Feds ease testing rules for storm-ravaged schools

The Washington Post reports that, under pressure from hurricane-stressed states, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings announced yesterday that the agency will for one year relax academic accountability standards under the administration’s signature education law, allowing schools affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita to recover without facing penalties for poor annual assessments. To qualify, schools would have to show that displaced students hurt test scores.

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ID critic agrees: Teach the controversy

In this opinion piece at Inside Higher Ed, Gerald Graf, a professor of English and education at the University of Illinois at Chicago who calls himself a critic of the intelligent-design (ID) movement in schools, nevertheless explains why he’s come to believe that students ought to be exposed to the full debate of ID vs. evolution.

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Wyoming offers access to online AP courses

Students throughout Wyoming soon will have access to more advanced high school classes, the Casper Star-Tribune reports. A new cooperative effort between the Wyoming E-Academy of Virtual Learning and Apex Learning will offer students from any school district in the state access to a slough of online Advanced Placement courses. Studies indicate that participation in such courses can improve students’ chances of success in college. However, about 43 percent of U.S. high schools do not offer AP courses, according to The College Board, which owns rights to AP. Many of those are rural schools, where there often are too few students or a shortage of teachers to provide the rigorous curriculum.

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Up to $50,000 for astronomy and space science projects

The Initiative to Develop Education through Astronomy and Space Science (IDEAS) Grant Program, administered by the Space Telescope Science Institute, is an independent education and public outreach grant program that does not have direct attachment to a science research program. The spirit of IDEAS is to provide start-up funding to explore innovative, creative ways to integrate astronomy and space science into United States education and public outreach venues through partnerships between astronomers or space scientists and education professionals. Proposals must reflect an astronomy/space science focus, as well as an innovative approach.

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$50,000 in computers and accessories for “popular schools”

Urge your school’s stakeholders to show support for your school and its technology initiatives by voting in the Mobile Computer Lab Contest. The five schools with the most votes on the FutureReady site each will win a mobile computer lab provided by Dell, Microsoft, and Intel. Each prize includes Dell notebook computers, a mobile cart, wireless access point, and a Dell laser printer. Your extended school community also can vote on the site.

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$225,000 for ideas about technologys impact on learning

Teachers, administrators, and other school employees are encouraged to submit their ideas for how technology can impact teacher lesson plans and educational goals. Submitting their ideas online can earn school employees a chance to win an Intelligent Classroom provided by Dell and Microsoft.

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$3,000 to improve mathematics competence

This grant supports professional development to improve competence in the teaching of mathematics for one or more full-time classroom teachers. Grants worth a maximum of $3,000 will be awarded to person(s) currently teaching at the K-5 level. Proposals should outline the professional development plan and address how the proposed project will improve the teacher(s)’ competence and affect students’ learning. Any acquisition of equipment must support the proposed plan but not be the primary focus of the grant. Recipients must have three or more years of teaching experience in grades K-5. Entries will be judged on the following criteria: clarity of the professional development plan, how it will enhance the applicant(s)’ mathematical knowledge, and its anticipated impact on students’ learning.

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$2,000 to encourage technology education programs

The purpose of this grant program is to recognize and encourage the integration of a high-quality technology education program within the school curriculum. Criteria include evidence of an effective, high-quality technology education program; documented success in the integration of technology education with other academic subjects; and plans for professional development via the anticipated grant.

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$1,000 to encourage tech-ed teachers professional development

The Foundation for Technology Education announces a grant made available through the generosity of Dr. William David Greer, Jr. Its purpose is to encourage the participation of classroom teachers and supervisors in technology education professional development. The successful applicant will receive a check in the amount of $1,000 to offset the expenses of attending an International Technology Education Association conference.

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