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Arne Duncan Says STEM Programs Could Be Game-Changer For Chicago

CBS Chicago – Staff Writer

“One way to stem Chicago street violence might be more STEM programs in the city’s schools. Former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan dropped in at a South Side high school Friday to give one STEM program a boost. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley has more. Chicago Vocational students like freshman Makiya Wright once viewed science and math like castor oil.”(more)

Foreign language in elementary school: more talk, less grammar

The Chicago Tribune Kimberly Fornek

“In language classes in area elementary schools, students spend less time memorizing vocabulary lists and conjugating verbs and more time speaking and writing the language. “We may be learning fewer vocabulary words, but the words students learn they will remember and use on a daily basis,” said Kyle Schumacher, superintendent of La Grange Elementary District 102..”(more)

Toymakers want to bring STEM to playtime, filling gaps from schools

The Chicago Tribune – Cheryl V. Jackson

“The toy industry is looking to fill a gap where schools might not be teaching STEM, said Robin Raskin, founder of lifestyle technology conference producer Living in Digital Times. “Ninety percent of parents want their kids to learn computer science, but only 40 percent of schools teach computer science,” she said during the Chicago Toy and Game Inventors Conference. Learning Resources has shifted its business mix in recent years to reflect that, to about 55 percent consumers and 45 percent schools. Its business base had previously been about 90 percent schools.”(more)

This tech academy is using project-based learning to close the STEM gap

E-School News – Laura Devaney

“Across the country, more and more schools are implementing project-based learning and forging partnerships with businesses to help students build real-world skills to succeed in college and the workforce. Take Chicago’s Chicago Tech Academy High School for example. While ChiTech, as the school is known, aims to help students become leaders, it also seeks to increase the number of minority and low-income students pursuing STEM in college and the workforce. Since 2009, the school’s graduation and college enrollment rates have steadily increased. School leaders focus on closing the technology gender gap by teaching female students to code and build websites and apps.”(more)

5 States in Crisis: Budget Battles, Court Challenges, Political Bickering Leave Schools Millions Short

The 74 Million – Carolyn Phenicie

“Chicago Schools are laying off 1,000 staff members. In Kansas, schools closed their doors early. And the situation in Oklahoma schools is truly grim. In Oklahoma City Schools, leaders first cut 208 teaching positions, then 92 members of the administrative staff. Fine arts budgets will be cut in half for the upcoming school year, and there will be no money for new library materials. Oklahoma’s Newcastle Public Schools will start charging $100 per student for extracurricular activities — and that’s after district officials have already eliminated most field trips, increased class sizes, delayed a major textbook purchase and moved to a four-day school week. Celebrity talk show host Ellen DeGeneres helped one elementary school librarian in the state’s Union Public School District pay for a summer reading program. Leaders in Tulsa are filling budget holes with a community fundraiser, forebodingly called “SOS” — Save our Schools.”(more)

Feature: Chinese language learning open doors for American students

Xinhua Net – Li Ming and Xu Jing

“When Fuschi was at her first grade in elementary school, her mother got her enrolled in a Chinese language class. “My family was very supportive. Since then, I’ve always loved learning Chinese,” said Fuschi, adding that she hoped to use the language in her future job. “The number of students learning Chinese have boomed since the institute first opened in 2006,” Lu said. “Some kids are learning out of pure interest; others, especially their parents, think the language can be an important skill for future career.” Lu’s words were echoed by many other educators attending the Chinese Language Conference. Josette Sheeran, President and CEO of Asia Society, believed that U.S.-China trade has become a major factor that boosts the heat of Chinese language learning in the United States.”(more)