February 25th, 2011 Bob
(From the National Center for Science Education Evolution Weekly Update, 2.25.11) House Bill 1551, which would, if enacted, encourage teachers to present the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of ”controversial” topics such as evolution, was rejected by the House Common Education Committee on February 22, 2011. The Oklahoman (February 23, 2011) reported Fred Jordan (R-District 69) as observing that the bill seems to be “opening the door for teachers to kind of say whatever they want to say, whether it’s religious issues, creation, evolution … I really feel like we’re opening the door to where any and everything can come in.” Similarly, David Grow, a retired zoologist at the Oklahoma City Zoo, told the newspaper that if the bill were passed, “they will be introducing intelligent design ideas and criticisms of evolution based on unfactual claims about evolution. … This isn’t about science; this is anti-evolution.”
“The measure failed, 7-9, but it is not a final action,” The Oklahoman reported, explaining that its sponsor, Sally Kern (R-District 84), ”could ask the committee to bring it up again this session or next year.” Kern is a persistent sponsor of antievolution legislation in Oklahoma, having sponsored a similar bill (HB 2107) and a similar resolution (HCR 1043) in 2006; neither passed. In the meantime, the antievolution bill in the Oklahoma Senate, SB 554, is still with the Senate Education Committee. A hybrid of the “academic freedom” antievolution strategy and the flawed Texas state science standards, SB 554 was introduced by Josh Brecheen (R-District 6), who described it in the Durant Daily Democrat (December 24, 2010) as “requiring every publically funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution.”
For the story in The Oklahoman, visit:
For Brecheen’s column in the Durant Daily Democrat, visit:
And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events in Oklahoma, visit:
February 22nd, 2011 Bob
President Obama visited the eighth grade science class at Parkville Middle School and Center for Technology in Baltimore last week before unveiling his fiscal year 2012 budget proposal. Listed below are highlights for key STEM education programs at the Department of Education and National Science Foundation for FY2012.
Department of Education
The President proposes to eliminate the $180m Department of Education Math and Science Partnerships and instead fund a $206m Effective Teaching and Learning: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program, which would provide competitive grants to state education agencies and partners to improve the teaching and learning of STEM subjects, especially in high-need schools. Funds could be used to (1) provide professional development for STEM teachers; (2) implement high-quality curricula, assessments, and instructional materials; and (3) create or improve systems for linking student data on assessments with instructional supports, such as lesson plans and intervention strategies.
Priority for these funds would be given to states “that have adopted and are implementing a set of high-quality K–12 mathematics college- and career-ready standards (and, at the Department’s discretion, additional standards, such as science standards) that are common to a significant number of States.” Priority would also be given to states with a robust statewide partnership or network that brings together a variety of organizations with STEM expertise, such as museums, institutions of higher education, and community-based organizations…”
In addition to ELT: STEM, the President is proposing an investment of $100 million through the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation to support the Administration‘s goal of recruiting and preparing 100,000 effective and highly effective STEM teachers over the next 10 years.
A new Teacher Pathways program at the Department of Education would support investments in the preparation of new teachers, particularly STEM teachers. The program would support the creation and expansion of pathways into the teaching profession that increase the number of teachers serving in high need and low performing schools and in high need fields. The Department would reserve $80 million of the proposed $180m for this program and use it for STEM teachers.
The new Teacher Learning for the Future (TLF) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide R&D awards to further understanding of the preparation and continuing education of STEM teachers. TLF will be housed in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) and co-managed with the Division of Undergraduate Education. According to NSF, TLR “will improve our understanding of what makes a great STEM teacher, and how to best train, support, and retain highly effective STEM teachers.”
The TLF program will coordinate closely with the Department of Education’s $80m Teacher Pathways program to scale programs that recruit the nation’s top undergraduates into STEM teaching. The Administration is seeking $20 million for the Teacher Learning for the Future initiative; funding would be diverted from the Noyce Program ($10m) and the Math and Science Partnership Program ($10m).
STEM is also a high-priority activity in a number of other proposed Department of Education programs, including the Presidential Teaching Fellows (requested FY12 funding $185m) and Investing in Innovation grants (requested FY12 funding $300m) grants.
