This year’s State of the Union address focused on topics including energy, education, climate change, and gun violence. The National Academies Press provides resources directly related to these issues. Below, we’ve annotated the complete text of the President’s State of the Union speech with relevant reports from the National Academies that provide authoritative, independent guidance on these issues.
The results are in for our first Next Generation Science Standards give-away. Congratulations to our grand prize winner: Kirsten P.! She will receive the Next Generation Science Standards Teacher Prize Pack.
Congratulations as well to our four additional winners, who will each receive their own copy of Next Generation Science Standards:
- Roberta H.
- Camilo S.
- Glenda D. F.
- Tonalee F.
If you didn’t win this time, don’t worry. There will be more opportunities to win a Teacher Prize Pack or a print copy of Next Generation Science Standards.
Whether your state has already adopted the Next Generation Science Standards or is still waiting in line, you need to be prepared for the changes ahead. And we’re offering the chance to win a prize pack with all the resources you’ll need to implement the NGSS.
The first step is simple. Using the widget at the bottom of this post, tell us what inspired you to get involved in science education and you’ll instantly have three entries in the bag. You can earn extra entries by liking us on Facebook, tweeting, following our Pinterest boards, and more. The more you do, the better your chance of winning one of our five prizes.
One grand prize winner will receive the Next Generation Science Standards Teacher Prize Pack:
- The print version of Next Generation Science Standards
- A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas
- Ready, Set, Science!
- A Disappearing Dinosaur Mug
- Three finger puppets: Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and George Washington Carver
- All included in a limited-edition 150th Anniversary National Academy of Sciences tote bag!
Plus, four more winners will receive their own copy of Next Generation Science Standards.
You only have two weeks to improve your chances. At midnight, October 19, the giveaway will end and we’ll randomly select the winners.
Don’t get left behind, start earning entries now. And good luck!
The leading U.S. science and engineering organizations developed a list of 14 science policy questions facing the U.S. in 2012. You can read these questions–and the Presidential candidates’ answers–at ScienceDebate.org.
For each of the Science Debate 2012 questions, we’re going to provide you a selection of the authoritative and unbiased resources of the National Academies to help inform your response to the candidates’ answers. Today, we’re looking at this ScienceDebate question on Education:
Increasingly, the global economy is driven by science, technology, engineering and math, but a recent comparison of 15-year-olds in 65 countries found that average science scores among U.S. students ranked 23rd, while average U.S. math scores ranked 31st. In your view, why have American students fallen behind over the last three decades, and what role should the federal government play to better prepare students of all ages for the science and technology-driven global economy?
How would you respond? Download these reports for free at NAP.edu or purchase a print copy to read.
To celebrate National Education Week, we created a list of recommended books and resources to teach climate change. Check out these top titles from NAP, climate change videos, and information from the Division on Earth and Life Studies. Continue reading
A new report from the Council on Foreign Relations reaffirms the importance of science education for the future of our nation. The National Academy of Sciences has developed resources to inspire future scientists and engineers, and expand the public’s interest in science in general . All of this media is free and is intended to be shared.
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has just released a series of videos on engineeringchallenges.org aimed at sparking interest in engineering among young people. Focused on the themes of NAE’s Grand Challenges for Engineering, they feature NAE members such as Disney/Pixar’s Ed Catmull, Caltech’s Frances Arnold, and Google’s Vince Cerf.
The National Academies YouTube channel carries a number of short videos that explain some of the most pressing challenges in science. From controlling zoonotic diseases to understanding the challenges of climate change, these films all feature scientists explaining the issues and their work.
The National Academy of Engineering’s Changing the Conversation and Engineer Girl websites were developed to promote positive engineering messaging among engineers and to inspire both boys and girls to become engineers.
The Web site iWASwondering.org is a project of the National Academy of Sciences intended to showcase the accomplishments of contemporary women in science and to highlight for young people the varied and intriguing careers of some of today’s most prominent scientists.
The National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council produced a number of reports about the need to inspire and prepare students for careers in science, and the need to improve science education. These books are all free to download.
Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments240 pages | Paperback | Price: $22.45Practitioners in informal science settings–museums, after-school programs, science and technology centers, media enterprises, libraries, aquariums, zoos, and botanical gardens–are interested in finding out what learning looks like, how to measure it, and… [more]
Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering164 pages | Paperback | Price: $31.45Can the United States continue to lead the world in innovation? The answer may hinge in part on how well the public understands engineering, a key component of the ‘innovation engine’. A related concern is how to encourage young people–particularly girls and… [more]
A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas400 pages | Paperback | Price: $35.95
Science, engineering, and technology permeate nearly every facet of modern life and hold the key to solving many of humanity’s most pressing current and future challenges. The United States’ position… [more]
Report of a Workshop on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Defense Industrial Base78 pages | Paperback | Price: $31.50Report of a Workshop on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Defense Industrial Base is the summary of a workshop held August 11, 2011, as part of an 18-month study of… [more]
Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads286 pages | Paperback | Price: $36.00In order for the United States to maintain the global leadership and competitiveness in science and technology that are critical to achieving national goals, we must invest in research, encourage innovation, and grow a strong and talented science and… [more]
Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics44 pages | Paperback | Price: $8.95Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are cultural achievements that reflect our humanity, power our economy, and constitute fundamental aspects of our lives as citizens, consumers, parents, and members of the workforce. Providing all… [more]
Ready, Set, SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms220 pages | Paperback | Price: $20.65What types of instructional experiences help K-8 students learn science with understanding? What do science educators, teachers, teacher leaders, science specialists, professional development staff, curriculum designers, and school administrators need to know… [more]
Got educators on your holiday shopping list? Take five and check out our top gift ideas. NAP books and merchandise make thoughtful gifts for thinking people.
The U.S. labor market is projected to grow faster in science and engineering than in any other sector in the coming years. Minorities are the fastest growing groups of the population but have the least amount of representation in these fields. This is especially true of underrepresented minorities—including African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans— who comprised just over 9 percent of the overall total of minority college-educated Americans in science and engineering occupations in 2006. This number would need to triple to match the share of minorities in the U.S. population. Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads explores the role of diversity in the science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) workforce and its value in keeping America innovative and competitive. In the words of Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, chairman of the committee that authored this new report:
Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation highlights the challenges America faces in ensuring that all students, especially minorities, receive high-quality math and science education, pre-K through graduate education. The report also gives guidance to policy-makers on closing the achievement gap, reducing attrition for undergraduate STEM majors, and increasing financial and academic support. To remain globally competitive, the nation will need to increase substantially the number of Americans from diverse backgrounds who excel in STEM fields at all levels.
Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation builds on the landmark 2007 title, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. A 2010 follow-up to that publication, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5, repeats and reinforces the message of the original book for improvement and increased diversity in science education in order to strengthen our science and technology workforce for a globally competitive America.
These reports and others from the National Research Council can inform decision-making and discussion about STEM education, from kindergarten through graduate school.
On the National Assessment of Educational Progress 2009 Science Report Card released last Tuesday, the United States received an overall grade of “needs improvement.” The test, which measures science proficiency, was administered to 4th, 8th, and 12th graders and underscores one of the major focal points of President Obama’s State of the Union address: the need to improve science education in the United States. Four in ten 12th grade students did not perform even at a basic level of science understanding, and only about a fifth were judged to be proficient in science, with just 1% performing at an advanced level. Furthermore, there is still a strong gap in the achievement of students based on ethnicity, educational attainment of parents and caregivers, and family income. The National Research Council’s Board on Science Education has produced a number of reports that discuss research and provide practical guidance to improve science education. We asked Tom Keller, Senior Program Officer with the board, for his thoughts.
“There has not been such momentum in science education in this country since the 1960s, and in contrast to the times when the nation responded to the Sputnik shock, we now know much more about effective science learning and teaching. Foundational work has been and is underway in the National Academies’ Board on Science Education (BOSE) that summarizes the enormous progress we have made through learning and education research over the last 20 years. BOSE published two seminal studies and their derivative products in two major areas of science learning: K-8 in schools, and the whole area of out-of-school or informal science learning. The report on learning science in K-8 classrooms, Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8, and the associated practitioner volume Ready, Set SCIENCE!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms have become important resources for classroom-based science teaching. The two reports on learning science in informal environments, Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits, and its practitioner volume Surrounded by Science: Learning Science in Informal Environments are beginning to influence how museums, science centers, zoos and aquariums, and other institutions of informal learning think about their products for their public. Taking Science to School cites the research evidence and builds the case for the teaching and learning of more rigorous content than has been the usual. And proficiency has been defined as encompassing four strands of scientific proficiency – understanding scientific explanations, generating scientific evidence, reflecting on scientific knowledge and participating productively in science. Science is not just a body of facts; it is what you know, how you use that knowledge and how that knowledge helps you understand the world. The reports on informal learning expanded on these four strands of science proficiency by acknowledging more specifically the role of interest and motivation, and by addressing the crucial role of identity as a science learner.
