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Support Funding for FY2006 Science and Math Education Programs

As Members of Congress work to determine their priorities for FY2006 programs, our champions in Congress are circulating three Dear Colleague letters--one in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate--asking for increased funding for science and math education. Read more, and learn what you can do to help get increased funding, by reading this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update: http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2005_03_21_leg.htm


Battle Over Evolution Intensifies, Says The Washington Post

The battle over evolution is intensifying, according to a front-page story in the March 14 edition of The Washington Post. Writer Peter Slevin examines the increased efforts to weaken the teaching of evolution by using a well-crafted strategy that appeals to the nationís conservative population. According to the article, "policymakers in 19 states are weighing proposals that question the science of evolution."

The Seattle-based Discovery Institute--led by President Bruce Chapman and Senior Fellow Stephen Meyer--is at the center of the movement. The team "settled on the current approach that stresses open debate and evolution's ostensible weakness, but does not require students to study design."

According to Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, "The movement is a veneer over a certain theological message. Every one of these groups is now actively engaged in trying to undercut sound science education by criticizing evolution."

To read the entire article, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A32444-2005Mar13.html. (posted online for free until March 28). To read the discussion that followed, consult http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33790-2005Mar14.html.


ExploraVision Names Regional Winners--Students Envision Innovative Ideas for the Future

A system to detect tsunamis weeks before they occur, an "endangered fish protector" that prevents underwater boat collisions, a nonsurgical treatment for appendicitis, and a cuddly teddy bear that can take a childís temperature--these are just a few of the award-winning ideas for the future envisioned by 24 regional finalist student teams in this yearís Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards Program. A total of 4,405 K-12 teams entered the competition, representing nearly 14,000 students from the United States and Canada. The winners were selected for their innovative ideas for technologies that could exist 20 years from now.

Now in its 13th year, ExploraVision is underwritten by Toshiba Corporation, Toshiba America Group Companies, and Toshiba America Foundation and administered by NSTA.

The regional winners now progress to the second phase of the competition, in which they will create web pages illustrating their ideas. Eight finalist teams will be selected as national winners and will be invited to attend the gala awards weekend in Washington, D.C., where they will be presented with $5,000 and $10,000 savings bonds.

To read the press release announcing the winners, go to http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/regional_release_final.doc.To view the winning ideas, see http://www.exploravision.org/2004/regional_winners.htm.


Dallas Convention PDIs for Administrators, Too; "Analyzing Instructional Materials Aligned to Standards" Informs Better Materials Choices

NSTAís highly regarded Professional Development Institutes (PDIs) will offer in-depth learning opportunities for teachers and administrators on the day before the opening of the March 31-April 3 Dallas convention. Providers are presenting programs developed with funding from the National Science Foundation.

The March 30 full-day PDI sessions will be followed by additional optional sessions daily throughout the convention in each of six important subject areas. Administrators will be particularly interested in "Analyzing Instructional Materials Aligned to Standards and Frameworks (K-12)," offered by West Ed. Other presenters include BSCS Center for Professional Development on "Inquiring into Inquiry"; The Center for Science Education/Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) on "The Role of Literacy in Developing Student Scientific Understanding"; First Hand Learning, Inc., on "Exploring the Processes of Inquiry by Examining Questions Arising from Firsthand Investigations of the Natural World"; Lawrence Hall of Science on "Understanding Student Learning Through Assessment in Science"; and Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) on "Designing Effective Science Lessons!" For details and to preregister for the ticketed PDIs, access http://www.nsta.org/conventionsupport&record_id=100&Meeting_Code=2005DAL; for complete information on the Dallas convention, visit† http://www.nsta.org/conventiondetail&Meeting_Code=2005DAL.


Member Feedback Sought on New Position Statement: Responsible Use of Live Animals and Dissection in the Science Classroom

An NSTA panel recently updated the associationís position statement on the use of live animals and dissection in the science classroom. The NSTA Board approved the draft and now seeks input from members. Please take a minute to review this statement and give us your comments and suggestions. All feedback will be submitted to the panel members for consideration. To review and comment on the statement, visit the NSTA Discussion Board at http://www.nsta.org/main/forum/showthread.php?t=1364. Comments must be received by March 31.


"Streamside Science" Online to Take Teachers "Into the Field" This Summer; 19 NTEN Courses Offer Diversity, Challenge, and Credits

Headlining this summer's online course offerings from the National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN) is a powerful new course for teachers of grades 8-12-- "Streamside Science: Hands-On Approaches to Water Quality Education," which asks teachers to adopt a local stream and perform lab assignments "in the field" to better understand hands-on water quality monitoring techniques. Participants will develop a better understanding and working knowledge of the characterization and quantification of water quality as it relates to secondary school science curriculum and environmental issues on a global scale. Registration is open, and teachers can choose from 19 online courses in nine disciplines, including biology, chemistry, Earth science, entomology, education, land resources and environmental science, math, microbiology, and physics. 

For more details about Streamside Science and all of NTEN's Summer 2005 professional development course offerings for science educators at all grade levels, refer to† http://www.scienceteacher.org/courses.htm, or call 800-282-6062. Most courses offer graduate credit, and NSTA members receive a 10% discount on select courses.


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