A couple of bills that take very different approaches to science, technology, engineering, and math ("STEM") education topics are in play on Capitol Hill. Here's a synopsis of both: —Yesterday, a sub-panel of the House Committee on Science and Technology approved a bill that seeks to improve coordination for science and math education programs across the federal government. Sponsored by Rep. Bart Gordon, a Tennessee Democrat who chairs the House science committee, HR 1709 would establish a White House committee with the responsibility of making various STEM programs work together. The committee would be housed in the White House's National...


I learned by reading the Core Knowledge Blog this morning that YouTube, which is owned by Google, has started an effort to put lectures by college professors online. It's called YouTube EDU. Robert Pondiscio suggests that Google should create something similar for K-12 teachers. Update: By the way, when you click on the link for Core Knowledge Blog above, you'll get a scary message saying you've reached an "attack site." You can click on "ignore this warning" and move on to the site. I've done that and my computer hasn't blown up or anything. Pondescio told me in an e-mail ...


Earth Day, an occasion promoted by environmental organizations and advocates to raise awareness of conservation issues, is April 22. It's an event that dates back to 1970. Teachers sometimes organize lessons and activities in the weeks leading up to that day on environmental themes. That doesn't mean they have to create lessons from any particular political or ideological perspective; a good science lesson can account for the environmental and economic complexities of issues such as climate change, for instance, renewable energy, and land conservation. Teachers looking for ideas for lessons have plenty of resources. Here are a few on the ...


It's rare to hear of a state that is decreasing its standardized testing in a particular subject. But that's exactly what Michigan is doing, according to an Associated Press article published today. Starting in the fall of 2010, instead of giving a short writing test to all students in grades 3 to 8, the state will give a longer and more comprehensive writing test only to students in grades 4 and 7....


Teachers of science, like teachers of other subjects, often wonder how much structure and guidance they need to provide students. A pair of researchers wondered the same thing. Robert Tai and Philip Sadler, in a new study, find that students with relatively weak mathematics skills who were given self-led, less-structured science instruction in high school were at a disadvantage in college biology and chemistry classes, compared with similarly skilled peers who had come from more-structured classes. They found that students from the more free-form high school classes received lower grades in their college courses than students who had been given ...


I've received more detail on the precise wording of changes made to the Texas science standards, which were approved by the state board of education yesterday. Since quite a few Ed Week readers are likely to have followed this debate closely, I'm providing an update on where things stand. The board approved new science standards yesterday by a 13-2 vote. As previously reported, its members voted to strip out language saying that students should be taught the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution. That wording was opposed by many scientists, who said it denigrated evolutionary theory. There's little doubt scientists are ...


Perhaps an unnecessarily provocative title, I know. But you can bet this ongoing discussion about how to revise the British national primary school curriculum is going to be raising hackles among people from lots of subject-matter groups. I've linked to my colleague Kathleen Manzo's item, on her Digital Education blog, about that discussion, as reported in The Guardian, a British newspaper. It appears that the crux of the matter is that British schools would be given more flexibility over which historical periods to cover. The idea is to emphasize a chronological approach to history, and avoid duplication with the secondary ...


The Texas board of education approved final science standards this afternoon, which say that students will no longer have to be exposed to the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution. The decision to remove that language was strongly supported by scientists, who said it undermined the teaching of the core biologic theory. The board approved the overall document by a 13-2 vote. Yet the 15-member board of education also approved a host of amendments that seem likely to draw objections from scientists, based on the audio discussion of the meeting that I heard. I listened to the meeting over the Internet, ...


The theory of evolution's treatment in the Texas science standards is in a state of flux. The board of education took a preliminary vote yesterday. They're meeting again right now. You can listen to a live audio of their discussion on this site. Look under "Agency News," and "listen live." You can follow it on Twitter here. Here's where things stand, as of this morning: The Texas board of education has tentatively dropped language from the state science standards that says students should learn about the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, in a move that pleased scientists. Yet the board, ...


I'm reading the Common Core's take on a meeting earlier this week hosted by the National Education Association about the approach to learning promoted by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Our reporter who inquired about attending the meeting, Stephen Sawchuk, was told he wasn't invited. Lynne Munson from Common Core reports that attendees represented education associations and the meeting had the agenda of "how quickly more students can get signed on" to using 21st century skills. She expresses her organization's concern that the teaching of skills may not be integrated with content knowledge. She says that none of the ...


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