Airing Tonight on PBS NewsHour: Education Week Reports: A New Vision for Science Education

The Common Core State Standards in math and English/language arts have gotten a lot of attention over the past few years, fueling debate about how best to set goals for student learning. But another set of new standards-these for science-has been redefining instruction in American classrooms with much less controversy. The Next Generation Science Standards, being implemented in 18 states, emphasize learning science by doing science.

Wyoming has not yet adopted the standards, but some school districts, like Campbell County, aren’t waiting for the state to take action.

“We’re not teaching out of a textbook anymore,” says 4th grade teacher Jamie Howe. “It’s more hands on and students are taking control of their own learning.”

Although this more active way of teaching is fueling enthusiasm, it also faces significant challenges. Schools across the nation spend less time on science and more on math and reading, and educators in small schools with few science teachers must adapt in not just one subject, but three or four.

John Tulenko of Education Week visited Wyoming this spring to learn how the Next Generation Science Standards are changing K-12 science classes.

LEARN MORE TONIGHT ON PBS NEWSHOUR.

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DOE Releases Civil Rights Data Collection Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      

June 9, 2016

Washington, D.C.– Earlier this week, the Department of Education (ED) released a first look at the data collected in the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) Report. The CRDC is a survey of all public schools and school districts in the United States. The survey measures student access to resources, as well as information on factors like school discipline and bullying. As other reports have shown, Native students continue to face obstacles that impact their academic success. Highlights from the report show the harsh realities our students experience in public schools including:

  • Native students are disproportionately suspended from school.
  • Native high school students are also retained disproportionately.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native (26%), Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (25%) high school students are chronically absent.
  • American Indian or Alaska Native boys represent 0.6% of all students, but 2% of students expelled without educational services.
  • More than one out of five American Indian or Alaska Native (22%) and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (23%) boys with disabilities served by IDEA received one or more out-of-school suspensions, compared to one out of ten white (10%) boys with disabilities served by IDEA.

Secretary of Education, John King, said of the report, “The Obama Administration has always stressed how data can empower parents, educators and policy makers to make informed decisions about how to better serve students. The stories the CRDC data tell us create the imperative for a continued call to action to do better and close achievement and opportunity gaps.”

NIEA Executive Director Ahniwake Rose agreed saying, “This report confirms what Native education advocates have always known-gaps persist that impact the success of our students. However, it only provides one chapter of a larger story. When looking at reports that assess the innovative solutions tribes have started to implement:  culture-based education, language immersion programs, community input, and support work, we know tribal communities have the ability to reverse these statistics. NIEA hopes the CRDC report provides an opportunity to begin a national discussion on how to expand these solutions and provide the flexibility and support to make them work.”

Throughout 2016, the ED will continue to release data highlights that relay information about issues that impact student success.

To view the CRDC report, please click here.

Click here to learn more about NIEA.

Inupiaq Drum and Dance: A Cultural Renaissance

From EarthSongs, here. An excerpt:

Alaska Native music and dance traditions are unique expressions of culture and spirituality. Each village has its own unique style of dance and music, reflective of a place in its geographic environment and history. In the 1960s and 70s, the Iñupiaq were among the many Native communities who joined together to stand up against the repression of culture and threat on Native lands by the state.

A resurgence began and led to a cultural renaissance for many Alaska Native tribes, alongside the civil rights movement and the influential 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which created several Native regional economic development corporations. This documentary introduces us to the Iñupiaq people who carry on these traditions of song and dance, while sharing stories of their ancestors.

Graduation is around the corner . . .

With graduation around the corner, this is a good time to remind everyone about the flyers TEDNA and NARF created.  Two flyers were created to assist students and families in their quest to wear an eagle feather at their graduation ceremony.  The first trifold flyer is for students and families and serves to provide guidance on working with School Districts to make the request.  The second trifold flyer is an informational flyer for School Districts to inform them about the significance and importance of the eagle feather to graduating students.

An excerpt from the first flyer:

Every year, Native high school students across the country seek to express their individual and tribal religious beliefs and celebrate their personal academic achievements by wearing an eagle feather at their graduation ceremonies. While most public school districts permit Native students to wear eagle feathers at graduation, some school districts do not allow it. This guide provides information for students and families on steps they can take to ensure that the graduate can wear an eagle feather during the commencement ceremony. It is based on approaches we have found most successful in addressing this issue.

Via CPR.org: In Rural Eaton, Students Takes Lead on Whether to Remove Indian Mascot

An excerpt:

Like most students, Eaton High School senior Karalee Kothe had never thought about her school’s mascot — the Fightin’ Reds — really deeply.

Then last year, she heard about state lawmakers who were pushing a bill that would have created a committee to review the use of potentially offensive Indian mascots. If the committee – or a tribe – found one to be offensive and the school still had the mascot after two years, it would face a fine of $25,000 a month.

The bill didn’t pass, but it got Kothe thinking.

“I was like, ‘hey what about our mascot’?” said Kothe, who’s also the editor of the Red Ink, the newspaper for the school located just north of Greeley. 

The Eaton mascot is plastered in the middle of the gym floor, on the walls, on students’ uniforms. It’s a cartoon-like caricature of a Native American.

“He’s in an aggressive stance, so it’s just not very realistic and many would say it’s not very honorable for Native Americans,” said junior Devan McKenney.

To read the entire article, click here.

UM Study Says American Indian Mascots Create Negative Stereotypes

A study recently released by the University of Montana has determined that the use of American Indian mascots causes ‘detrimental societal consequences’. 

Justin Angle, Associate Professor at the University of Montana School of Business Administration, along with researchers from the University of Washington and Washington State, said the study focused on Native American brand imagery.

“The study focuses on the concept of ethnic brand imagery,” Angle said. “It’s commonly used most prominently in American Indian sports mascots. What we set out to do was examine whether or not they actually active and then perpetuate stereotypes in the broader population. That’s a claim that’s been made time and time again by social commentators, yet, until now, has lacked any empirical support.”

Angle explained how the study was conducted.

“We exposed people to an American Indian mascot they were not familiar with, and they then completed what is called an ‘implicit association test’,” he said. “It measures memory and strength of association over various concepts. We found that after exposure to the American Indian mascot, they exhibited a stronger association of American Indians with the concept of being ‘warlike’. This effect was particularly strong in liberals, more so than in conservatives.”

Angle said the concept of being considered ‘warlike’ is negative.

“We definitely see the concept of being ‘warlike’ as a negative stereotype,” he said. “The notion that exposure to these images strengthens these stereotypes I think adds weight to the already compelling social commentary calling for the retirement as such mascots.”

A pretest survey found the Cleveland Indians as the most offensive mascot, while the Atlanta Braves tested as the least offensive.

To watch the video/hear the audio, click here.