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

Leading the News

Education Department Grants $8M For Science Test Improvement.

Education Week Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Klein) reports that on Wednesday, the Education Department “released final regulations and new guidance governing how testing is supposed to work under the Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA). The Administration’s new Innovative Assessment Regulations make “it clear that an innovative test can include material above or below the tested grade level, as long it ultimately measures student performance based on grade-level expectations.” The article further reports the ED announced $8 million in grants “to two state consortia – one led by the Maryland Department of Education and one led by the Nebraska Department of Education,” which “will be working on…developing science tests.”

Politico Morning Education Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Hefling) reports that the White House “called a convening” yesterday morning “to discuss ways to make standardized tests ‘better, fairer and fewer,’” which was set to begin with remarks from Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. Education World Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/8) quotes King as saying, “Today, the Department is releasing the final regulations for statewide assessments…which clarify new flexibilities for states and districts to reduce testing and measure higher order thinking. To maintain effective protections, to preserve student civil rights and to ensure that assessments are fair and inclusive and to maximize the positive impact of transparent, consistent information about student learning and progress.” King said states now “have more flexibility than under NCLB in designing their assessment systems while maintaining important protections to preserve student civil rights including students with disabilities and students who are learning to speak English.”

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Kerr) says the idea behind the ESSA “is to focus more time on classroom learning and spend less on teaching-to-the test – something critics complained the administration encouraged with grants and waivers that placed too much emphasis on standardized testing.” Under the new law, “districts and schools still will be required to test students annually in reading and math in grades three to eight, and once in high school.” However, “the rules clarify how replacement tests might be used and how states might design their own tests as part of a pilot program.”

Higher Education

OU Works To Get More Female Students Interested In Science Fields.

KWTV-TV Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Oklahoma City (12/5, Shaw) reported on its website that female computer science majors at the University of Oklahoma on Monday worked to teach “younger girls from sixth grade to seniors in high school” a better understanding of computer science. The event was part of the university’s efforts to increase the percentage of female engineering students – currently, “only 24 percent of OU engineering students are female.” The article mentioned that Eliana Gaythan, 12, participated in the program and “is one of several local girls who meet at the Norman Library every Monday, as part of the ‘Girls Who Code Club.’”

University Of Maine Offers Drone Operation Course As Automated Technology Creates More Jobs.

The Christian Science Monitor Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports that some schools, such as the University of Maine at Augusta, are implementing curriculum involving automated technologies, like commercial drone operation. As technology evolves, utilizing more automated tools, it is likely that drone operations will be increasingly valuable to a wide host of employers in both the private and public sectors.

University of Florida Awarded $10 Million Grant To Innovate Virtual Learning For Visually Impaired Students.

The University of Florida Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports the University of Florida is assembling researchers from multiple fields to personalize online math instruction and adapt educational technology for students with visual impairments. The studies are being funded by two federal grants from the Department of Education (a combined $10 million fund) to bring online learning to visually impaired students by developing innovative virtual learning lab and personalized i-Pad instructional technology and learning plans.

Oregon Tech Part Of $15.6 Million Federal Research Grant.

The Klamath Falls (OR) Herald And News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Owens) reports that “Oregon Tech is part of a multi-campus program awarded a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, expected to be worth up to $15.6 million.” The report says “the grant is administered by Portland State’s Transportation Research and Education Center, TREC, and is for transportation research, education and outreach.” According to Hallie Neupert, Oregon Tech interim dean of the College of Engineering, Technology and Management, “This grant upholds Oregon Tech’s role in shaping transportation decision-making in the region and beyond. … The University Transportation Centers program has funded important work at Oregon Tech in areas such as rural highway safety, hybrid vehicles, transportation engineering education and infrastructure evaluation.”

Indiana University-PUFW To Reinstate Women’s Studies.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports, “Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne says it’s reinstating its women’s studies degree program after originally including it among several to be eliminated under program cuts.” The university said “the necessary administrative costs savings and instructional efficiencies” were found elsewhere.

University Director Says An Unequal Higher Education System Is Due To White Flight.