The Presidential Teaching Fellows program would provide formula grants to States that hold teacher preparation programs accountable for results, expand the field of effective providers, and make career milestones like certification and licensure rigorous and meaningful. The vast majority of funds would finance scholarships up to $10,000 to talented individuals for the costs associated with attending the final year of one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in their State, with a priority for low-income students. Fellows would have to be prepared to teach a high need subject, such as mathematics or science, and commit to teach at least 3 years in a high need school.
The continuation of the Investing in Innovation grant program will promote the development and expansion of innovative practices for which there is evidence of effectiveness. The priorities under consideration include funding for projects that propose to improve early learning outcomes; improve student attainment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects; and improve productivity by improving student learning or other educational outcomes while significantly increasing efficiency in the use of time, staff, money, or other resources.”
Other key requests for FY2012 Department of Education programs:
• $900 million for the Race to the Top program to create incentives for State and local reforms and innovations designed to lead to significant improvements in student achievement, high school graduation rates, and college enrollment rates, and to significant reductions in achievement gaps.
• $3.25 billion for the new Excellent Instructional Teams programs, which would help States and local educational agencies (LEAs) promote and enhance the education profession and improve teacher and principal effectiveness. Funds would also be used to foster teacher collaboration, to create instructional teams, and to recruit, prepare, support, and retain effective teachers, principals, and other school leaders, especially in high-need LEAs, schools, fields, and subjects. These programs would also help States and LEAs ensure the equitable distribution of qualified and effective teachers and effective principals. The new programs would replace an array of current activities that address teaching and school leadership issues: Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, Teacher Incentive Fund, Advanced Credentialing, Transition to Teaching, Teacher Quality Partnership, Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow, Teach for America, and School Leadership.
• $63 million for the Fund for the Improvement of Education: Programs of National Significance (FIE), to support nationally significant projects to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education. Of this amount requested, the Department would use $50 million to fund development of innovative educational products through a new Advanced Research Projects Agency – Education (ARPA-ED), which would pursue breakthrough development of educational technology and learning systems, support systems for educators, and education tools to improve student achievement and informal and out-of-school learning for individuals of all ages.
• $372 million for the new Expanding Educational Options program to start or expand high-performing autonomous schools, including charter schools.
For more information on the Dept. of Education budget go to http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget12/index.html
National Science Foundation
Proposed funding for FY2012 programs under the NSF Education & Human Resources would increase 4.4 percent, from $872.76m to $911.20m.
The funding request for FY2012 Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) was $264.09m, an increase of 1.6 percent. DRL programs are organized in three areas: Knowledge Building, which includes Research and Evaluation on Education in Science & Engineering (REESE, $54.72 for FY12) and Project and Program Evaluation (PPE, $22m for FY12); Lifelong Learning, which includes Informal Science Education (ISE, $68.14 for FY12); and Resources, Models and Tools, which includes the new Teacher Learning for the Future (TLF, $20m for FY12) and Discovery Research K-12 (DR-K12, $99.23m for FY12)
As mentioned earlier, the President is proposing the creation of a new $20m Teacher Learning for the Future (TLF) program at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Teacher Learning for the Future will provide R&D awards to further understanding of the preparation and continuing education of STEM teachers. TLF will be housed in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) and co-managed with the Division of Undergraduate Education. The TLF program will coordinate closely with the Department of Education’s $80m Teacher Pathways program to scale programs that recruit the nation’s top undergraduates into STEM teaching.
Funding for DR-K12 FY12 programs ($99.23 million), represents a 16 percent decrease from current funding. Priorities for the program continue to be creating and studying new generations of cyber-enabled learning materials, providing anywhere and anytime learning resources for teachers and students, advancing assessment of student STEM knowledge and skills, and understanding the issues and requirements for effective scale-up of successful approaches. “With DRL assuming lead responsibility for TLF, the DR-K12 program can be re-focused to emphasize resources, models, and tools for K-12 students. Aspects of DRK-12 that have focused on recruitment and development of teacher learning will be addressed in TLF.”
For FY 2012, the Administration is requesting $48.22m for the Math and Science Partnership program. As noted earlier, $10.0 million from the Math and Science Partnership (MSP) will be reallocated to establish the new TLF program. In FY 2012, MSP will enhance efforts to engage community colleges.
