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Rosen promotes STEM to bolster state’s workforce

The Las Vegas Sun – Mick Akers

“Educators and politicians are looking for more ways to ensure an educated workforce for Nevada’s tech-related jobs. Getting youngsters started early on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) path is essential, according to U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., who spoke to a group of students in various science and technology majors at the College of Southern Nevada Henderson campus on Friday. Making it fun, especially with programs such as robotics clubs, is the best way to engage students as early as elementary school, Rosen said.”(more)

The Issues: Why STEM Education Must Begin in Early Childhood Education

UNLV – Kelsey Hand

“Research has demonstrated that the drive to explore, interact, and observe in human beings begins in early childhood, long before middle and high school, and even before elementary school. At the same time, the nation’s economy is moving toward technologically based industries, creating growth in demand for workers proficient in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The question is, how can Nevada cultivate a generation of adults that is prepared to thrive in the 21st century economy? The answer is, begin recruiting and training them to serve in early childhood education capacities. Despite overwhelming evidence in support of this approach, high-quality STEM programming has not yet been incorporated into early childhood education.”(more)

Learning a new language shouldn’t be foreign to Americans

The Las Vegas Review Journal – PAUL HARASIM

“Research shows that only 18 percent of Americans report speaking a language other than English, compared with nearly 60 of percent of Europeans. According to former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in 2008 just one quarter of U.S. elementary schools — the level when students best learn languages, research shows — offered foreign language instruction. Usyk can’t understand why foreign language instruction isn’t mandatory in American elementary schools. Just 10 states require foreign language study for high school graduation. Nevada’s not one of them. Of the Clark County School District’s more than 200 elementary schools, about a dozen schools offer a foreign language. Usyk said she’s teaching her 22-month-old son, Matthew, both English and Russian, and he’s picking up both. She’d like him to learn an additional language in school. “Children are sponges when they’re young. That’s when they learn languages overseas, ” Usyk said. “I’m sure he’ll be more marketable the more languages he knows.” Though Matthew then said “da,” I couldn’t tell whether he was using the Russian word for yes or noting in baby talk that he was picking up his bat.”(more)

Social-Emotional Learning: States Collaborate to Craft Standards, Policies

Education Week – Evie Blad

“Eight states will work collaboratively to create and implement plans to encourage social-emotional learning in their schools, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning announced this month. The organization, which is also known as CASEL, will assist the states through consultation with its own staff and a panel of experts. The participating states are California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington. And an 11 additional states that originally applied to join the collaborative will have access to the materials it develops. Each participating state has a unique plan, and many of those plans include creating developmentally sensitive standards that show how social and emotional skills are demonstrated at each grade level, developing materials to infuse traditional classroom concepts with social-emotional learning concepts, building strategies for state-level support, and implementing professional-development plans for schools about the subject.”(more)

Latinos need access to STEM education

The Las Vegas Review Journal – ROBERT T. MALDONADO

“It’s a ritual that’s becoming more rampant across the nation. The alarm on your smartphone goes off, and before jumping in the shower or brushing your teeth, you first check your email, Facebook or both. While some of us may lament this new intrusion on our morning routine, it’s a simple fact of life that smartphones and other forms of new technology are becoming an integral part of our daily lives. In fact, technology is now the key to success in this increasingly digital economy, especially for younger generations. Latinos, whose median age (27 years old) is a full decade lower than that of the U.S. overall, stand to gain the most from this changing economy, but only if we acquire the skills, knowledge and resources necessary to take full advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.”(more)

If teacher shortage persists, ‘we’re all going to sink’

The Las Vegas Sun – Michelle Rindels

“Nevada’s two largest school districts this week said they’d hired hundreds of first-time teachers over the summer with the help of recruiters, billboards and even a Clark County superintendent zip-lining through downtown Las Vegas in a superhero cape. But when it was Nevada Board of Education President Elaine Wynn’s chance to speak about the nearly 1,000 teacher positions statewide that still remain vacant and are being filled with stopgap measures such as long-term subs, she didn’t mince words. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this alarmed in my job as I have been today,” Wynn said at a board meeting Thursday, calling the situation a human resource crisis. “We’re going to all sink. This is horrific.” Nevada is suffering an acute teacher shortage as its student population rises and its primary supplier of educators — California — deals with a shortage of its own. Colleges there are producing fewer teaching graduates, and Nevada colleges are far from being able to churn out enough homegrown education graduates to meet the state’s needs.”(more)