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Week of February 25, 2008

Table of Contents

Florida State Board of Education Approves Science Standards and "Scientific Theory of Evolution"

Last Tuesday the Florida's State Board of Education voted 4 to 3 to approve the new science standards that include the term "scientific theory of evolution," the first time the word evolution has been included in the state standards. The state's current standards require the teaching of evolution using code words like "change over time."

After weeks of rancorous public debate on the standards, a last minute compromise by board members included the phrase "scientific theory of" in front of evolution and certain other concepts.

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CEP Study Confirms That Science in the Elementary Classroom is Truly Disappearing

Earlier this summer, the Center for Education Policy issued a report that confirmed what many science educators have long suspected: a majority of the nation's school districts were increasing time spent on reading and math in elementary schools since NCLB became law in 2002, and most of these districts cut back on time spent on other subjects, including science. A new CEP report issued last week provides a look at just how much these districts did cut back on science and other subjects.

In its earlier report, CEP found that a majority of the 348 school districts they surveyed—62 percent—had increased time for English language arts (ELA) and/or math in elementary schools since school year 2001-02. Forty-four percent had increased time for ELA and/or math at the elementary level, while simultaneously cutting time from one or more areas including science, social studies, art and music, physical education, recess, and lunch.

Of the districts that both increased time for ELA or math and reduced time in other subjects, a large majority—72 percent—cut time by at least 75 minutes per week for one or more of the other subjects. For example, more than half (53 percent) of these districts cut instructional time by at least 75 minutes per week in social studies, and the same percentage (53 percent) cut time by at least 75 minutes per week in science.

Instructional Time in Elementary Schools: A Closer Look at Changes for Specific Subjects is available online at www.cep-dc.org.

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NSTA Board and Council Election Results

The 2008 NSTA election results are in:

President-Elect: Pat Shane (formerly Pat Bowers)
Multicultural/Equity Division: Vanessa Westbrook
Preservice Division: David A. Wiley
Research Division: Julie A. Luft
District I Director: Marilyn A. Richardson
District VI Director: Gregory D. MacDougall
District VII Director: Melissa Miller
District XII Director: Hedi Baxter
District XIII Director: Pamela Christol
District XVIII Director: Charles (Chuck) Cohen

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Teachers of Young Learners: Define Yourself as a Science Educator

Become the best teacher you can be!

Advance your career with specialized workshops developed for preK-2nd grade teachers at NSTA's National Conference on Science Education, March 27-30.

Join keynote Steve Spangler, science author, teacher, speaker, toy designer, and an Emmy award—winning television personality as he shares "secrets" you'll put to use in How to Become an Amazing Early Childhood Teacher. Create and take back activities designed to engage children in the exploration of science concepts at A Wee Science Sampler. Attend Picture Books, Digital Cameras, and Play—Teaching Science? to learn innovative strategies to successfully integrate technology into your PreK and elementary classrooms.

Visit www.nsta.org/boston for information on the wide variety of activities and career-building events offered to help you refine your skills.

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Experience the Boston Conference, Wherever You May Be

Whether you can't make it to Boston, or you're going but know you can't possibly see or hear everything, NSTA's online team will be covering the conference, bringing you news from sessions, workshops, and other events.

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Make the Most of the National Conference on Science Education by Attending a Symposium

Experience these half-day, high-quality, standards-based programs to

  • Increase content knowledge and ability to teach that content
  • Learn from scientists and education experts
  • Benefit from online follow-up: web seminars and discussion listserv
  • Earn one graduate professional development credit (additional fee)
  • Take advantage of the stipend available upon completion ($60 for selected programs)

Enhance your education through improved content knowledge and the expertise of NSTA partners, such as NASA, NOAA, FDA, NSF, and Sally Ride Science. Register today!

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

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And Don’t Forget…

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

Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off of the February featured book, Teacher Research: Stories of Learning and Growing.

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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