In an op-ed for the Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7), Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce Director Anthony P. Carnevale writes that similar to the flight that occurred during the post-World War II era that saw whites moving from cities to the “suburbs and better neighborhood schools,” today “whites are fleeing the underfunded and overcrowded two-year and four-year open-access colleges for the nation’s top 500 universities.” According to Carnevale, this creates a “racially stratified postsecondary education system [that] serves as a passive agent that mimics and magnifies the race-based inequities it inherits from the K-12 education system and projects them into the labor market.” We now enter into a “self-sustaining intergenerational cycle of racial privilege” where “whites educated at elite colleges go on to have successful careers, marry other whites with similar backgrounds, and buy homes in the right neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods in turn give their kids access to a top education in pre-K through high school that prepares them for selective colleges.” Carnevale continues to discuss ways to break the cycle, and help black and Latino students reach their potential.

Rep. Harris To Introduce Bill To Punish Sanctuary Campuses.

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Marcos) reports Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) “plans to introduce legislation on Wednesday to punish universities for serving as sanctuaries for students who are illegal immigrants.” Harris “said on the House floor that his upcoming legislation would require any entity receiving federal funds, including institutions of higher education, to meet lawful requests by federal immigration authorities.” Failure to do so would result in the loss of all funds from the federal government.

UConn President Announces Support For Immigrant Students. The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Eaton-Robb) reports University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst “says the school will do all it can to support students who do not have legal immigration status even though it can’t become a sanctuary campus.” Herbst “told the university community in an email Tuesday campus police won’t question immigration status or detain anyone based on administrative warrants from federal officials.” Herbst also promised that UConn would continue accepting qualified students regardless of their immigration status.

Sacramento School District Considers Safe Haven Status. The Sacramento (CA) Bee Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports the Sacramento City Unified School District will “vote Thursday on whether to declare itself a ‘safe haven’ that will protect students fearful of deportation or hate speech, joining a growing number of districts around the state taking action after the presidential election.” The resolution “specifies that immigration officials cannot enter campuses without written permission of the superintendent and that the district will restrict sharing of student files that could help determine the legal status of students.”

Mayotte Questions Whether US Will Keep All Student Loan Repayment Program Offerings.

In the “Student Loan Ranger” blog of U.S. News & World Report Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7), contributor Betsy Mayotte advises student loan borrowers to avoid borrowing more than they can afford to pay back, due to “uncertainty surrounding student loan repayment programs.” Mayotte cites a recent GAO report that found “40 percent of all outstanding direct student loans are being paid under an income-driven repayment plan.” Mayotte suggests that although “many students today are borrowing for college with the assumption they’ll be able to make payments based on income in the future and maybe even obtain some loan forgiveness,” those programs may not be available in the future.

Bard College Early College Focuses On Liberal Arts.

The Atlantic Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/8, DeRuy) reports that Massachusetts-based Simon’s Rock, for about 50 years, has been giving high school students access to college courses, and now, the school “is looking to preserve and spread its definition of early college to more students—one grounded in the liberal-arts education it worries too many newer early colleges are eschewing.” Since 1979, Simon’s Rock has been affiliated with Bard College, and was initially “considered a retreat for a small number of gifted kids who were looking for an accelerated education. Attending involved tuition, and children of color—who are disproportionately likely to end up in high schools with few resources and, often, little guidance on how to get to college—weren’t always equally represented.” However, “in the last 15 years, Bard – in partnership with local school districts – has launched the Bard Early College network, which aims to export the liberal-arts-focused model to public-school students across the country. The objective…is to maintain the rigor of the education students get at Simon’s Rock while also expanding access to higher education to thousands of public-school students who wouldn’t ordinarily find themselves at a private school in New England.”

Support ASEE with your Holiday Amazon Purchases
ASEE participates in Amazon Smile, a program allowing you to donate a percentage of your purchase total to the charity of your choice. To set up your account to donate to ASEE, follow these few simple steps.

NEW Report: “Small Schools” by the Numbers
Smaller engineering schools are often missing from our annual “By the Numbers” summary, because of the way it’s tabulated. We have created a “Smaller Engineering by the Numbers” to feature these schools.

Prism Podcast
The Mobile Virtual Player is a new development keeping football players safe, created by Dartmouth engineering students. Listen to the short podcast on the invention here.

