Monday, December 19, 2011

NMSI and LTF - the video!

Great video of the NEW National Math and Science Initiative that includes the amazing Laying the Foundation training program.  Historical in non-profit mergers and simply amazing in our student results. 

Book Reviews

Interesting site got posted to our English Forums at LTF Training called ProseNotes.  It is a book review aggregator which is pretty cool.  He figured that you can't tell a book by one review so why not pull all the reviews for a given title.

I don't normally plug websites but I know I will use this one.  Way to go Jason.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Non-Profits Merge - Students Win!

GREAT NEWS for students who want to be college ready and pursue STEM majors!  The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and Laying the Foundation (LTF) are merging to form a more comprehensive program designed to radically improve opportunities for all students.  Bringing together the talent and the resources of these two non-profit organizations through a merger will dramatically increase results.

Non-profit mergers are sometimes difficult.  But when everyone is focused on results for students it makes things much easier.  LTF gets broader reach, a board of directors who are experts in the STEM field and a recognized brand in NMSI.  NMSI gets great operational talent, phenomenal back-office strength and a program that generates revenue.  Together we will build a fundraising team to ensure the long term sustainability of both organizations.

This will be an amazing non-profit merger that will benefit millions of students!!

Read more about the NMSI - LTF Merger!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Teacher Training that WORKS!

Ruston Louisiana - LTF training is doing some great things due to some amazing teachers.  The District Wide Transformation case study says it all.  Please - take a look and spread the word!! So thrilled with our team.


Lincoln Parish English Teachers Lead District-Wide Transformation from LTF Training on Vimeo.

Communism rates higher than Congress!

My favorite stat:
More people approve of communism (11%), polygamy (11%), pornography (30%), the BP oil spill (16%) and banks (23%) than approve of Congress (9%).  

From HuffingtonPost - "Congress Approval Rating Lower Than Porn, Polygamy, BP Oil Spill, 'U.S. Going Communist'

No surprise here at all. They have just been pathetic and I hope that we all vote for massive change in Congress this year!

TTBO - Throw The Bums OUT

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

College Majors with the most unemployment

If you are taking out college loans and need to know how to pay for them, it might be wise to check out this website from the Wall Street Journal.  It lists each major, the unemployment rate and the median earnings.  I sorted by unemployment rate and it is pretty telling - ie, don't go into psych majors unless you are independently wealthy.  Actuarial science, pharmacology, geological/geophysical engineering, teaching and astronomy are all still great majors if you need a job and money.
http://graphicsweb.wsj.com/documents/NILF1111/#term


I know it shouldn't be about the money - it is about passion and doing what you love - but don't go $120K in debt if you can't possibly pay it off.  You just have to be smart in picking your field.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rocky Mountain High!

We have some great friends in Colorado including Ed is Watching which has a great post on the expansion of the National Math and Science Initiative ( NMSI ) and Laying the Foundation ( LTF ) into 30 high schools in CO this summer.  This is due to a $15 M I3 Grant from the US DOE.

Check out Ed is Watching's post Effective Math and Science Program Making Big Leap in Colorado High Schools

Very cool!

AP versus Dual Enrollment

New study looking to compare Advanced Placement (AP) with Dual Enrollment (DE) with one slight flaw:  the study didn't look at those who passed each - it only looked at students who took each.  If the study had looked at students who passed AP versus those who passed DE, the results would show AP in a better light.

The conclusion seems to be that there is not a "right way" to improve college success.  If students are 4 year college bound, AP is better.  If they are looking at associates degrees, DE is the way to go.  And all students need to be better prepared for both.

"The study finds that both AP and DE are strongly associated with positive outcomes, but the enrollment outcomes are not the same for both programs. DE students are more likely than AP students to go to college after high school, but they are less likely to first enroll in a four-year college."

"In addition, the effect of DE is driven by courses taken at the local community college campus; there is no effect for DE courses taken at the high school."