The $45.0 million requested for FY2012 Robert Noyce Scholarship Program (NOYCE) will continue to encourage talented STEM undergraduate and graduate students and professionals to become K-12 mathematics and science teachers through scholarships and stipends. In FY 2012, $10.0 million from NOYCE will be reallocated to establish the new Teacher Learning for the Future program, resulting in few NOYCE awards.
Both the MSPs and the Noyce programs are in the Division of Undergraduate Education division under Teacher Education. In addition to the new TLF program mentioned above for K-12 educators, the NSF is proposing a new $20m DUE program for undergraduate educators, Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-based Reforms (WIDER).WIDER will bring evidence-based undergraduate STEM education practices and curricular innovations to scale and support research on how to achieve widespread sustainable implementation of undergraduate instructional practices leading to improved student outcomes in STEM at major universities through demonstration models.
Two NSF STEM programs were eliminated in the FY2012 budget: the National STEM Education Distributed Learning (NSDL), which received $16.5 million in FY11, and the Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12), which was funded at $49 million in FY11.
For more information on the NSF budget go to http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=118642
February 19th, 2011 Bob
(Ed. note: This analysis is reprinted from the Oklahomans For Excellence in Science Education listserve. The OESE website is linked in the menu to the left. On the website you can subscribe to their listserv as well as join this organization of scientists, educators, religious leaders, and laypersons who are working to preserve the integrity of science and promote quality science education in this state.)
Sen. Josh Brecheen claimed in the Durant Daily Democrat that he was going to introduce a bill to place creationism into public schools. His argument was that ‘science is a religion’ and thus should allow other religious views in science courses. His words clearly show his religious intent. “I have introduced legislation requiring every publically funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution using the known science, even that which conflicts with Darwin’s religion.”
- This is a slick bill, in some ways, the first of its type we have seen, and is clearly unconstitutional.
- It actually requires for the teaching of evolution, including a list of topics to be included. This may lure a quick reader to conclude that this is not a bad bill. This is obfuscation. The bill is full of usual creation buzz words that clearly show the intent. Some parts are directly copied from the Discovery Institutes model ‘Academic Freedom Act.”
- Section C.1.: “..Know the definition of science and understand that it has limitations” Intended to disparage science.
- Section C.2.: ‘brings up ‘encourage critical thinking by the student.’ Creationists have used this phrase in other bills and they really mean it in the negative sense – criticism of evolution.
- Section 3.: Calls for students to use “scientific information extracted from current events, science journals, news reports and market materials.”
- Section D.1: “Analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.” This is just an opening for Intelligent Design’s arguments about complexity. “A cell is too complex to have arisen by evolution – God did it.
- Section D. 9.: Requires analysis of ‘transitional fossils’ something creationists claim do not exist, despite overwhelming fossil evidence, and often claim that supposed transitional forms are frauds.
- Section B.: The use of requiring the teaching of ‘strengths and weaknesses’ of evolution comes from the DI buzz word that really means to stress unfounded weaknesses of evolutionary facts and creationist teachers will know that.
- Section 10.G: “Students may be held accountable for knowing and understanding material taught in accordance with adopted standards and curricula [FINE], but they shall not be penalized in any way for subscribing a particular position of a scientific debate.” WOULD ALLOW RELIGIOUS ANSWERS TO COUNT ON TESTS AND IN PAPERS.
- Section 10.E. : “No teacher shall be reassigned, terminated, disciplined or otherwise discriminated against for providing scientific information being taught in accordance with adopted standards and curricula.’ This would protect an instructor teaching creationism, since the bill includes controversies in the definition of scientific information. For example, a teacher shows the creationist film ‘Icons of Evolution’ in class and when someone complains, simply claims that she/he is protected by this section.
- The bill requires the State Board of Education to adopt “standards and curricula” that echo the very flawed Texas teaching standards adopted in Texas two years ago by a creationist Board. Sections D1, D2, D9 and D 10 of Brecheen’s bill is directly copied from sections 7A, 7B, 8A and 8B of the Texas standards (TEKS). FIFTY FOUR scientific and educational organizations are opposed these Texas revisions.
This bill will damage science education and harm the attraction of scientists and science based businesses to the State. If the leadership of the Senate is concerned about raising the teaching standards in public schools and improving the state’s economy, they will not allow this bill to get a hearing.