Accreditation and Professional Development

Army Research Center Physicist Recognized By AAAS.

The Redstone Rocket (AL) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Ficken Amrdec) reports that Dr. Henry Everitt, an Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center physicist, “has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a distinction that recognizes his outstanding contributions in scientific research.” The report explains that Everitt “is among 391 AAAS members elected by their peers to the rank of Fellow this year, one of two researchers employed by the Army.” In announcing the honor, AAAS recognized him “for pioneering spectroscopic investigations of wide bandgap semiconductors and ultraviolet plasmonic nanostructures, terahertz holography and nascent federal programs in quantum information, photonic crystals and nanotechnology.”

Research and Development

Researchers Develop Jumping Robot Inspired By Africa’s Bush Baby.

The Christian Science Monitor Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports that University of California, Berkeley researchers have created a robot named Salto (Saltatorial Locomotion on Terrain Obstacles), which is able to jump several times in quick succession. The robot’s design was inspired by studies “the galago, sometimes referred to as a bush baby,” an African primate known for its “remarkable jumping abilities.” Researchers hope the robot will one day be used “to search disaster areas for survivors.”

Clover Raises $300M To For Data-based Health Services Push.

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Chapman) reports that startup Clover Health has raised nearly $300 million since last year to support its mission of “using data to encourage healthier living and identify potential issues before they need to be treated,” with a test of its services underway in New Jersey. The company “has built data science, design, engineering and product teams with pedigrees from several Valley giants, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The technical groups are led by Kris Gale, who started the business with [Vivek Garipalli, Clover’s co-founder and chief executive officer] after leaving Microsoft’s Yammer. They’re developing software to organize the trove of data coming from workers on the ground in New Jersey, mine it for likely health problems and suggest ways to prevent them before they happen.”

Engineer Creates Device To End Distracted Driving.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Kunkle) reports that an engineer has invented a device that he believes “could eliminate distracted driving.” The device, called Grove, blocks incoming communications while the vehicles in motion, allowing only GPS and music data. It can “also distinguish the phone of the person who’s driving, so that passengers’ phones aren’t affected.” The inventor Scott Tibbitts said members of Congress told him “it would be better to persuade mobile phone providers to adopt it rather than embark on a legislative fix.” NHTSA also offered similar advice. Sprint, which has been piloting the device, said it could make it available as early as next year. T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere is also said to have an interest in implementing the device.


Education Leaders At Summit Address STEM Achievement Gap, Workforce Needs.

The Silicon Valley (CA) Business Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Hererra, Subscription Publication) reports that during the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s STEM Education Leadership Summit held on Wednesday morning at the Capital Club in San Jose, a panel moderated by MetroEd superintendent Alyssa Lynch discussed “the economic impact of STEM programs and asked what steps need to be taken in order to improve access to STEM education and careers.” Panelists included Mo-Yun Lei Fong, director of K-12 Education outreach at Google, and Debbie Tahmassebi, dean of the College of Arts & Science at Santa Clara University. The panel primarily “focused on the achievement gap between white and minority students in education, as well as between men and women in STEM education and careers.”

Author Gives Advice To Women On Handling The Gender Gap In The Workplace.

In an article for U.S. News & World Report Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) published in its “Outside Voices Careers” blog, speaker and author Hannah Morgan writes about what women should do if they want “to either get a promotion or make more money” in 2017. Morgan writes that first, “you’ll need to understand how the gender gap impacts your career.” In addition, a woman must start self-advocating early, pay attention to the industries that are more or less likely to pay equally, network and talk to other employees at companies that interest you to determine whether they practice gender equality, and always ask questions during the interview to get a sense of how the company is managed.

US Labor Market Increasingly Valuing People Skills.

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Greenfield) reports that “the occupations projected to add the most jobs in the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all require people skills – like home health aides, registered nurses, and retail and service workers.” But, Bloomberg points out, “the jobs the president-elect has focused on reviving – mostly in manufacturing, dominated by men – are the ones most vulnerable to being replaced by robots, not the ones that are in highest demand or expected to grow the fastest.” Bloomberg says that even as demand and wages have risen overall for STEM “jobs, wages have risen the most for those STEM workers with high social skills,” according to a National Bureau of Economic Relations study.

