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More than 50 Republican members have signed on to a bill, the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act of 2007 (A-PLUS Act), that would allow states and districts more flexibility in implementing state-based initiatives using federal education funding. If passed, this legislation would fundamentally alter the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.
The A-PLUS Act would allow states to “opt out” of NCLB if it held a referendum or if two out of three state entities—the governor, the state legislation, and the state’s highest-elected education official—decided the state could no longer meet the law’s accountability mandates. States that elect to opt-out would still get federal funding and could combine funds from certain education programs into one funding stream. They would be freed from the requirements of each federal education program and could use the funds to advance their initiatives.
To read more from the front page article in the Washington Post, visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/14/AR2007031402741.html; to read a one-page description of the A-PLUS Act, visit http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/aplussummary.pdf; to read the section-by-section summary of the bill visit http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/aplus.pdf.
In other legislative news, Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) are seeking support for a Dear Colleague letter to appropriation leaders asking for at least $450 million in funding for the Math and Science Partnership program at the Department of Education.
Call or e-mail your member of Congress and ask him/her to sign on to the Ehlers/Holt Dear Colleague seeking additional funding for science and math education in the FY2008 budget. To send your representative this information, visit http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/dearcolleague.pdf. For phone calls, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, and ask for your Representative’s office. To send an e-mail, visit http://www.house.gov.
Robert R. Provine of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and others’ recent research opens an understanding of the science of laughter. To read the New York Times article (free registration required), visit http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/science/13tier.html
The seventh installment in NSTA Reports’ series is titled “Formative Assessment Improves Student Learning”. Written by Karen E. Irving, the piece begins “A fundamental tenet in the school accountability debate assumes that high-stakes testing will improve student learning. But the purposes of assessment depend on who is doing the assessing and what they intend to use the data for. Groups outside the classroom such as politicians, principals, or parents often use assessment to compare student scores on one-time tests. These data can be used in auditing schools; monitoring achievement; comparing groups by age, ethnicity, and gender; appraising teachers; evaluating curricula; and exerting pressure for improvement. Besides one-time summative assessments, teachers regularly conduct assessments within their classrooms and analyze them to make decisions that guide their instructional practices. This article describes the information that teachers gather during instruction, the use of that information to guide decisions, and the role of classroom technology in formative assessment.”
This series offers opinion pieces by many of the leaders in science education today. To read the seventh installment in the series, visit http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/nsta_story.php?news_story_ID=53559. To find out more about the book by the same name that inspired the series, visit http://store.nsta.org/showItem.asp?product=PB195X.
Things are really heating up as we get closer to the start of the NSTA National Conference on Science Education…
We have some sneak peaks from the exhibit floor…
For more details on the conference visit http://www.nsta.org/stlouis.
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