prior to the 2004 Atlanta convention, thousands of potential attendees created content-intensive, well-rounded agendas encompassing workshops, sessions, presentations, and enrichment activities to support their request for funding and leave, and to guide them through the convention day-by-day.  To use the Personal Scheduler, go to To browse the agendas and highlights of the three conventions, go to http://www.nsta.org/conventions


Summer 2004 NTEN Online Professional Development Courses Offered at 10% Discount to NSTA Members; Registration Filling for June Startups

Astronomy, biology, chemistry, science education, Earth science, entomology, geography, food/nutrition, microbiology, physics, and statistics courses being presented this summer by the National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN) are an important professional development opportunity for K-12 teachers to earn graduate-level credit online.  Courses begin on various dates throughout June, and the first of several registration deadlines is May 28. 

Designed to help educators improve and enhance their understanding of science content, courses afford participants an opportunity to interact and network with science teachers and active research scientists nationwide.  Participants proceed through course requirements together as a class, but individuals may access their course at a convenient time of day.  Graduate credit hours are from Montana State University, and all are offered with a special 10% discount for NSTA members.  To browse the full list of available courses and specific class dates, go to http://www.scienceteacher.org/courses.htm.  Courses fill up quickly, so early registration is advised.


From History to Disposal—Polymer Basics and More in New Polymer Chemistry from NSTA Press for Grades 9-12

Polymer ChemistryFor high school teachers who want to introduce polymer science basics, properties, and uses into their curriculum, Polymer Chemistry: Introduction to an Indispensable Science, just published by NSTA Press, is the ideal resource.  

According to statistics, more than half of all chemists work on some aspect of polymers.  Author and subject expert David M. Teegarden has long been a leader in presenting local and national programs for precollegiate science teachers, encouraging them to expose students to this important subject.  Formerly an instructor in organic and polymer chemistry at the college level and a long-time polymers expert in private industry, Teegarden has authored a book that is deeper than simple monographs or collections of experiments, and more accessible than college texts.  The Introduction provides creative chapter-by-chapter techniques for using the book in both AP chemistry and basic high school chemistry courses.  Like other NSTA Press titles, Polymer Chemistry: Introduction to an Indispensable Science is available for preview in its entirety at no charge; to browse and buy, go to http://store.nsta.org/showItem.asp?product=PB171X.


Special SciLinks Feature Makes Creating, Reviewing Student Web Assignments Quick and Easy

How can you determine whether your students have actually learned anything from time spent doing your online assignments? SciLinks®, NSTA's premier Internet referencing system now features a new Assignment tool that makes creating and reviewing student online assignments quick and easy—and a useful way to gauge student progress.  (SciLinks is accessible using print-linked codes found in many textbooks, NSTA Press books and journals, and independently as a benefit for all NSTA members.)   A sure measure of the Assignment tool’s usefulness:  since becoming available in late 2003, teachers have created more than 20,000 assignments for hundreds of registered students. For details on this user-friendly SciLinks enhancement, click on http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2004_05_10_extra.htm.


Career Center Spotlight--Science Teachers Needed in Las Vegas' Clark County School District

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Hope you found this Monday’s edition of NSTA Express an interesting, quick read and a worthwhile update on the latest news and information from the National Science Teachers Association. Our goal is to save you time by delivering information each week in short "news bites," so if you'd like to know more, simply select the headline quick link. NSTA continues to create resources and improve services for science educators. If you're not already a member, we invite you to join the crowd by going to www.nsta.org/whyjoin


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