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STEM News Roundup: National PTA Launches Initiative to Help Families Get Involved with STEM Education

STEM News Roundup: National PTA Launches Initiative to Help Families Get Involved with STEM Education

The National PTA has announced in its report titled “STEM Plus Families” a new initiative that encourages parents and guardians to get involved in the STEM education of their children.

"The goal of STEM Plus Families is to increase access to STEM education—especially by youth—and the vast array of career opportunities by designing, evaluating and sharing effective ways to engage families in STEM experiences at school or at home, in the community and with digital learning environments,” says the National PTA in the paper.

"Through this initiative, National PTA and its collaborators will empower families—parents, grandparents, foster parents, or any other caring adult in a child's life—and amplify their voices as advocates for improving the availability and quality of STEM education in their schools and communities.”

The initiative aims to provide every child with high-quality education regardless of their zip-code, gender, ethnicity or race.

The National PTA argues that little research has been done on the effectiveness of family engagement and STEM education despite the fact that research has proven family engagement is related to student success.

As a result, families “are unaware about the vast career opportunities in STEM and rely on their own experiences with STEM subjects to guide perceptions about STEM for their children.”

This means, the National PTA says, that parents are not equipped to help their children make the best decisions for their future successful careers in STEM.

The National PTA has developed a series of recommendations to fix this problem, including:

  • Demystifying STEM for Families
  • Developing a Compendium of Proven Family Engagement Methods
  • Mobilizing the Community to Achieve Transformation

Read the full paper here.

How to Get Involved in Computer Science Education Week

Computer Science Education Week is rapidly approaching (Dec. 5-11). Here are some ways you and your classroom can get involved, including hosting an Hour of Code, advocating for computer science in your state and volunteering in your community.

Read more here.

Microsoft’s VP of Education Warns School Leaders to Focus on Agenda, Not Technology

Microsoft’s VP of Education Anthony Salcito has some advice for school leaders who are implementing education technology.

Instead of focusing on what devices to implement, Salcito urges leaders to focus on creating an agenda first and worry about the device later.

He urges schools to develop 20-year plans instead of short-term five-year plans to ensure they are focusing on learning goals and aren’t getting swept up in tech trends.

Read more here.

How Will Donald Trump Impact STEM Education?

How will President-elect Donald Trump impact STEM education during his presidency?

Throughout his campaign, Trump expressed support for a minimized Department of Education and argued against sweeping federal initiatives, meaning federal involvement in promoting STEM education could be a thing of the past.

"If we are serious about changing the direction of our educational standing, we must change our educational models and allow the greatest possible number of options for educating our children. The management of our public education institutions should be done at the state and local level, not at the Department of Education,” said Trump’s campaign to the Scientific American recently.

Read more here.

Supermoon Facts to Share with Your Students

Help your student’s best understand this week’s Supermoon with these fun facts that are great for any science classroom and beyond.

Read more here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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