Infographic Details STEAM Opportunities For Women.

The Huffington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports, as part of its “STEAM Experience” collaboration with Ford, that thanks to a shift in role models, “young boys are increasingly poised to answer the call of tomorrow’s STEAM…workforce.” The report says that “with our support, the same could hold true for young girls in future generations” if more prominent female role models are promoted and to more inclusivity in STEAM education is encouraged. The report includes an infographic that shows “what can be done to support women so that, by 2030, women can play a large role in the next generation of STEAM professionals.”

US Job Openings Slipped 1.8% In October.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Rugaber) reports that while October job openings “slipped 1.8 percent to 5.5 million,” openings are “still at a mostly healthy level that points to steady hiring ahead.” The Labor Department reports also showed that hiring “fell to just under 5.1 million, while the number of people quitting declined to about 3 million.” The AP said that hiring “is unlikely to accelerate beyond its current moderate pace anytime soon.” Job openings fell the most in professional and business services, “which includes largely higher-paying jobs in areas such as engineering, accounting and information technology.” In addition, openings “dropped in construction, financial services, and in hotels and restaurants” but rose in retail and healthcare.

Global Developments

IBM Begins Watson For Cybersecurity Program.

Wired Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/6) reports IBM’s Watson is “embarking on its biggest challenge yet: Preventing cybercrime in finance, healthcare, and other fields.” The Watson for Cybersecurity program is in beta testing, but “starting today, 40 organizations will rely upon the clever computers cognitive power to help spot cybercrime.” Wired adds that the program “helps IBM too, because Watson’s real-world experience will help it hone its skills and work within specific industries.”

InfoWorld Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/6) discusses how IBM Security and certain universities have collaborated for months to “help teach Watson the ‘language of cybersecurity.’” InfoWorld adds, “Watson for Cyber Security combines machine learning and natural language processing to make associations in unstructured data like blogs, research reports, and documentation that security analysts can then use to make better, faster decisions.”

eWeek Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/6) reports similarly.

Verizon Launches FiOS Rollout In Boston.

The Verge Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Purbasari) reports Verizon is starting the rollout of its $300 million dollar FiOS services in the Boston area, after announcing eight months ago “that it was building a fiber optic platform.” The company has already installed over 160 miles of fiber optic wiring and the rollout is expected to take the next six months. In a statement, Verizon’s consumer landline business chief Ken Dixon said the “FiOS service will be offered to more than 25,000 addresses by the end of December.” Ars Technica Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports Verizon’s previous FiOS launch resulted in various cities’ government officials criticizing “Verizon for not serving all residents, particularly in low-income areas.” In one of the more highlighted cases, New York officials said Verizon’s “city-wide buildout in New York City did not end up reaching all residents, and NYC officials have been fighting Verizon over the matter.” But Verizon remains optimistic about the Boston rollout, stating the “project isn’t just about fiber-to-the-home; it’s also supposed to improve mobile service.”

Finnish Nokia Town Hopes Tech Companies Allow City’s Revival.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Verbergt, Subscription Publication) reports Finnish city Salo, the birthplace of Nokia cellphones, is drawing in new tech companies who are seeking the area’s various idled factories and experienced engineers. The city struggled after Nokia sold its cellphone assets to Microsoft, which later decided to decrease its mobile-phone operations, leading to loss of Salo workers. As San Diego-based Nuviz and other tech companies increase their presence in Salo, the city hopes to become a successful tech hub, similar to California.

EU To Take Action Against Seven Member Nations Over VW Emissions Cheating.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, De Carbonnel) reports the European Union plans to take action against seven nations “for failing to police car emissions rules, EU sources said, after the Volkswagen cheating scandal showed suspicious behavior in the industry.” The European Commission plans to take “the strongest legal action it can take against members of the 28-nation bloc,” stating “many nations wooed by the industry’s importance…have shielded carmakers from the kind of sanctions some face in the United States.” EU sources informed on the matter say “the EU executive has found fault with countries for failing to set fines to deter sharp practice on emissions, penalize carmakers for breaching the law or cooperate with its demands for information.” In particular, Germany and Britain are undergoing cases involving their testing and approval methods of new VW models. Although defeat devices have been illegal under EU law since 2007, some national watchdogs claim “vagueness in EU law allows for the loophole.” The Financial Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Brunsden, Campbell, Subscription Publication) reports EU Industry Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska has pushed German and British authorities to detail findings of different manufacturers’ emissions control technologies to show how such practices follow EU law.