SB 554: By Senator Josh Brecheen, “School curriculum – adopting standards and requiring relevant scientific information taught” has been assigned to the Senate Education Committee. The committee meets on Mondays and may take up the bill next week.
Senate Education Committee:
Chair: District 29 Senator John Ford, (405) 521-5634 firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair: District 35 Senator Gary Stanislawski (405) 521-5624 email@example.com
District 21 Senator Jim Halligan, (405) 521-5572 firstname.lastname@example.org
District 42 Senator Cliff Aldridge, (405) 521-5584 email@example.com
District 6 Senator Josh Brecheen,(405) 521-5586 firstname.lastname@example.org
District 34 Senator Rick Brinkley, (405) 521-5566 email@example.com
District 11 Senator Judy Eason McIntrye, (405) 521-5598 firstname.lastname@example.org
District 9 Senator Earl Garrison, (405) 521-5533 email@example.com
District 25 Senator Mike Mazzei, (405) 521-5675 firstname.lastname@example.org
District 13 Senator Susan Paddack, (405) 521-5541 email@example.com
District 14 Senator Frank Simpson, (405) 521-5607 firstname.lastname@example.org
District 16 Senator John Sparks, (405) 521-5553 email@example.com
February 17th, 2011 Bob
(this entry is based in part on information from NCSE) Representative Kern’s latest bill, the “Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act,” is an antievolution bill in the mold of the law passed in Louisiana in 2008. Under the guise of “academic freedom,” this bill would carve out a legal space for creationist teachers to bring non-scientific criticisms of evolution into the classroom. The full text of the bill can be found elsewhere on this website and at http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/2011-12bills/HB/HB1551_int.rtf
In short, here’s why HB 1551 is a bad bill:
–Manufactured controversy - The alleged “controversies” described by this bill do not exist; scientists do not debate the validity of evolution.
–Harmful to education - This will create classroom confusion for teachers, because under this bill students cannot be marked down for certain types of answers on tests.
–Unneeded - Teachers are already free to discuss real science in science classrooms.
In more detail, here’s what’s wrong with HB 1551:
1.”… the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy.”
Evolution is not a scientifically controversial topic. Although this bill calls for teachers to promote “the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories,” these alleged weaknesses do not come from scientists; they are creationist fabrications. The only “controversy” here is manufactured by antievolution forces. And it is worth emphasizing that part of the language of this bill comes from a Seattle-based organization with a history of promoting “intelligent design” creationism.
2.One provision of HB 1551 reads: “…no student in any public school or institution shall be penalized in any way because the student may subscribe to a particular position on scientific theories.”
If this were applied literally, this means that if students answered biology test questions with, “Evolution is evil—that’s my position on your stupid theory,” such students could not be marked wrong. This would create chaos in the classroom, with teachers juggling respect for religious views with grading inaccurate answers. Religion does not belong in the science classroom, and this provision drops religious “position[s] on scientific theories” right into teachers’ laps.
3.”The provisions of the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act shall only protect the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine.”
This assertion is flatly contradicted by decades of religiously-based attacks on evolution. It’s clear that the effect of the bill would be to encourage creationist teachers to present unscientifically warranted criticisms of evolution, and that’s enough to make it unconstitutional. Simply saying that a bill does not promote religion does not make it so.
4.”The intent of the provisions of the act is to create an environment in which both the teacher and students can openly and objectively discuss the facts and observations of science, and the assumptions that underlie their interpretation.”
The “assumptions” language invites creationist teachers to attack well-established science; a creationist teacher might use this provision to say (falsely) that an assumption of evolution is “atheistic materialism.” In this manner, creationist teachers could disparage evolution while maintaining that they were simply following the law.
5.HB 1551 is virtually identical, word-for-word, to a bill introduced in 2009, SB 320 (Brogdon). Discussions of SB 320 suggest it was religiously motivated; Sen. Randy Brogdon described his bill as a way to “combat the secular humanistic indoctrination,” such as 2009’s “yearlong one-sided celebration of Darwinism [at] OU.” SB 320 also proposed to solve a non-existent problem; a school superintendent in Brogdon’s district said, “I don’t think our teachers are confused at all, and I’m somewhat puzzled because Sen. Brogdon and I have never had any dialogue on the subject.”
