Op/Ed: Getting our students STEM ready

It is a universal law of nature that in order for something to be born, something must die, according to U.S. News & World Report. This evolving cycle applies to all things, including the way we teach our children. The US education system is undergoing an exciting “rebirth” as the introduction of new technology, neuroscience-based teaching and age-appropriate forms of “hands-on” learning emerge as ways to engage students, inspire more creativity and involve students in the process of learning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Fostering STEM skills in America’s youth is a hot topic and of keen interest among academia, government, non profits and corporations as we bridge the knowledge gap, making our future workforce more competitive and securing the promise of our global competitiveness. Realizing the importance the goal of exciting young people about the link between STEM studies and a great career, companies like AT&T (through the AT&T Foundation) have given more than $97 million to support STEM initiatives since 1987…

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Intel Foundation: Changing attitudes is key in STEM education

Several studies have reported that during the next 10 years, there will be millions of open jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields – also known as STEM – and not enough educated workers to fill those positions, according to U.S. News & World Report. President Barack Obama has said on several occasions that the nation’s educational system needs to make a greater push to train students to have the necessary skills to pursue careers in these fields. But as many states are facing severe budget cuts and are struggling to adjust to new educational standards, such as the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, more companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations are partnering with schools and communities to provide more opportunities for students…

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Online courses can help high school students cut college costs

Enrolling in an online college course can have a variety of benefits for high school students, U.S. News reports. For some students, they provide the opportunity to earn college credit without having to commute to campus. Online courses can also expose students to a wide range of subjects not available at their high school. But the courses aren’t for everyone, experts say…

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U.S. News best high schools for science and tech, 2013

It’s not every day that a politician, a beauty queen and a hip hop star champion the same cause, but don’t tell that to President Barack Obama, reigning Miss America Mallory Hagan and Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am, reports U.S. News & World Report. All three are using their fame to promote STEM education, and it’s not hard to understand why. Training in science, technology, engineering and math can place students in the pipeline for in-demand career fields such as software development, biomedicine and aerospace engineering. Early exposure to those subjects is key to preparing high school graduates to eventually fill the millions of jobs waiting for technically skilled workers. The U.S. News 2013 Best High Schools for STEM rankings, released today, identify public high schools excelling at that task…

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High school scientists innovate new medical therapies

Heart attack therapies can leave patients with an elevated risk of future heart failure, but four California high school students have a solution, reports U.S. News & World Report. Natalie Ng, Alexander Powers and brothers Nithin and Nikhil Buduma devised a new treatment that uses a microscopic DNA “box” to deliver a restorative protein directly to the damaged heart. The group’s combined efforts – over weekends and school breaks – resulted in a prototype that netted first prize in 10th-12th grade division of this year’s ExploraVision national science competition. First- and second-place winners from each division were honored at an awards banquet in Washington, D.C. over the weekend. Members of the first-place teams each win a savings bond worth $10,000 at maturity…

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Ways teachers can bring 21st Century skills into high schools

Lessons taught in high schools often skimp on 21st century skills such as collaboration and real-world problem solving, according to a report released last week by Gallup, says U.S. News. The research organization worked in conjunction with Microsoft Partners in Learning and the Pearson Foundation to interview 1,014 people ages 18-35 with varying levels of education, asking them to recall their last year of school. Only 22 percent of students with a high school education or less say teachers prompted them to apply what they learned to a real-world problem, according to the report. Additionally, roughly one-third reported learning about other cultures and teaming up with classmates on projects. While technology use was common among these students, only 3 percent said they used video conferencing, discussion boards or collaborative tools such as Skype

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Education Schools Innovate to Supply STEM Teachers

Biologist Kaleigh LaRiche spent most of her first two years after college working in wildlife education at the Akron, Ohio, zoo. Today, she’s a first-year science teacher in a Cleveland middle school, U.S. News reports. LaRiche, who earns her master’s in education from the University of Akron this spring, thanks the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship for her confidence in the classroom. The two-year master’s program recruits accomplished science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) college graduates, as well as career changers like LaRiche, and puts them through their paces in preparation to work in high-need schools. It is one of several model programs leading the charge to fulfill President Barack Obama’s call for 100,000 highly qualified STEM teachers over the next decade, and to get them ready for the much-anticipated new K-12 math and science standards. With only 26 percent of U.S. 12th graders now deemed proficient in math, most states have adopted more rigorous new Common Core Standards for what kids should master at each level…

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Student must-haves for scholarship success

What materials should high school students focus on for scholarship success? How do most scholarship organizations get to know their applicants? Asks U.S. News. Scholarship organizations have the tough job of deciding whom to bestow financial aid upon. NerdScholar recently did a Scholarship Study in which 5,865 verified private scholarships were analyzed. With this data, NerdScholar looked into what materials scholarship organizations requested the most:

1. Transcript. The most requested item is the transcript. More than anything, since these scholarships are meant to make education more affordable, most scholarship organizations want to verify their candidate is a good student…

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Politicians, business leaders ask high schoolers to consider community college

Four-year colleges are often seen as the natural next step for high school students, but business leaders and politicians want teens to consider another option: community college, U.S. News reports. An associate degree from a two-year technical program may be the quickest route for recent high school graduates to enter a stable, lucrative career field. It may also be the only way to keep up with workforce demands, said President Obama.

“Jobs requiring at least an associate degree are projected to grow twice as fast as jobs requiring no college experience,” the president said at a 2010 summit of community college leaders. “We will not fill those jobs–or keep those jobs on our shores–without the training offered by community colleges.”

An estimated 600,000 jobs, largely in manufacturing, currently sit unfilled because of a lack of qualified workers, Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, noted last week in written testimony to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce……Read More

Decline in endowments may affect best colleges rankings

The value of college endowments, which had rebounded following the recession, declined slightly despite a recovering stock market, U.S. News reports. This finding comes from the newly released 2012 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments, produced by the National Association of College and University Business Officers. It turns out that 2012 was a sub-par year for the performance of college endowments. According to the study, the endowments of the 831 institutions surveyed had an average decline of 0.3 percent in the year ending June 30, 2012. This is down sharply from the previous year’s average gain of 19.2 percent and well below 2010’s gain of 11.9 percent, but better than the 18.7 percent decline for endowments that occurred during the recession in 2009. In terms of the methodology used to calculate the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, the absolute size and annual performance of a college’s endowment are not direct factors in the rankings…

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