Taken together, these results suggest a relative underrepresentation of DE students at four-year colleges. This has important implications for college admission practices that are unduly influenced by AP participation and for policies addressing factors other than academic readiness that affect DE students’ ability-college undermatch.

While DE participation is associated with positive outcomes, this effect is seen only for students who took DE courses at the community college; DE participation had no effect for students who took courses at the high school. In light of current concerns about high schools’ ability to deliver college-level instruction and the lack of a standardized curriculum in DE courses, the results might call for increased quality control for DE college credits earned at high school campuses.

Friday, December 9, 2011

IT'S THE CULTURE, STUPID

WOW - great, must read article in The Atlantic by Jordan Weissmann, "Everything You Know About Education is Wrong" that talks about a groundbreaking new study by Roland Fryer (a MacArthur Foundation "genius award winner"). The study is called: "Getting Beneath the Veil of Effective Schools: Evidence from New York City" by Will Dobbie and Roland G. Fryer, Jr

"Fryer found that class size, per-pupil spending, and the number of teachers with certifications or advanced degrees had nothing to do with student test scores in language and math.
In fact, schools that poured in more resources actually got worse results"

SHOCKER - though not really because many people have been saying this, it is just good to get the actual data.  So what can really make a difference? 

"Schools that focused on teacher development, data-driven instruction, creating a culture focused on student achievement, and setting high academic expectations consistently fared better."

"Fryer measured school culture in a way no academic before him had. He looked at the number of times teachers got feedback. The number of days students got tutored in small groups. The number of assessments for students. The number of hours students actually spent at their desks. Each correlated with higher student scores.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, schools that claimed a "relentless focus on academic goals" also tended to produce better test scores. Schools that focused on self esteem and emotional health? Not as much. (Sorry Gen Y.)"

As Jeb Bush said, we have to stop thinking that building self-esteem will lead to student success and start realizing that student success builds self-esteem. So very true.

"But Fryer's findings show that money alone isn't enough. Neither are sterling teaching credentials. It's what you do with them that makes a difference for students."

And note that LTF training is about creating a culture focused on much higher student achievement. Culture doesn't change in one day which is why we train over three years. More to come

Education crisis solved just in time for the holidays.  Now let's get it done.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Colorado - I3, NMSI & LTF

Having been in the military I am used to acronyms and abbreviations.  Heck, the Navy had the DICNAVAB but education certainly is a very close second in abbreviations.

But the news is great for Colorado and Indiana students!!  The US Department of Education has awarded an Investing in Innovation (thus the I3) grant to the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI).  That grant includes funding for Laying the Foundation (LTF) to provide teacher training and classroom ready resources.  The goal is to ensure that more students are ready to take and pass AP classes in both Colorado and Indiana through an increased focus on teacher training and more time on task for students.  And if they do pass, both the students and the teachers recieve a bonus.

Very exciting times!
Read the article in Businessweek:  http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9R9QLH01.htm
Read the press release from NMSI: http://www.nationalmathandscience.org/newsroom/article/7-million-grant-aid-stem-education

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

STEM Connector

The STEM Connector is live!

"STEMConnector™ is a nationwide collaboration of companies, nonprofit associations and professional societies, STEM-related research & policy organizations, and academic institutions concerned about the plight of STEM education in the United States.  STEMConnector™ is designed to link "all things STEM" by constructing a comprehensive Web Site that provides connections to national, state and local STEM entities and their own content through a variety of search tools.

And of course Laying the Foundation is listed!!

Inventer solving STEM

I was lucky enough to go to a conference where Dean Kaman, master inventor of the Segway and others was speaking on his solution to the STEM problem in this country.  Innovators looks at problems from a totally different perspective. The STEM issue is not about supply and demand, it is about demand and supply. Dean assumes that we do not have a total the education crisis in this country so our good schools should produce enough STEM professionals.  His hypothesis is that our STEM crisis is a value crisis.

