Thursday STEM Express: STEM and the Arts, What About the Social Sciences, Community Colleges
Bipartisan Congressional STEAM Caucus “Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) have announced the formation of the Congressional STEAM (STEM+Arts and Design) Caucus. The group will host briefings and advocate for policy changes that will encourage educators to integrate arts, broadly defined, with traditional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum.The goal is to encourage the creativity needed to drive our innovation economy forward. A kickoff briefing sponsored by the Rhode Island School of Design was held today on Capitol Hill.” (Press Office of Rep. Bonamici)
University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in STEM Fields: Evidence from California
“Using student-level data on the University of California system during a period in which racial preferences were in place, we show significant sorting into majors based on academic preparation, with science majors at each campus having on average stronger credentials than their non-science counterparts. Students with relatively weaker academic preparation are significantly more likely to leave the sciences and take longer to graduate at each campus. We show the vast majority of minority students would be more likely to graduate with a science degree and graduate in less time had they attended a lower ranked university. Similar results do not apply for non-minority students.” (Peter Arcidiacono, Esteban M. Aucejo, V. Joseph Hotz—NBER Working Paper)
“Over 90 percent of Washington voters think students will have more opportunities if they have strong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills, while nearly 70 percent of Washington voters think schools expect too little of students in these areas, according to a new poll.
The survey conducted for Washington STEM, a nonprofit devoted to improving teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and math, also found that three out of four Washington voters believe computer science classes should count as a high school math or science credit.” (Press Release)
Five habits of great students: Lessons from top-ranked STEM school
Many factors affect how well students do in school, but among them are how the students themselves approach their work and learning. Here are some of the habits of successful students at High Technology High School in Lincroft, New Jersey, which was ranked the #1 STEM high school in the nation by U.S. News last year (for those who think rankings have any value). This was written by Jonathan Olsen (@jonathanaolsen) and Sarah Mulhern Gross (@thereadingzone), who team-teach an integrated humanities program to ninth grade students at High Technology.” (Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post)
“Believe it or not, math is really an art. While the subject can seem far from it when you’re caught in the doldrums of class, there’s a lot about math that’s just as creative as a Jackson Pollock and elegant as a rendition of Swan Lake. But some of us still run from those dreaded numbers, swearing up and down that it’s too complex, too rigid and just plain not fun.
“Still unconvinced? Check out these eight videos that explore the beauty of math, both in its simplicity and its complexity. There are practical applications of math theory, quick tricks to save you time and make you look like a genius and even a little history thrown in that shows how math is truly an awesome thing.” (Lauren Hockenson, Mashable)
Politicians, Business Leaders Ask High Schoolers to Consider Community College
“Four-year colleges are often seen as the natural next step for high school students, but business leaders and politicians want teens to consider another option: community college.
“An associate degree from a two-year technical program may be the quickest route for recent high school graduates to enter a stable, lucrative career field. It may also be the only way to keep up with workforce demands, said President Obama.” (Kelsey Sheehy, U.S. News & World Report)
“I’m told that, at the K-12 level, the relative neglect of ‘social studies’ is an outgrowth of No Child Left Behind. I’m old enough not to believe that. It didn’t get much attention before NCLB, either; at most, NCLB may be guilty of making a bad situation worse. But it was already bad.
“Popular versions of the social sciences sell quite well. Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Ariely, Nate Silver, and the Freakonomics guys wouldn’t have the careers they do if it were otherwise. The subject matter of social sciences — money, power, sex — certainly holds popular interest. And from a scholarly point of view, the social sciences offer a wonderful duality. They’re both intuitive and empirical. They lend themselves nicely to both qualitative and quantitative analysis. In fact, the best work tends to draw deliberately on both. As ‘general education,’ it’s excellent.
“Yet it’s largely forgotten.“ (Matt Reed, Inside Higher Ed)