During Representative Kern’s interview last Tuesday on KWTV Channel 9 she re-stated many of the same points found in her recent letter to the Tulsa World (see the Twitter feed on the left). She emphasized that the teaching of evolution was not banned in the bill and emphasized that evolution would be enhanced by the proposed legislation because teachers could now feel free to teach ALL the science about evolution (whatever that means).
OSTA has published a position statement on an bill introduced several years ago that is spooky in it’s similarity to HB1551. That year’s HB1001, not to be confused with this year’s very similar HB 1001, (and what’s up with these palindrome bill numbers anyway?), was prevented from becoming law in committee. Go to http://www.oklahomascienceteachersassociation.org/?p=2553 to read our statement then as you determine how to respond to 1551 now.
The House Common Education Committee consists of the following members:
Rep. Ann Coody, Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jabar Shumate, Vice Chair, email@example.com
Rep. Gus Blackwell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Ed Cannaday, email@example.com
Rep. Dennis Casey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Donnie Condit, email@example.com
Rep. Doug Cox, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Corey Holland, email@example.com
Rep. Fred Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Sally Kern (bill sponsor)
Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, email@example.com
Rep. Jason Nelson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jadine Nollan, email@example.com
Rep. Pat Ownbey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Dustin Roberts, email@example.com
Rep. Emily Virgin, firstname.lastname@example.org
February 17th, 2011 Bob
(from http://ncse.com/) In honor of Darwin Day 2011, the documentary Kansas vs. Darwin is freely available on-line for thirty days, from February 12 to March 14, 2011. Simply visit the film’s website and click on the yellow sunflower or visit the film’s Facebook page and click on the Events icon. Directed by Jeff Tamblyn, Kansas vs. Darwin covers the May 2005 hearings of proposed revisions to the Kansas state science standards.
The hearings, orchestrated by three antievolutionist members of the board, were widely condemned as a kangaroo court, intended only to provide political cover for the antievolution faction on the board to override the consensus of the committee of scientists, science educators, and citizens appointed to revise the science standards in order to undermine the treatment of evolution and allied topics in the standards.
National Center for Science Educations’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott praised the documentary as “a thoughtful and thorough introduction to a greatly misunderstood event: the 2005 Kansas Board of Education hearings on intelligent design and evolution. With remarkable footage of the hearings themselves along with candid interviews of the principals, the film presents both sides accurately and fairly, and with a healthy dollop of humor.”
February 17th, 2011 Bob
What Are the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching?
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) is the highest recognition that a kindergarten through 12th-grade mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Enacted by Congress in 1983, this program authorizes the President to bestow up to 108 awards each year. The National Science Foundation administers PAEMST on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Awards are given to mathematics and science teachers from each of the 50 states and four U.S. jurisdictions. The jurisdictions are Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; Department of Defense Schools; and the U.S. territories as a group (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The teachers are recognized for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science.
In addition to honoring individual achievement, the goal of the award program is to exemplify the highest standards of mathematics and science teaching. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.
Recipients of the award receive the following:
• A citation signed by the President of the United States.
• A paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.
• A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
In addition to recognizing outstanding teaching in mathematics or science, the program provides teachers with an opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation. This growing network of award-winning teachers serves as a vital resource for improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and keeping America globally competitive.
Who Is Eligible?
Awards alternate between elementary and secondary teachers, as shown below.
|Secondary Teachers (7-12)
|Elementary Teachers (K-6)
The following are eligibility criteria for nominees. They must:
• Teach mathematics or science at the 7-12th grade level (2011 deadline) or K-6th grade level (2012 deadline) in a public or private school.
• Hold at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
• Be a full-time employee of the school or school district as determined by state and district policies, and teach K-12 students at least 50% of the time.
• Have at least 5 years of full-time, K-12 mathematics or science teaching experience prior to the 2010-2011 academic school year (2011 deadline) or prior to the 2011-2012 academic school year (2012 deadline).
• Teach in one of the 50 states or the four U.S. jurisdictions. The jurisdictions are Washington, DC; Puerto Rico; Department of Defense Schools; and the U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
• Be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
Not have received the PAEMST award at the national level in any prior competition or category.
