Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Quick Hits

Curriculum focused on Sept. 11 attacks to be offered at some schools: A curriculum to teach middle- and high-school students about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was unveiled Tuesday. The curriculum, which will debut this year at schools in at least seven states -- including New York -- will include videos, lessons and interactive exercises. In one activity, students will use Google Earth software to track terrorist activity worldwide. It is believed to be the first comprehensive teaching guide on the attacks. (The Associated Press)

Study- More engineering in schools would bolster math, science: Engineering concepts should be included in the curriculum of schools, according to a recent study by a committee comprising two nonprofit organizations. The National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council concluded that engineering -- the study of product design and construction -- has a vague presence in American schools but could boost student interest and achievement in math and science. (Education Week)

Education translates into higher earnings around the world: Investing in education may seem difficult in the current economic slump, but it can have a huge payoff in the long run, writes Education Week staff member Sean Cavanagh in this blog post. He explains the results of a recent report that makes a strong economic case for education. In the countries studied by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the average college-educated man earned $186,000 more in his lifetime than a non-college-educated peer. (Curriculum Matters)

Gates Foundation to use television for anti-dropout message: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hopes to curb the dropout rate with an education campaign on television channels that are popular with students. The foundation is partnering with Viacom on the five-year "Get Schooled" campaign, which began this week with a documentary and will integrate a message against dropping out into popular programming on channels such as Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central. (Houston Chronicle)

Bible-literacy law's vagueness baffles some Texas school districts: A recent law requires Texas public schools to offer Bible literacy in the classroom this year, but it does not provide specifics on teacher training, curriculum or funding. "Asking a school district to teach a course or include material in a course without providing them any guidance or resources is like sending a teacher into a minefield without a map," said a religious-studies expert critical of the plan. Some schools are offering the material in elective classes; others are incorporating Bible literacy into regular curriculum. (The Dallas Morning News)

Hawaii looks to move student assessments online: State tests in Hawaii could be given online as soon as 2011, and officials say the change could provide faster results and allow students to take the assessments more often. "Because the results would simultaneously be coming back, teachers will see immediately if a student does or doesn't know the standards," said state Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto. (The Honolulu Advertiser)

Gates Foundation plans to watch teachers at work: As part of its five-year, $500 million initiative to look at effective teaching methods, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will videotape 4,000 educators in selected U.S. school districts and analyze teacher practices against student performance. The foundation seeks "a fair, reliable, clear view of teacher effectiveness that both teachers and researchers can support and embrace," said the director of the foundation's education division. (Education Week)

U.S. lags behind other nations in child-welfare study: The U.S. spends more per child but has higher rates of infant mortality, teenage pregnancy and child poverty than other industrialized nations, a survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found. The group's report says the U.S. should shift more spending to children younger than 6 to improve health and educational performance. (The Associated Press)

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