Hello Everyone,
    I can't believe that summer is over and we are already 3 weeks in to the school year.  I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing summer and that you were able to participate in one or more of the many professional opportunities that were available in South Dakota.   I was a 2nd year teacher in the Laying the Foundation workshop that the TIE office brings to us.   As usual, it was fantastic and I will continue to use the lab activities I learned there. 
    In July, I attended the STEM conference in Washington, DC and the NCSE (National Congress on Science Education) conference in Baltimore.  Luckily, they were both the same week and in the same area so I was able to attend both of them.   Steve Robinson, White House Domestic Policy Council & Michael Lach, Special Assistant for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education, U. S. Department of Education were available to answer questions.   
Here is a very brief summary of what we heard from this panel:    * There is 3 Billion dollars available for professional development.     *Science needs to get common core standards asap to be included in the testing.  (We are in the process of getting this done.  The framework is completed and can be downloaded at : https://download.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13165.)       *Good teachers should be rewarded but the problem remains:  How can you determine teacher effectiveness?   To date, no one has come up with a good way to measure teacher effectiveness.  If you have a good plan, the Dept. of Ed has an open portal.  Submit your idea to them.
    If there are no decisions made concerning NCLB very soon, nothing will be done until

after 2012 as that is the election year.    (Keep in mind that while this conference was going on, Congress was in the middle of the budget debate.)
    Although they never actually said this, what I gathered from this panel was the NCLB will be going away in the future but something else will take its place. 
Here are some of the main concepts I learned at the NCSE conference:
There is a big push for Title II to become competitive grants instead of a base formula.    Eighty percent would still be administered via the formula but 20 % with be through competitive grants.
As of July 14, the House ESEA Bills that were presented were the
New Priorities in Education Spending ActEmpowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act and the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act.  The senate had promised a bill but as of that date, no bill had been submitted.  It would take too much space to summarize these acts.   Just Google the act and read about it.
The Dept. of Ed will waive some provisions of NCLB if the states agree to certain conditions (didn't elaborate on the conditions).   
More money is going to be put in to the "Race to the Top" competitive STEM education Grants.
If ESEA reauthorization is not done this fall, it won't happen until after the election.
    Before I close, I want to remind you of a few things.  2011 has been designated the International Year of Chemistry by the 
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