Anyone—principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public—may nominate exceptional Math or Science teachers teaching in grades 7-12 for the 2011 Award Year. Nominations for teachers teaching in grades K-6 will be accepted next year. Teachers may also register themselves to begin an application.
» Nominate a teacher » Register to begin an application
Once a teacher is nominated or registers, the teacher will receive an email invitation to continue the application process. The invitation will include a user name and password for accessing the online application system.
The application consists of three components: Administrative, Narrative, and Video. The components allow the applicant to provide evidence of deep content knowledge and exemplary pedagogical skills that result in improved student learning. Each application will be evaluated using the following five Dimensions of Outstanding Teaching:
• Mastery of Mathematics or Science Content Appropriate for the Grade Level Taught.
• Use of Instructional Methods and Strategies that are Appropriate for Students in the Class and that Support Student Learning.
• Effective Use of Student Assessments to Evaluate, Monitor, and Improve Student Learning.
• Reflective Practice and Life-long Learning to Improve Teaching and Student Learning.
• Leadership in Education Outside the Classroom.
For complete details, please review the 2010–2011 Application Packet (Adobe PDF). If needed, download a free copy of Acrobat Reader for PDF files.
» Login to the application system.
All applications will be subjected to the following review process:
• At the State level, coordinators convene local selection committees, which include prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science educators, and past awardees. These committees select up to three finalists from each category (mathematics or science) for recognition at the State level. To ensure consistency across the country, all State selection committees will score their applications using the review criteria and scoring information presented in the 2010–2011 Application Packet.
• At the national level, NSF convenes a national selection committee composed of prominent mathematicians, scientists, mathematics/science educators, and past awardees that reviews the applications of the state finalists and recommends to NSF up to one finalist in mathematics and up to one finalist in science from each state or jurisdiction. The Director of NSF then submits the recommendations to the President of the United States. All finalists will be subjected to an FBI background check.
PAEMST winners are honored the year following the receipt of the application.
Each awardee receives a citation signed by the President of the United States, a $10,000 award from NSF, and gifts from a broad range of donors. Awardees and their guests are honored during events that take place in Washington, DC. These events include an award ceremony, celebratory receptions, professional development programs, and discussions with policy-makers on how to improve mathematics and science education.
» Learn more about the event, and current awardees, on the Recognition Program Web site.
February 15th, 2011 Bob
EXPLORE YOUR DREAM JOB.
NASA wants you to become the engineers, scientists, researchers and innovators of tomorrow. The WISH project offers a one-of-a-kind experience for female high school students like you to jump start your future and explore the possibilities of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related major or career.
FIND YOUR DREAM JOB.
WISH wants female high school juniors from across the country to participate in our pilot project! Your adventure starts in Fall 2011 with an online community and culminates with a summer experience at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Summer 2011. Applicants need to be:
- U.S. citizens
- Female high school juniors
- Interested and excited about STEM
- Committed to a one-year relationship with JSC; and
- Have access to the Internet and email (at home, school or public library)
CREATE YOUR DREAM JOB.
- Participate in an online community including chat sessions with subject matter experts
- Complete online lessons covering past, present and future space exploration
- Research about leading female STEM professionals
- Attend the summer experience with selection based on application, participation in online activities and research, at no cost to you
THE SUMMER EXPERIENCE.
- Collaborate with girls from across the country on a unique design project during the summer experience at JSC
- Work with NASA JSC engineers and co-ops/interns on the project
- Present your mission to NASA personnel and community leaders
START YOUR DREAM JOB HERE.
To participate in this NASA experience, email JSC-NHAS@mail.nasa.gov, or visit http://www.nasa.gov/education/wish
February 11th, 2011 Bob
WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 9, 2011)- U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) announced today the introduction of H. Res. 81, calling for the designation of Feb. 12, 2011, as Darwin Day in order to recognize the work of Charles Darwin and the importance of science in the advancement of humanity.
“Darwin’s birthday is a good time for us to reflect on the important role of science in our society,” Stark said. “It is also a time to redouble our efforts to ensure that children are being taught scientific facts, not religious dogma, and to fight back against those who seek to undermine the science of climate change for political ends.”
