Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have required discussions of climate change to be added to the state's textbooks and curriculum, calling the measure an "overly prescriptive" approach. The Republican governor is no skeptic when it comes to global warming. He speaks often of the dangers of climate change on his state and the country, and he has won praise from environmental advocates for leading a high-profile fight to attempt to get the federal government to allow California to set its own, more stringent auto-emissions standards. The climate-change curriculum legislation was sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian, a ...


Jim Rubillo has announced that he is resigning as executive director of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics after seven years in that position. NCTM, headquartered in Reston, Va., has had a strong influence on math instruction in the nation's classrooms, dating back decades. During Rubillo's tenure, NCTM released "Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8: A Quest for Coherence" and took an active role in attempting to shape policy at many levels. The organization's president, Hank Kepner, recently informed the board and staff of the 100,000-member organization of Mr. Rubillo's decision. Kepner credited Rubillo for his ...


For years, arts education advocates have been pushing for restoring programs in schools hampered by budgets and curriculum plans that tend to marginalize those subjects. So when D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee promised art, music, and PE teachers in every school, she won widespread praise from those advocates, as well as from teachers and parents. But a study released by a consortium of D.C. organizations this week claims that the plan—which is based on a new funding formula—would create budget disparities between the city's disadvantaged schools and better-off ones, such as "teacher shortages, large class-sizes,...


Charles Smith, the executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, has announced that he's stepping down from that post to take a position with the Washington office of ACT. The governing board, which sets policy for the influential National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, has an important role in education policy, though one that, it's safe to say, is probably not well understood by the public at large. Smith, 69, says he has sought to change that during his tenure on the board. He took the position of executive director in 2003, not long after the passage of ...


Math and science "academies" have grown more popular around the country in recent years. But the movement apparently has stalled in Gary, Ind., as Ball State University has withdrawn its sponsorship of a new school there. The school was scheduled to open on Aug. 20 in the city the Jackson Five made famous. But according to the Associated Press, university officials found that the school had not secured an adequate building, enrolled students, or hired teachers. The school was to be known as the Indiana Math and Science Academy, a charter school. A university official is quoted as saying it ...


This is my second and last entry blog based on a recent interview with Francis M. "Skip" Fennell, who completed his two-year run as president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, earlier this year. The first entry focused mostly on Fennell's work in crafting and promoting "Curriculum Focal Points,". But Fennell also had another prominent task while serving as NCTM president: He was named to a seat on the National Math Advisory Panel, a White House-created group tasked with identifying the best ways to prepare kids to take and succeed in algebra. Pretty much from the get-go, the ...


The Education Commission of the States has launched a pair of online resources, which seek to provide a nationwide view of state efforts in science, math, and career and technical education (the subject formerly known as vocational education). The first resource, at http://www.ecs.org/hsdb-stem, provides a 50-state database on state programs and efforts in STEM education. These include state policies in the recruitment of science and math teachers, after-school programs in those subjects, graduation requirements, state mentoring and internship programs, and so on. The second online site is a database on career and technical education, at http://www.ecs.org/hsdb-cte....


Earlier this year, Francis M. "Skip" Fennell's two-year term as president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics officially ended. Debates over the most effective strategies for teaching math—sometimes called the "math wars"—have been playing out for years in school districts around the country. And it's safe to say that Fennell has had a unique vantage point in observing, and to some degree, attempting to mediate those disputes. In 2006, NCTM released "Curriculum Focal Points." The document that seeks to spell out the core math skills students need in grades pre-K-8 drew praise from combatants on various...


What would happen if instead of silencing or confiscating cell phones in the classroom, teachers encouraged students to use them? Hall Davidson, the director of the Discovery Educator Network, wants teachers to realize the potential power cell phones hold for enlivening lessons and engaging students in the content they are learning. Most cell phones, Davidson points out, now have a number of technological features that schools used to pay thousands of dollars for as separate devices—camera, video recorder, GPS, text messaging, music player—and many students, even in low-income areas, own one. At a weeklong workshop for a corps of...


A couple years ago, a bunch of leading business organizations set an ambitious goal: "Double the number of U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduates with bachelor's degrees by 2015." But as those leaders frankly acknowledged this week, the nation has barely moved toward hitting that mark so far. The United States produced 223,255 such grads in 2005, and that number had only risen to 225,660 by 2007, reported the members of Tapping America's Potential, the business coalition. That's light years removed from their goal of reaching 400,000 by 2015. Several members of TAP, as they ...


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