Industry News

Apple Posts Strongest Market Growth In Two Years.

Several outlets yesterday covered Apple’s solid smartphone performance last quarter, with ComputerWorld Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Evans), Fortune Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Reisinger) and The Verge Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Savov) among those reporting that over a three-month period ending in October, the firm posted its strongest market growth numbers in nearly two years. Citing data provided by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, ZDNet Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Ranger) and AppleInsider Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Wuerthele) say US iPhone sales grew seven percentage points year-on-year, while iOS also maintained its stronghold on Japan’s market with nearly 51.7 percent of sales. Phone Arena Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Victor H.), in a similar report, says the firm’s latest iPhone 7 has played a major role in Apple’s most recent gains. In fact, the report names it “the single best-selling smartphone in the United States with 10.6% of all new smartphone sales.”

Apple’s smartphone division also performed well in urban China. TelecomPaper Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports that the company now has surpassed Xiaomi to rank second in overall China-based sales with 3.8 percent share, despite the firm’s decline in overall iOS share in the region from a year ago. Most reports yesterday attributed Apple’s most recent figures to Samsung’s recently discontinued Note 7, with Business Insider Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Dunn) observing that the recall “likely left a big gap for Apple to fill” – one they’ve managed to capitalize on according to last quarter’s numbers. In related coverage, CNET News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Ackerman) reports that during the month of November, Apple posted its “highest monthly sales” performance since first establishing the App Store. Financial Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter(12/7, Bradshaw, Subscription Publication) and Barron’s Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) offer similar coverage on Apple’s latest performance.

AT&T, Time Warner CEOs Face Senate Judiciary Committee Antitrust Panel On Proposed Merger.

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Breland) reports the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel held a hearing Wednesday to question AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes on the “proposed $85.4 billion merger.” Democratic legislators expressed “concerns about the merger’s effect on consumers” and raised “worries that it could result in higher prices and fewer options.” Both Stephenson and Bewkes assured the merger “would help AT&T provide lower rates to consumers and said they had ‘no incentive’ to create more restrictive pricing and packing plans.” Stephenson used AT&T’s previous merger with DirecTV as an example, saying it “had clearly benefitted consumers.” Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports the chief Democrat on the panel Amy Klobuchar showed “concern that the deal would create incentives for AT&T to refuse to license Time Warner’s movies and television shows to competitors.” Additionally harming competition, Klobuchar “also said AT&T could favor its own shows over independent content.” Senator Al Franken echoed these apprehensions, pressing Bewkes “on whether the new, combined company would raise rates to others who would broadcast its content.” The deal is currently under review by the Justice Department to “determine whether the deal is legal under antitrust law.” Franken said he also hopes to “see the FCC review the merger because of their tougher standard.”

In a video segment on Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) Public Knowledge Senior Policy Counsel Phillip Berenbroick discusses with Bloomberg Market’s David Gura his group’s objections to the merger. Berenbroick said: “Our argument is that Time Warner and AT&T can largely do what they’re proposing to do via contract. Time Warner does that already with many content distributors. This would simply bring the Time Warner content in house for AT&T.”

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Fung), Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7), and NPR Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Noguchi) also featured similar reports.

Engineering and Public Policy

ASEE Taking Part In White House Inclusive Entrepreneurship Initiative.

The University Herald Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports that “the White House announced new and expanded platforms to improve inclusion and diversity within the start-ups.” As part of the initiative, “the American Society for Engineering Education is creating best practices in diversity and inclusion for more than 200 member universities.” The Herald explains that “participating schools have committed to foster diversity in their engineering programs.”

House Panel Troubled By Problems At USGS Energy Resources Program’s Geochemistry Laboratories.

