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Inquiry First.

A partnership of the Department of Education, the City University of New York, and IBM, P-TECH is an innovative high school with a mission.  The six-year (grades 9-14) school offers students core subjects with a special focus on STEM.  Graduates receive a high school diploma as well as an Associate's degree in Applied Science.  Underwritten by IBM, the school opened in September with 104 students and anticipates an enrollment of 400-450 by 2014. "We want to get underrepresented students and populations to go into science, technology, engineering or math industries," said P-TECH principal Rashid Ferrod Davis.  "We have to work with those who need strengthening so that they have a shot at middle-income lifestyles via these industries."
Via www.blackenterprise.com

After the inspiring experience of their high school science classes, college students pursuing STEM disciplines seem to be discovering a sober truth in college: This stuff is hard.

According to studies, approximately 40% of college students starting out in STEM disciplines schange majors or fail to get any degree. As UCLA professor Mitchell J. Chang says, "We’re losing an alarming proportion of our nation’s science talent once the students get to college; it's not just a K-12 preparation issue."
Via www.nytimes.com

Interesting New York Times article on women pursuing STEM fields as undergraduates quotes MIT dean of admissions Stuart Schmill: "The real issue is women are falling out of STEM fields all along the pipeline, starting in middle school and high school.  To increase gender balance, it’s all a matter of getting the right story out about science and engineering to young women, that it’s not about sitting at a desk doing math all day."
Via www.nytimes.com


While 5.8 out of 10 recent college graduates with biology degrees are women, there's a greater gender gap in two of the other largest STEM fields: Engineering and computer science.
Via www.nytimes.com

In the 2008-2009 school year, more American students received undergraduate degrees in visual and performing arts than engineering.  Among international students, however, the 2009-2010 school year yielded far more graduates in engineering, physical and life sciences, and math and computer science than in social sciences and fine arts. Click below for more complete statistics.  What implications does the persistent dearth of graduates in the sciences have for the U.S. economy?  How quickly do you think we can turn the tide?
Via globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com

When 8th grader Chance Williams found himself floundering in Spanish class, his tech-savvy father floated the suggestion that his son be allowed to take Java as a foreign language instead.  The school agreed, and permitted Chance and his dad to organize an independent study course.

Things have gone well: Chance hopes to get his Java certification by the end of 9th grade, and already has produced an app, Droidbox, which has been downloaded 500 times.
Via venturebeat.com

Even veteran educators are putting research into practice and testing the merits of inquiry-based approaches to learning versus lecture-style teaching.  At George Washington University, for example, physics professor William Briscoe -- a professor for 35 years -- took an apprehensive leap into inquiry learning, using small group discussions and hands-on activities to teach his introductory physics class.  He noticed that the average grade students in that class received on the first test he administered were 10% higher than those of students in his lecture courses.
Via www.gwhatchet.com

More than 160 STEM-related proposals -- adding up to $737 million in requested funding -- are in the running to claim a slice of the $150 million in federal aid available through second round of the Investing in Innovation ("I3") program.  The first round of funding resulted in 49 I3 grants divvying up $650 million.

In the running for some round-two funds: Boston's Museum of Science, which has requested $2.9 million for its Expand the Gateway to Implementing Technology and Engineering Standards project.  The project aims to increase the number of Massachusetts and Maine school districts providing high-quality STEM education and ultimately the number of students pursuing careers in the STEM fields
Via blogs.edweek.org

Some food for thought: With the current emphasis on the high value of STEM skills for the workplace of the future, some feel that the importance of adding liberal arts to the mix can be lost.  At the World Entrepreneurship Forum held in Singapore yesterday everyone from Lockheed Martin's chief technology to the Senator-Mayor of Lyon, France highlighted the importance of offering learners an environment that fosters creativity.
Via sgentrepreneurs.com

Here's a handy list of some college aid options for students in science, technology, engineering, or math fields.
Via www.usnews.com

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