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Week of January 14, 2008

Table of Contents

NSTA Legislative Update: Appeals Court Revives NEA Challenge to NCLB Funding

The National Education Association scored a major victory last week when a federal appeals court revived their lawsuit challenging how the No Child Left Behind Act is funded.

At issue is Section 9527(a) of the law that says, “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to …. mandate a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this Act.”

A U.S. District Judge in Michigan dismissed the NEA lawsuit in November 2005, saying the plaintiffs had not proven their case, but the Appeals panel last week reversed that ruling saying that No Child Left Behind law “fails to provide clear notice as to who bears the additional costs of compliance.”

The decision came the same day of the sixth anniversary of NCLB where, during an appearance in a Chicago elementary school, President Bush defended the law and called on Congress to reauthorize it this year. He acknowledged that changes should be made to NCLB but he vowed to veto any bill that weakens the NCLB accountability system.

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Counting the Quality of Teacher Pay Comes Up About 12 Cents Short

The 12th edition of Education Week's Quality Counts (QC) was released this week. The nation as a whole barely received a passing grade on K-12 achievement, while the average state earned a D-plus. This year's report focused on state efforts to improve teaching. The report suggests that the average public school teacher makes only 88 cents for every dollar earned by individuals in 16 comparable professions (like architects, counselors, editors/reporters, occupational and physical therapists and registered nurses). The report also includes a "K-12 Achievement Index" that focuses specifically on student learning in elementary through high school. The achievement index evaluates how well a state's students perform compared with those in the top-ranked state on 18 separate indicators. The index takes into account current state performance, improvements over time, and poverty-based achievement gaps.

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NSTA Offers Two Online Short Courses: Force and Motion and Energy

The National Science Teachers Association is pleased to announce two online short courses that combine asynchronous learning with live web sessions to help you master science content.

The short course Force and Motion will begin on January 30 and will meet on five consecutive Wednesdays, (Jan. 30, Feb. 6, 13, 20, and 27). The instructor of this course is Dr. Matt Bobrowsky. The short course Energy will begin on February 5, and will meet on five consecutive Tuesdays, (Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26, and Mar. 4). The instructor of this course is Don Boonstra. Both short courses live web sessions are scheduled from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.

As a participant you will meet live online with content experts to ask questions and have discussions about the topic. You will also work on your own time with self-paced materials to boost your knowledge of the subject matter. Two credits from the University of Idaho are available for a nominal fee in addition to the course registration.

For more information and to register, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

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Program Preview for the National Conference in Boston Now Available

Be on the lookout! Our program preview for the National Conference on Science Education 2008 is coming to you via US mail in the next few weeks. The preview provides an overview of the events planned- major speakers like astronaut Barbara Morgan, Professional Development Institutes such as Integrating Science and Engineering Technology. Find out more about NASA/NSTA Symposia for example, 21st Century Explorer—Today’s Knowledge for Tomorrow’s Explorer. Learn about Informal Science Day, Science for Teachers of Young Learners and much more. Consider some of the fascinating field trips available like Twenty years of Universal Design at the Museum of Science, Boston. Don’t forget you can earn graduate credit for 12 hours of learning at workshops and presentation. With helpful hints for scheduling along with travel information, you will be equipped with everything you need to plan your conference itinerary today! For those educators who can’t wait, you can access the preview on the NSTA website or by clicking here (PDF).

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Informal Education in Science Knows No Boundaries

Robert Yager, noted author, past NSTA president and editor of the NSTA Exemplary Science Program, has organized symposia featuring “informal education settings” at the National Conference on Science Education to be held in Boston, March 27-30 this year. His sessions will include a full afternoon of discussion that exemplifies how the national standards have affected science in the informal education settings. Directed towards a general audience as well as grade band specific to middle and high school teachers, many exemplars (66) will be mentioned to demonstrate how they have met the NSES vision. Don’t miss learning how you can expand science teaching to outside of the classroom. For complete information, visit the Informal Science Day page in our preview.

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SciLinks® Offers Tips on Using Web Resources

At the start of the new school year, SciLinks® introduced a new feature for educators: a blog hosted by its most experienced search team member. Mary Bigelow has been part of the SciLinks team from the very beginning, and she has worked as both a science and a computer science educator for nearly 30 years. Click in to the SciLinks Blog every two weeks to learn how Mary and her colleagues select the most useful and engaging science content on the web. Mary will highlight specific web pages that she thinks are especially useful, and she'll include tips about using these resources with your students, no matter what your classroom setup. And if you get into a bind, drop Mary a query via the blog. She'll answer your questions, respond to your comments, and lead us all on a journey to make the best use of web resources for science education.

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And Don’t Forget…

Visit our member services web page to ensure that NSTA has your current contact information.

NSTA is offering more Web Seminars through the winter months. Visit the website for more information about these upcoming professional development opportunities.

Professional development courses in your future?
Online options give you a world of choice.
Take a look at these groups offering courses for science educators!


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