E&E Daily Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Subscription Publication) reports that a House Natural Resources subcommittee “expressed outrage” Tuesday “over shoddy data analysis and other problems at a now-shuttered U.S. Geological Survey laboratory near Denver.” Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Louie Gohmert said, “The reliability of data we are provided as lawmakers across the spectrum of issues is now called into question.” Ranking member Debbie Dingell “said she is troubled by workplace harassment and ignored whistleblower complaints revealed in a report last June from the Interior Department’s inspector general.”

Additional coverage was provided by the Aurora (CO) Sentinel Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7).

Analysis: DeVos Exercises “Free Market Approach” To School Choice.

In question-and-answer format, the Christian Science Monitor Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Khadaroo) provides an analysis of how school choice may look under the leadership of Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Education Secretary. The Monitor speculates DeVos “could potentially use regulatory authority as secretary of Education to support states that want to direct more dollars toward various choice programs.” Regarding the success of voucher programs, the article concludes, “There’s no strong consensus that vouchers broadly provide a big boost academically – though some well-regarded studies have pointed to such effects. Nor is there consensus that they harm students or fail to give some academic advantage in various cases.”

In its “All Things Considered” program and on its website, NPR Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Westervelt) reports on the success of Betsy DeVos’ charter school West Michigan Aviation Academy. NPR reports, “The well-regarded school places a strong emphasis on STEM, aeronautical engineering and robotics,” and that its popularity underscores “the mantra of opportunity, choice and competition” that NPR says “has been the guiding principle” DeVos. The article also features the opinion of Tulane University economics professor Douglas Harris, who said charter schools “don’t work,” citing how they have “greatly under-performed” in Detroit.

Education Week Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) provides an analysis of the success of charter schools in Michigan, citing an annual report from the National Alliance that ranked “the quality of the state’s charter law 21st out of 42 states and the District of Columbia.” Yet, the article says any results maybe “skewed somewhat by the fact that the state’s traditional district schools are struggling mightily.”

FWS Rejects Army Corps’ Attempt To Greenlight Part Of Vigneto.

The Arizona Daily Star Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports that “federal wildlife officials are pushing back against the Army Corps of Engineers’ determination that restoration work related to a 28,000-home development in Benson is unlikely to affect protected species.” In an Oct. 14 letter to the Corps, the FWS “disagreed with the Corps’ conclusion about unlikely environmental impacts, which was based on a biological evaluation of a ‘mitigation parcel’ outside the bounds of the Villages at Vigneto development.” However, “the wildlife service also emphasized that it would not move forward in consulting with the Corps about the mitigation parcel unless the entire 12,300-acre Vigneto development was included in the discussion.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Six Schools In Iowa Receive Grants For STEM Teaching.

The Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Duffy) reports that six schools in Iowa “received a $3,500 award this week for its emphasis on computer science, mathematics and technology.” The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s communications director, Angel Mendez, said, “Right now, there’s not a clear pathway in for computer science education. In the K-12 arena, there are no requirements for computer science. If there’s no exposure to computer science, they’re not going to pursue it later.” Thus, schools are “giving all students access to the lessons – available at” to “help close the industry’s gender gap” and to encourage learning in the STEM fields. The article notes that “in Iowa, only 16 percent of computer-science graduates were women in 2014.”

Research Shows Gendered Toys Could Discourage Girls From STEM Careers.

The Guardian (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7, Weale) reports on an Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET) finding “that toys with a science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) focus were three times as likely to be targeted at boys than girls,” and warns that this practice “could be discouraging girls from pursuing a career in engineering and technology.” Current data shows “women account for just 9% of engineers in the UK, despite enthusiasm among girls at primary school for information and communications technology (ICT) and computing (according to recent IET research, 39% say they enjoy it), maths (38%) and science (36%).”

Netherland Schools Using Software To Ensure A Healthier Lunch For Students.

Forbes Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/7) reports on “Horizon DaaS, virtual desktop software from VMware” that is used by schools in the Netherlands to help determine whether cafeterias are meeting “guidelines for healthy, safe and sustainable food choices.” Netherlands Nutrition Centre Business Operations Manager Jelle Jager said, “Our Healthy School Canteen ‘brigadiers’ no longer face any restrictions during their work. …Irrespective of the operating system, everyone can log in immediately. The device they use for this has no influence on the performance.”

Wednesday’s Lead Stories

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