Students are not focused on STEM as a career. Kids don't think STEM is accessible or attractive and STEM careers/professionals are not seen in a positive light. "In a free society you get what you celebrate and we celebrate sport and entertainment to obsession." We lead the world in sports and entertainment so they have gone from a national pastime to a national obsession.  But obsessing over sports and entertainment will never create national prosperity - leading in technology will.

The STEM problem is about demand and not supply. If the demand is there then everything else falls into place including better resources leading to better teaching leading to more STEM professionals. 

We must change the culture of the United States and we already have the roadmap to do this from sports and entertainment.  So Dean created FIRST.
"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders."
                                                                Dean Kamen, Founder
FIRST's Mission
Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
He made a science competition to compete with the Super Bowl!
He created inspiration and recognition for science and technology because teachers don't create demand. The culture and great companies will. The demand will drive the supply.
When the problem is defined and the free market is allowed to respond, great companies rise to the occasion

The results are staggering and it is great to see someone really look at an innovative solution to STEM.  One that REALLY works!

Monday, December 5, 2011

From STEM to STEAM

Adding Arts to STEM is gaining a little momentum according to an article in EdWeek - STEAM: Experts Make Case for Adding Arts to STEM . The theory is that you need to the arts for context, for design etc. and they are correct.  Coincidentally you also need English to succeed in college and in STEM subjects because if you can't read and write, you can't become a math, science or engineering expert. 

So you basically need a solid, well rounded education to succeed in STEM.  Who'd a thunk it.

STEM CONFERENCE! Put it on your calendar

U.S. News and Co-Presenters Innovate+Educate and STEMconnector select Dallas to host Major June 2012 Conference Addressing America's Severe Shortfall in STEM Skills

Co-sponsors of STEM Summit 2012: "STEM Means Jobs" include Intel, AT&T, Monster, Lockheed Martin, CSC, and Ingersoll-Rand joining with the Business Roundtable, College Board, The Manufacturing Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Math and Science Initiative / Laying the Foundation, and 33 co-chairs from industry, associations, and education.

WASHINGTON, DC—October 18, 2011—U.S. News & World Report together with Innovate + Educate, STEMconnector™, and over 40 key organizations representing industry and education, will hold a major national event to focus policymakers and the public on the critical shortage of STEM skills in the American workforce. The three-day session called STEM Summit 2012 convenes at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel on June 27, 28, and 29 and will explore solutions and successes in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as the pathways to jobs.

Following its successful STEM Summit 2011 at the National Press Club, the 2012 "STEM Means Jobs" event will draw thousands of participants, bringing together industry, government and associations with educators, top policymakers, and media. U.S. businesses are alarmed by the declining supply of STEM-trained workers. Many STEM-related jobs are going unfilled despite high unemployment.

"STEM education and science-related jobs are one of the nation's most critical issues" according to Mortimer B. Zuckerman, chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News. "There is much good work being done in different parts of the country, but it is essential to bring the best people and the best practices together. We want to highlight the most successful programs and help shape greater awareness of how important STEM education is for so many segments of society, including for women and economically disadvantaged communities. If we don't get better at this, we're going to miss the future."

Reflecting the urgency of the issue, major organizations were eager to lend support. The first National Co-Chairs include: Aerospace Industries Association (AIA); Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America (ASTRA); American Institute of Architects (AIA); American Geophysical Union (AGU); American Society for Engineering Education; Business and Industry STEM Education Coalition (BISEC); The Business Roundtable; Center for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL); Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD); Change the Equation; Coalition for Science Afterschool (CSAS); College Board; The Conrad Foundation; Converge US; Entertainment Industries Council; Corporate Voices for Working Families; Governing.com; Great Minds in STEM; Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU); Hispanic College Fund; Institute for a Competitive Workforce (U.S. Chamber of Commerce); Jobs for the Future; The Manufacturing Institute (of the National Association of Manufacturers); National Association for Equal Employment in Higher Education (NAFEO); National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT); National Conference of State Legislatures; National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA); National Girls Collaborative; NMSI; National Research Center for College & University Admissions (NRCCUA); Project Lead the Way; TechNET; and Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES).