The resolution recognizes the importance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection, which is further supported by the modern understanding of genetics. The advancement of science and the academic integrity of the nation’s education system are singled out in the resolution as needing protection from those who are unconcerned with the adverse impacts of climate change and who are intent on the teaching of creationism, respectively.
HRES 81 IH
H. RES. 81
Expressing support for designation of February 12, 2011, as Darwin Day and recognizing the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 9, 2011
Mr. STARK submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Expressing support for designation of February 12, 2011, as Darwin Day and recognizing the importance of science in the betterment of humanity.
Whereas Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection, together with the monumental amount of scientific evidence he compiled to support it, provides humanity with a logical and intellectually compelling explanation for the diversity of life on Earth;
Whereas the validity of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is further strongly supported by the modern understanding of the science of genetics;
Whereas it has been the human curiosity and ingenuity exemplified by Darwin that has promoted new scientific discoveries that have helped humanity solve many problems and improve living conditions;
Whereas the advancement of science must be protected from those unconcerned with the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change;
Whereas the teaching of creationism in some public schools compromises the scientific and academic integrity of the United States’ education systems;
Whereas Charles Darwin is a worthy symbol of scientific advancement on which to focus and around which to build a global celebration of science and humanity intended to promote a common bond among all of Earth’s peoples; and
Whereas, February 12, 2011, is the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 1809 and would be an appropriate date to designate as Darwin Day: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) supports the designation of Darwin Day; and
(2) recognizes Charles Darwin as a worthy symbol on which to celebrate the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge.
February 11th, 2011 Bob
Oklahoma State University is offering a summer research experience for teachers (RET) which will provide Oklahoma middleschool teachers (6th – 9th grades) with the opportunity to partner with Oklahoma State University to perform research in engineering and to develop curriculum units that will enhance middle school students’ research abilities and knowledge of engineering. The program is a year-long commitment, consisting of professional development workshops, laboratory research, and curriculum development. The middle school teachers who graduate from the TERMS program will leave with an understanding of the research process and experience in implementing inquiry-based learning around the theme of engineered materials and structures. Teachers will develop effective techniques for translating research experiences into simple and affordable experiments designed to engage students in the middle grades and will begin to build long-term, sustainable relationships with Oklahoma State University faculty and other middle school teachers across Oklahoma. for more information go to: http://ret.okstate.edu
Get the application here.
Get a promotional flier here.
February 11th, 2011 Bob
(From NCSE’s Evolution Education Update, February 11, 2011)
Writing in The Hechinger Report (February 7, 2011), Jennifer Oldham addresses “The evolution of teaching evolution,” explaining that, even in the face of persistent challenges and obstacles, “scientists and teachers are pushing to make evolution the backbone of biology lesson-plans from kindergarten through high school.” Alluding to Michael B. Berkman and Eric Plutzer’s recent column, she wrote, “They have their work cut out for them. A recent article in Science found that almost three out of four high school students will get no schooling in evolutionary biology, or a version ‘fraught with misinformation.’”
Louise Mead — formerly Education Project Director at NCSE, now Education Director at the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action — explained, “there’s been a realization that we have to address the misconceptions. There has been a renewed focus on how we teach evolution and renewed outreach.” Cited were the University of California Museum of Paleontology’s Understanding Evolution website, the BioKIDS curriculum developed at the University of Michigan, and the Evolution Readiness curriculum developed by the Concord Consortium.
The hope is that such resources will give teachers the knowledge they need to have confidence in teaching evolution, Judy Scotchmoor of UCMP explained. Jeremy Mohn, a biology teacher in Kansas who teaches evolution, also urged the necessity of addressing the nonscientific concerns of students in presenting evolution, observing, “You don’t have people in a chemistry classroom who have been raised to believe that the periodic table comes from the devil and that if they believe in it they are going to go to hell.”
For Oldham’s article, visit:http://hechingerreport.org/content/the-evolution-of-teaching-evolution_5146/
For NCSE’s coverage of the Berkman and Plutzer column, visit:http://ncse.com/news/2011/01/too-many-teachers-ignore-evolution-006454
For the cited resources, visit:http://evolution.berkeley.edu/http://www.biokids.umich.edu/http://www.concord.org/projects/evolution-readiness