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In the March 15 edition of Education Week, Nancy Grasmick, the state superintendent of schools for Maryland, states "America has dropped the ball on science, mathematics, and technology education. Our nation has ignored science and math education for far too long, and a serious investment in technology training at all levels is overdue. We need more physicists, mathematicians, chemists, and other technically skilled people in the pipeline, and we need to recruit more prospective teachers in those disciplines. That process begins with a new emphasis on mathematics and science in elementary and secondary schools.”
Grasmick brings attention to the disturbing statistics in her own state where “only one student in physical-science education graduated from a higher education institution last year. Just 13 students in chemistry education graduated from a Maryland college or university, and 11 graduated in physics education.” At the same time, she notes that Maryland schools needed 12 physical-science teachers, 59 chemistry teachers, and 29 physics teachers. “We need to interest students in math, science, and technology at a younger age, spark their curiosity, and help them understand how they can become part of a future that desperately needs their skills.” Grasmick served on the committee to develop the recent National Academies’ report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm. To read the commentary, visit http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2006/03/15/27grasmick.h25.html (free registration required).
The deadline has been extended for U.S. Representatives to sign on to the two Dear Colleague letters in the House urging appropriators to provide increased funding for science and math education programs at the U. S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation.
73 Members of Congress have already signed the Dear Colleague letter (http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2006_03_20_ehlers.htm) sponsored by Representatives Ehlers, Holt, Udall, and Biggert seeking $562 million for math and science education programs at the U.S. Department of Education.
111 Representatives have signed Ehlers/Holt/Inglis/Lipinski letter (http://www.aip.org/fyi/2006/037.html) supporting $6.02 Billion for FY2007 programs at the National Science Foundation.
It is very important to get as many lawmakers as possible to sign these letters, as they are often barometers of support for a specific issue or funding request, so please take a minute to call or e-mail. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, and ask to be connected to your Representative’s office. To send an e-mail, go to http://thomas.loc.gov, and link to House of Representatives (link is located on the left hand side).
In your e-mail message, you can send the Dear Colleague letters to your elected Representative and ask him/her to sign on to these letters. If you call, ask to speak to the education aide and request that your Representative sign on to the Ehlers Dear Colleague letters for increased funding, then forward him/her the letters. To view the list of Representatives who have already signed on to each letter, visit http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2006_03_20_list.htm.
NSTA has always gone to great effort to bring attendees at our national Conferences (formerly known as Conventions) the leaders in science that you want to hear, and this year in Anaheim, April 6-9, is no exception. Jean-Michel Cousteau, environmentalist, educator, and founder and president, Ocean Futures Society, will address the Thursday general session on Responsible Living…Because Everything is Connected. Featured presentations will include Dylan William, Director, Learning and Teaching Research Center of Educational Testing Service on Assessment for Learning in Science Classrooms; Jo Anne Vasquez, Science Author/Consultant speaking on Report to the Nation on the State of K-12 Education from the National Science Board; Bill Nye, Spokesperson, Consultant and on-air Host, Noggin Television, delivering The Planetary Society Lecture; E. Wendy Saul, Professor of Education and International Studies, University of Missouri, St. Louis, on Words About Words: Assessing Literacy and Science Connections; and Michael P. Klentschy, Superintendent of Schools, El Centro (CA) Elementary School District on Science Education in Standards-based World.
You still have time to review the full agenda and register online for the Conference itself, the Professional Development Institutes, the short courses, field trips, and all the other great events that make this annual event so special for science educators.
Just visit http://www.nsta.org/conferences and join us in Anaheim!
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and NSTA will present a professional development program in Food Science July 16-July 22 in Washington, D.C., for middle level and high school science teachers. Consistent with the National Science Education Standards, the programs will offer multidimensional sustained professional development, including content updates by food science specialists; visits to government facilities, presentations by government and industry leaders, hands-on practice with new curriculum materials, and exchange of teaching and learning strategies. A follow-up enhancement conference will be held in fall ’06 at an NSTA area conference. Travel, lodging and meal per diems will be provided for participants. For additional information and to apply, go to http://www.nsta.org./fdaapplication.
The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Extension Nutrition Education Program's food safety online course module designed for science teachers in grades 6-12 is being offered this spring, with Current Controversies in Food Science to be presented April 10-May 14. The course is designed to demonstrate inquiry-based learning, increase knowledge of bacteriology and food microbiology, explore current controversies in food science, share food science and safety ideas with peers worldwide, and develop meaningful student projects that meet National Science Education Standards. The next module, Bacteria Are Everywhere, will be offered this summer. For more information on this and the other modules, and to register, visit http://www.foodsafetyfirst.org.
NSTA has selected Suzanne Kehret, secondary science education student at Iowa State University and vice president of the Iowa State University NSTA Student Chapter as the second Preservice Teacher Member of NSTA’s Teacher Preparation Committee. This marks the second time a student has served in a leadership role on an NSTA committee. Members of the Preservice Teacher Preparation Committee review all NSTA policies, programs, research, and teacher development activities related to the preparation of future science teachers, and work to support highly qualified teachers of science in our nation’s schools. NSTA added the student position in 2005 to build stronger ties with its student chapters and enhance communication with the preservice science teacher community. For more details, and to read more about the Student Chapter program, visit http://www.nsta.org/pressroom&news_story_ID=51809.
Much of the success of NSTA’s student chapter program is due to the growing number of collaborative events among chapters and new chapter leadership opportunities, which creates a rich mix of professional activities. For example, there are a number of special events geared to student chapter members at NSTA’s upcoming National Conference on Science Education in Anaheim including the Student Chapter Poster Session where members of various student chapters present activities carried out as well as share experiences and ideas from the past year. To learn more visit http://www.nsta.org/convstudentchapters.
Student chapter involvement, such as those mentioned above, can make a difference for preservice science teachers preparing for the classroom. For more information about starting an NSTA Student Chapter at your college or university, download the Student Chapter Procedures Manual at http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/studentguide.pdf or visit http://www.nsta.org/studentchapters.
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