Science Education in the News

A Costly Lesson in Supply and Demand
Los Angeles Times, July 17, 2006
By Michelle Keller

Recognizing the critical need to boost math and science test scores, the Los Angeles Unified School District has taken several steps—including offering bonuses—to attract and keep teachers in those fields at the district's neediest schools.

According to the article, “the move comes at a time when the consequences of students falling behind their peers in an increasingly globalized economy are being widely acknowledged.” According to the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 18% of California’s eighth graders tested at or above proficiency in science and 22% tested at or above proficiency in math.

The effort focuses on three major initiatives.

"The union recognized that there is a critical shortage" in these fields, said Tom Killeen, executive officer of human resources for the district. "This is a far-reaching agreement."

According to the article, the initiative is funded by an $11.2-million, three-year state grant. To read more, visit http://www.latimes.com/news/education/la-me-math17jul17,1,6182328.story?coll=la-news-learning (free registration required).

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On Your Mark, Get Set: Science!
Christian Science Monitor, July 20, 2006
By Pamela S. Turner

Some of the best scientific experiments are the simplest, especially when you have only 10 minutes to create a science activity for students using everyday objects. Every week, science teachers take on this challenge in the popular Iron Science Teachers Competition.

The zany competition is held at San Francisco's Exploratorium and is modeled on the Japanese cooking show, "Iron Chef." Competitors are told the ingredient—from fruitcake to golf balls—in advance so they can develop an activity, but once they're on stage, they have only 10 minutes to assemble and present a science lesson.

According to Linda Shore, informal host and director of the Teacher Institute at the Exploratorium science museum, "Iron Science Teacher has become a very powerful way of showing that science is about simple materials and everyday things. It also shows the public that we have very talented science teachers out there."

The winner of "Iron Science Teacher" is chosen by the volume of audience applause.
"Science teachers really deserve applause," says Shore. "This show is one place where they actually get it."

Many of the teacher contestants study for four weeks at the Exploratorium's Teacher Institute. Many of the Institute's participants build smaller versions of the Exploratorium's interactive exhibits to take back to their students.

To read the entire article in the Christian Science Monitor, visit http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0720/p13s02-legn.html. To download and watch the next Iron Science Teacher webcast, visit www.exploratorium.edu/iron_science.

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