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NSTA Legislative Update: House Committee Approves $269 Million for MSPs

The House Appropriations Committee last week approved an astounding $269 million for the Math and Science Partnerships at the U. S. Department of Education. And help us support a new bill introduced in the Senate that would provide dedicated funding for science and math education. Read all about it in this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update: http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2004_07_19_extra.htm


Teachers Concerned About Science Education

In a recent Associated Press news story, Ben Feller reports that many teachers, scientists, and business leaders are concerned about the state of science education. Groups say that lackluster science education can be attributed to a lagging U.S. workforce and fallbacks in American research and innovation. Feller interviewed teachers at the recent National Education Association annual meeting who pointed to the lack of professional development and time to be creative in the classroom as major challenges to the teaching profession. The story, which was published in several newspapers around the country, included comments from NSTA Executive Director Gerry Wheeler, who highlighted the lack of attention given to science education. To read the entire story, which appeared in the July 6 edition of The Washington Post, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30277-2004Jul6.html (free registration required).


Average Teacher Salary Is $45,771, Says AFT Report

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) recently released its annual teacher salary survey. In 2002-2003, the average teacher salary was $45,771, up 3.3 percent from the previous year, and the average beginning teacher salary was $29,564. The AFT claims that teachers’ salaries have stayed relatively stagnant while teachers’ health care costs have jumped to all-time highs (an average of 13 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), making it difficult to attract and keep good teachers. For more details, go to http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2004_07_19_extra2.htm.


New NSTA Position Statements

Need help addressing science education issues in your school? Look no further: NSTA has more than 30 position statements on issues of importance to science educators. Statements represent the official stand of the Association and can be helpful when advocating for quality science education. Just a few of the current statements available are The Nature of Science, Assessment, Students with Disabilities, The Teaching of Evolution, and Environmental Education.

Science Teacher Preparation. At its most recent meeting, the NSTA Board of Directors adopted a new position statement, Science Teacher Preparation. The document addresses characteristics of programs for preparing teachers of science, as well as accreditation and licensure standards. The statement can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.nsta.org/positionstatement&psid=42.

Scientific Inquiry. The Board also approved the preliminary draft statement titled Scientific Inquiry. The document sets forth 19 declarations on three central aspects of inquiry: the use of scientific inquiry as a teaching approach, students’ abilities to do scientific inquiry, and students’ understanding of scientific inquiry. NSTA seeks member feedback on the statement. To view it and comment on it, go to http://www.nsta.org/main/forum/showthread.php?t=1175. Deadline for feedback is August 13.


Middle, High School Teachers: Application Deadline for Online Master of Life Sciences Nears

August 23 is the deadline for application to the University of Maryland’s Web-based Master of Life Sciences program, with fall classes beginning September 6. Courses to be offered include Concepts of Modern Biology, Concepts of Modern Chemistry, Ecology and Global Changes, Food Safety and Genetically Engineered Foods, Modern Molecular Genetics, and Chemical Ecology. Designed for practicing middle and high school science teachers, this program is a 30-credit interdisciplinary course of study with concentrations in biology and chemistry. Four 10- to 12-week terms are offered each year. Courses are taught by University of Maryland professors with significant teaching and research credentials. Students have access to the university’s online library services and receive full technical support. The University of Maryland is an NSTA Institute online professional development provider affiliate.  

For more information on courses, requirements, the admission exam, and to apply, visit http://www.onlinestudies.umd.edu/mlfsc/, or e-mail a request for a free brochure to onlinestudies@umail.umd.edu.


Be an Earlybird Registrant for NSTA Fall Conventions; Save $$

September 17 is the deadline for maximum savings on registration for NSTA’s Indianapolis fall convention, November 4-6…but why wait ‘till the hectic early days of the new school year to register when you can do it online ahead of time? “Racing Toward Excellenc,” is the convention theme, with professional development content strands set for Assessment and Evaluation, Technology, Literacy, and Science Outside the Box. If Indianapolis isn’t your neck of the woods, it’s not too early to be an earlybird registrant for Seattle, November 18-20, or Richmond, December 2-4. Go to http://www.nsta.org/conventions to browse full details on the agendas, short courses, speakers, field trips, and even a personal scheduler to build and print out your own professional development convention itinerary (use it as backup detail in your funding request!). 


NSTA Career Center--Make Your Next Professional Step Today! http://careers.nsta.org


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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 http://www.nsta.org/whyjoin


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