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Afternoon Announcements: September 12, 2011

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September 12, 2011 05:35 pm

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According to the Washington Post, a new report shows Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks are underrepresented in U.S. jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in large part because of a lack of equality in educational opportunity. The report, from the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration, states that regardless of race and Hispanic origin, higher college graduation rates are associated with higher shares of workers with STEM jobs. The Obama administration has made increasing and improving STEM education a priority, asserting that the country’s economic future depends on a strong workforce in these fields.

Over the weekend, many newspapers reported on how teachers go about educating students on 9/11 and terrorism. The Washington Post reported on a new study that shows most states do not include a direct mention of the 9/11 attacks in their social studies/history standards, and only four states actually named Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda. The report was released by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tisch College at Tufts University. The Huffington Post reported on the same topic, but focused on how teachers who were teaching about 9/11 were going about their lesson plans. Because the subject is in so few traditional textbooks, teachers are having to go come up with unique ways to engage students – through the Internet, video clips, newspaper articles, and a lot of discussion.

According to the Associated Press, a new partnership among Alaska schools could help improve distance education  in the state, which could in turn providing students in rural areas the classes they need to qualify for a new state scholarship program. The program, called Alaska’s Learning Network, is now working under a one-year startup grant.

The federal Education Department is awarding Nevada more than $14 million in literacy grants to improve the way instructors teach reading. The department this week announced that Nevada was one of six states that will be dividing the $180 million in grant money, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Florida is expanding its digital education reach this year with a new law that will allow more students to learn online. The Orlando Sentinel reports that many people are excited about the expansion, but some worry it is an effort to cut costs, not boost education. In other digital education news, the Associated Press reports the Idaho Board of Education gave initial approval last week to require high school students to take at least two credits online in order to graduate.

According to the Associated Press, Iowa is joining the group of states considering applying for a waiver from the federal law No Child Left Behind. Iowa Education Department Director Jason Glass told the AP he supports seeking a waiver to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind law, arguing the state can adopt more effective rules that raise teaching standards and measure student progress.

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