ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

Senate Easily Passes NCLB Rewrite.

The AP  (7/17) reports that on Thursday, the Senate voted 81-17  to approve a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law which “would return much of that power” taken by the federal government to the states. The Senate version of the bill “would leave in place the law’s annual testing schedule” but “would give states and districts more control over whether and how to use those tests to assess the performance of schools, teachers and students.” The Washington Post  (7/17, Viebeck) reports that the Senate bill would “seriously dial back the authority of the federal Department of Education, prohibiting the education secretary from influencing state academic standards and assessments, requiring teacher evaluations, and prescribing actions a state must take in the case of failing schools.”

Politico  (7/16, Severns, Hefling) reports that the “relatively smooth sailing” of the Senate bill “was the result of painstaking bipartisanship” from Senate Education Chairman Lamar Alexander and ranking member Patty Murray. Alexander “soldiered on” with Murray in recent days to “cut deals on divisive amendments on immigration and funding and keep the bill on track.”

The Hill  (7/16, Carney) reports in its “Floor Action” blog that Senate Majority Leader McConnell “touted the legislation as the latest example that his party has been able to get the Senate working again ahead of the 2016 elections.” McConnell said, “The pundits told us it would never happen. Republicans and Democrats will never agree on a way to replace No Child Left Behind, they said. But a new Senate that’s back to work is proving them wrong.”

Roll Call  (7/16, Dennis) reports that the Senate bill “doesn’t have a veto threat hanging over it – but President Barack Obama hasn’t said he’d sign it either.” The Daily Caller  (7/16, Neff) reports that while the Senate bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, “has substantial Democratic support,” it “would shift federal education policy substantially to the right.”

The New York Times  (7/17, Steinhauer, Subscription Publication) reports that the Senate passage comes a week after the House “passed its own version, sets up a showdown between the two chambers, and leaves the fate of a final measure in doubt.” Both versions “return some key power to local governments but differ over the role of the federal government and funding allocations.” The Wall Street Journal  (7/17, Stanley-Becker, Subscription Publication) says that serious compromises are going to have to be made by both sides in conference.

Senate Approves Change To Title I Funding. The Washington Post  (7/17, Layton) reports that the Senate, in a 59-39 vote, adopted an amendment “to change the way” Title I funds “are divided among the states.” The change in formula would be suspended until Title I spending, which has been at $14.5 billion since 2012, reaches $17 billion. The new formula would base funds on “the number of children living in poverty multiplied by the national average of the cost to educate that child.”

Higher Education

Massachusetts Student To Research Solar Panels With Northeastern University Professor.

Wicked Local (MA)  (7/13) reports on Arlington High School student Allison Candell who will participate in “Northeastern University’s College of Engineering’s highly-selective Young Scholars Program.” The program which lasts six weeks has her conducting “research with Professor Brad Lehman in the college’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering to help build next generation solar panels.”

Massachusetts Student To Research Blood Vessel Cells With Northeastern University Professor.

Wicked Local (MA)  (7/9, Minuteman) reports on Bedford High School student Oblageli Nwodoh who will “participate in Northeastern University’s College of Engineering’s Young Scholars Program” this summer. For six weeks, “Nwodoh will conduct research with professor Eno Ebong in the college’s Department of Chemical Engineering to assist in a research of blood vessel cell communication.”

College Of DuPage Students Participate In Summer Chemistry Internships.

The Chicago Tribune  (7/16, Mitchell11) reports five students from College of DuPage “are participating in prestigious summer chemistry research internships through the College Foundation’s Resource for Excellence Grant program.” Shyama Pandya and Frank Giuliani are at Northwestern University; Iryna Mialik is at Fermilab; and Daniel Fernandez and Paul Park are at Hope College in Michigan. The Resource for Excellence Grant program offers “funding to test new ideas, pilot new programs or methods, or conduct research.”

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Industry News

Conference Focused On Digital Manufacturing.

The Rochester (NY) Business Journal  (7/17) reports on a conference held Wednesday at the Rochester Institute of Technology, on the theme, “Digital Manufacturing: Transforming the Manufacturing Value Chain.” Participants “learned about topics such as why digital manufacturing matters; what companies can do to adopt digital technologies & processes; and how to implement a digital supply chain.”

Engineering and Public Policy

DOE Going Ahead With New Standards For AC, Heat Pumps, Water Heaters.