Over the past ten years, growth in jobs needing STEM skills was three times that of other sectors. The Commerce Department projects those jobs will continue to outpace other sectors over the next ten years. Those jobs include many specialized fields such as computer engineering that are among the highest paying in the country, but also include attractive entry-level positions such as computer technicians.

"Technology and innovation are key drivers to economic growth and jobs," said John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable. "U.S. workforce training has to catch up to a global economy where more and more jobs require STEM training. CEO's and education leaders have an important role to play in linking STEM education to job creation."

"We believe this Summit is critical to bringing industry, policy, and education thought leaders together to create a collective impact to advance the future STEM workforce that will move our economy forward," said Jami Grindatto, Intel Corporation and chairman of Innovate+Educate. "We are pleased to partner with STEMconnector™ and U.S. News for this important conversation that will develop into action for our nation."

Intel is a founding sponsor along with Lockheed Martin, Monster, CSC and Ingersoll Rand. Each organization has a significant presence in promoting STEM education and careers.

"Lockheed Martin is proud to partner with Innovate+Educate and summit partners in highlighting national-level efforts that bring the excitement of science and technology to students," said Dr. Ray O. Johnson, the company's chief technology officer. "As a global security company, we understand the importance of fostering the next generation of innovators. A diverse technical workforce is vital to the success of our corporation and to our competitiveness as a nation."

The conference will organize the broad array of STEM workforce issues from how to engage middle school students to how technology can better link job openings with skill sets, connecting educators with job creators. A key challenge will be increasing public awareness of STEM among parents and students. While businesses are keenly aware of the shortfall in STEM work skills, most people are unfamiliar with the term STEM, let alone its connection to jobs.

"The entertainment industry and news media are key to creating the mass public awareness needed to inspire young people towards education and spotlight career paths that lead to innovation. We must connect these cornerstones of our economy," said Brian Dyak, president and CEO of the Entertainment Industries Council Inc.

"Connectivity – as exemplified by the STEM Summit -- is a key to smarter organization and linking the millions of stakeholders at all levels," said Dr. Mary Good, chairman of ASTRA and past president of the American Society for the Advancement of Science.

As one example of the breadth of the issues, Ray Mellado, CEO of Great Minds in STEM, focused on the need to advance Hispanic students in the field. "As we focus on the new American students and where they will find jobs, it means looking for new ways to collaborate."

"The work of earth and space scientists touches every aspect of our lives," said Christine McEntee, executive director of the American Geophysical Union. "The future depends on filling the shortage for earth and space scientists."

"Architecture is a STEM career," said Clark Manus, president of the American Institute of Architects. "In particular we are thrilled to be part of a program that will support AIA's ongoing diversity initiative which seeks to engage underrepresented youth about the design profession."

Added Rey Ramsey, president and CEO of TechNet: "It's critically important that our next generation of leaders have strong skills in the STEM fields."

Texas officials welcomed the conference, stressing the strong technology sector in the state and Dallas region as well as a progressive approach to education in U.S. News's recent ranking of Best High Schools for Math and Science; two were in Dallas and one in Houston.

"I am excited about the city of Dallas hosting this national STEM conference," said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. "Schools with a math and science emphasis are especially key to the success of our workforce, our economic growth and our future."

A Dallas host committee for STEM Summit 2012 is being formed by Innovate+Educate board member Eric Reeves.

For additional information on sponsorship opportunities, exhibition space and registration, visit http://usnewsstemsummit.com/. Follow STEM Summit 2012 on Facebook at:http://www.facebook.com/STEMsummit.

U.S. News & World Report is a print and digital publisher of news and information in the areas of politics, policy, education, health care, personal finance and other topics of consumer interest.

Innovate+Educate is a national non-profit led by Fortune 500 companies with a goal of aligning STEM education and workforce efforts on a state-by-state basis.

STEMconnector is a resource center and network that helps bring together the many STEM projects around the country with a website of more than 3,000 organizations dedicated to STEM education; jobs and diversity are key priorities.