“A number of factors are converging, leading to an unprecedented effort in science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. Just recently, the Carnegie Corporation and the Institute for Advanced Studies released the Opportunity Equation, which lays out a framework for aligning the entire science education enterprise. The Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association led the creation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative in English language arts and mathematics. The president initiated the Race to the Top education reform efforts, Educate to Innovate, and Change the Equation. The President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology and the National Science Board each put forth their reports on K-12 science education. The National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council is currently finalizing a framework for next generation science standards and is working in a unique partnership with AAAS, NSTA, and Achieve on the framework and standards.”
National Research Council publications can certainly inform discussions and promote science education to move us from a “needs improvement” category to “clearly outstanding,” though it will take effort throughout the entire education system to get us there.
A new report released Tuesday says that the nation’s history of heavy smoking is a major reason why lifespans in the U.S. fall short of those in many other high-income nations, and evidence suggests that current obesity levels also play a substantial part. According to Explaining Divergent Levels of Longevity in High-Income Countries, three to five decades ago smoking was much more widespread in the U.S. than in Europe or Japan, and the health consequences are still playing out in today’s mortality rates. Smoking appears to be responsible for a good deal of the differences in life expectancy, especially for women. Obesity’s contribution to lagging life expectancies in the U.S. also appears to be significant. It may account for a fifth to a third of the shortfall in longevity in the U.S. compared to other nations. And if the obesity trend in the U.S. continues, it may offset the longevity improvements expected from reductions in smoking.
The Institute of Medicine has published a number of books that address the problem of smoking in our nation. The most recent, Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence addresses health effects of secondhand smoke. This book assesses the relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and acute coronary events. It also surveys critical epidemiological studies on the effects of smoking bans and evidence of links between secondhand smoke exposure and cardiovascular events.
The health and well-being of children in the United States are threatened by the ever-increasing number and percentage who are overweight and obese—now at one in four children. Childhood and adolescent obesity has increased dramatically in just three decades. Obese children and adolescents are more likely to have hypertension, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes when they are young, and they also are more likely to be obese when they are adults. Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity serves as a tool for local government officials and those who work in partnership with them to help in tackling the prevention of childhood obesity in their jurisdictions.
These books and others from the Institute of Medicine provide information, recommendations, and analysis to assist decision-makers.
|Explaining Divergent Levels of Longevity in High-Income Countries
Over the last 25 years, life expectancy at age 50 in the U.S. has been rising, but at a slower pace than in many other high-income countries, such as Japan and Australia. This difference is particularly notable given that the U.S. spends more on health care…
|Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence
Data suggest that exposure to secondhand smoke can result in heart disease in nonsmoking adults. Recently, progress has been made in reducing involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke through legislation banning smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and other…
|Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity
The prevalence of childhood obesity is so high in the United States that it may reduce the life expectancy of today’s generation of children. While parents and other adult caregivers play a fundamental role in teaching children about healthy behaviors, even…
|Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations
The health and economic costs of tobacco use in military and veteran populations are high. In 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) make recommendations on how to…
|Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation
The nation has made tremendous progress in reducing tobacco use during the past 40 years. Despite extensive knowledge about successful interventions, however, approximately one-quarter of American adults still smoke. Tobacco-related illnesses and death place a…
|Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention: A Framework to Inform Decision Making
To battle the obesity epidemic in America, health care professionals and policymakers need relevant, useful data on the effectiveness of obesity prevention policies and programs. Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention identifies a new…
|Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?
The remarkable increase in the prevalence of obesity among children and youth in the United States over a relatively short timespan represents one of the defining public health challenges of the 21st century. The country is beginning to recognize childhood…