The Hill  (7/17, Devaney) reports the Energy Department “is moving forward with new energy conservation standards for certain air conditioners, heat pumps and water heaters.” The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the DOE “is issuing the new efficiency rules that apply to ‘small three-phase commercial air-cooled air conditioners and heat pumps less than 65,000 Btu/h; water-source heat pumps; and commercial oil-fired storage water heaters.’”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Tuscaloosa County, Alabama To Launch Career Technical High School.

WBRC-TV  Birmingham, AL (7/17, Reynolds) reports that the Tuscaloosa County School board will on Thursday, with the public, review “plans to turn the old Brookwood High School into a career technical high school.” The school will carry “child development, hospitality and a logistics center,” which will become “an advanced manufacturing program.”

Tuscaloosa (AL) News  (7/16, Smith) reports that Superintendent Elizabeth Swinford explained, “There’s a possibility of us being models in the state of Alabama” in career technical education.

Northwestern State University Trains Louisiana Teachers For Project Lead The Way.

The Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser  (7/16, McElfresh) reports on Project Lead the Way Launch training at Northwestern State University, which included elementary school teachers from Louisiana. It “is a curriculum for students in kindergarten through fifth grades that teaches engineering principles to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and math.”

Arkema Scientists Offer Help To Local Science Teachers.

The Bucks County (PA) Courier Times  (7/17, Fisher) reports on training for elementary school science teachers. The teachers worked with scientists at Arkema to develop some new teaching techniques and resources.

Number Of Louisiana Students Ready For College Continues To Increase.

The AP  (7/17, Deslatte) reports that the number of public high school students in Louisiana with a college-ready ACT score increased again in 2015. The number of Louisiana students who can enter college without having to take remedial courses has increased over the past several years.

Delaware Governor Vetoes Student Testing Opt-Out Bill.

The AP  (7/16, Chase) reported Delaware Governor Jack Markell vetoed a bill that would have allowed public school students to opt out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment standardized tests, which are based on Common Core standards. Markell said that allowing students to opt out could jeopardize federal funding and harm students’ education. The Wilmington (DE) News Journal  (7/16, Albright) added that the bill was approved by wide margins in the Delaware House and Senate, so the governor’s veto could be overridden by a three-fifths majority in both chambers.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging New Mexico State Testing Contract With Pearson.

The AP  (7/17) reports a New Mexico state judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state’s contract with Pearson PLC to provide state tests for public school students. Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that the plaintiff non-profit that filed the suit did not have standing to bring the claim.

New York State Announces 144 Schools Will Be In Receivership.

Newsday (NY)  (7/17, Hildebrand) reports that New York state is launching “its first major drive to turn around failing public schools in more than a decade,” an effort that involves “placing 144 schools statewide…under receivership.” The action is under a law passed in April.

The New York Times  (7/17, Harris, Subscription Publication) reports that of the 144 schools, “nearly half” are in New York City. The action “puts pressure on the de Blasio administration.” Under the law, the schools will be directly under the school superintendent, or in New York City, the schools chancellor.

The Albany (NY) Times Union  (7/17) reports that William S. Hackett Middle School in Albany is among the schools. It notes that Massachusetts has a similar arrangement.

Houston District Approves Improvement Plans.

The Houston Chronicle  (7/17, Mellon) reports that the Houston Independent School District announced on Thursday that the trustees had “approved school improvement plans” for 17 schools. The trustees rejected the plans twice in June.

Also in the News

Guinness World Record Attempt At Largest Rube Goldberg Machine To Be In Detroit Saturday.

The Detroit Free Press  (7/15) reports on the Guinness World Record attempt by Steve Price “and a global team of chain-reaction machine builders” at Detroit’s Michigan Science Center. They are working “to create the Incredible Science Machine from 200,000 dominoes and thousands of props such as Hot Wheels race tracks, pulleys, balls and toy cars.” The idea is to build “the largest-ever Rube Goldberg machine,” and start it at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Thursday’s Lead Stories

New Horizons’ Hi-Res Images Reveal Geologically Active Pluto.
Engineering Students Competing At International Submarine Robot Contest Next Week.
Researchers Confirm Buckyballs Were Observed In Space.
Obama Announces Low-Priced Broadband For Public Housing Residents.
Arizona College Holds STEM Camp For Elementary School Girls.

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