“For Your Child’s Sake, Don’t Hate on Math”

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          U.S. Department of Education

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In the News

For Your Child's Sake, Don't Hate on Math  

At a dinner out, are you relieved when someone else offers to “do the math?”  Have you admitted to not understanding the details of your taxes, your refinance, or even your paycheck? And yet – you probably compare prices on groceries, cell phones, and airline tickets.  You look for sales and discounts.  You mentally inventory the contents of your refrigerator and estimate if you need to buy that extra pack of cheese for lunches.  You track your calories to lose weight.  Where is this going?  The question that really matters: If your child complains about his/her math homework, have you sighed and said, “Don’t worry – I was bad at math too…?”

Why you shouldn't 'hate on math' in a blog by Camsie McAdams, ED's Senior Advisor on STEM >>>


Telling the Truth on Achievement Gaps Improves Education 

In education, it sometimes takes courage to do what ought to be common sense.  That’s a key lesson from several recent national and international assessments of U.S. education. Collectively, these assessments demonstrate extraordinary progress in the places where leaders have worked hardest and most consistently to bring change — but also a national failure to make nearly enough progress to keep up with our competitors.   The changes America’s children need to get a better education require political courage and hard work.  In many cases the steps are surprisingly straightforward — and can be taken anywhere.  

Read Secretary Duncan’s recent op-ed in The Washington Post >>>

Input on ED Blog, Newsletter, and Social Media

The Department is committed to providing content that is informative, useful, and interesting.  So, as we begin a new year, we want to hear from you.  What information and resources do you want to see on our blog, newsletters, and social media?  Is there something you like about our digital communications that you are hoping we continue?  What do you feel we should be deemphasizing?  Please let us know by commenting here or tell us on Twitter, including our handle @usedgov in the tweet.>>>



Go Green in 2014  

The Green Schools National Conference is March 27-29th in Sacramento, CA.  This year’s keynote speakers include Matt Bogoshian, U.S. EPA's Senior Policy Counsel at the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and Yalmaz Siddiqui, Senior Director of Environmental Strategy for Office Depot.  Find out more about the program, including Solution Summits, pre-conference excursions and a special Student Summit.>>>


The 2014 Climate Leadership Conference is February 24-26th in San Diego, CA.

Hosted at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, the Climate Leadership Conference convenes around U.S. EPA’s Climate Leadership Awards, and is produced by the Association of Climate Change Officers, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, and The Climate Registry. >>>


International School Meals Day is March 6, 2014

The 2014 International School Meals Day is March 6th, 2014, also World Book Day.  Schools around the world can celebrate the Day by promoting healthy eating and learning, using the theme Food Stories.  Schools and organizations can connect across the world and share their stories about food through established online education platforms that allow students and teachers to experience learning and teaching beyond their classroom wall, including Connecting Classrooms and Skype in the Classroom>>>

Globalize Your Classroom

Teachers for Global Classroomsa professional development program funded by the U.S. Department of State, offers middle and high school teachers an online Global Education course, a Global Education Symposium in Washington, DC, and a two to three-week international travel fellowship. Applications are due March 11, 2014. >>>

ED to Announce U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools on Earth Day

On April 22nd, 2014, Secretary Duncan will announce that the 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees have been selected and you will be able to see the full list of awardees on our website.  The honorees’ best practices will be detailed in our annual Highlights report.  You will be able to view the Secretary’s announcement live here.   In July, at a private ceremony, the representatives from selected schools and districts will be invited to receive their sustainable plaques and flags.  Even as we select and prepare to announce the 2014 honorees, ED will be working to publish the 2014-2015 criteria for states, with an exciting new post-secondary award category, by June.  This year, states will again be asked to indicate their non-binding intent by August 1st, 2014 to provide nominees to ED by February 1st, 2015.


School Environmental Health, Wellness and Safety

Joint Statement of Collaboration for Local School Wellness Policies

On Monday, January 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a Joint Statement of Collaboration for Local School Wellness Policies.  Numerous national associations and organizations joined the USDA in support of local school wellness policies as part efforts to create a healthy environment for children. >>>

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs: A Guide for Schools

The Center for Disease Control recently published Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs: A Guide for Schools.  The guide covers all the key components of a comprehensive school physical activity program, including physical education, physical activity during school, physical activity before and after school, staff involvement, and family and community engagement.>>>


National Radon Action Month

To celebrate National Radon Action Month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages you to test and fix your school facilities for radon.  According to an EPA survey, thousands of schools have high radon levels and nearly 20 percent of schools had at least one classroom with concentrations above EPA’s guidance.  Using the Framework for Effective School Indoor Air Quality Management, you can address radon risk as part of a comprehensive indoor air quality management program.  Learn more about radon testing and mitigation in your school by visiting the EPA's radon home page, or contact your state office for local information and specific recommendations.   

A recent article further explains how radon remains largely unaddressed in our nation’s schools. >>>

State School Health Policy Matrix

As leaders across the country seek to improve student health, there is a growing need for tools to help navigate the complex world of school health policy. The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, the National Association of State Boards of Education and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance have worked together to develop a guide to state school health policies for the following topics: competitive foods and beverages, physical education and physical activity, and administration of medication in the school environment.  The State School Health Policy Matrix outlines state policies, along with which entity or agency adopted the policy or issued the guidance. >>>

The School Climate and Discipline Guidance

On January 8th, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released a School Climate and Discipline Package.  The goals of this guidance package are to reduce exclusionary discipline rates to ensure students don’t lose valuable classroom time, to put an end to racial disparities in discipline, and to encourage schools and districts to create positive school climates by using research-based discipline policies and best practices. >>>


Grants, Contests and Awards

Second Annual William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Awards

The Center for Environmental Policy at American University is currently accepting nominations for the Second Annual William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Awards.  These awards recognize individuals in the government, private, and non-profit sectors who have contributed to innovation in environmental solutions or policy, engaged diverse stakeholders, and helped develop future environmental leaders, among other criteria. Nominations close on January 31, 2014. >>>

DoSomething.org Seed Grants

A $500 Do Something Seed Grant is given out every week to help young people engaged in community action projects.  These grants can be used towards project ideas and programs that are just getting started, or to invigorate an existing project and take it to the next level. These grants are available on an ongoing basis. >>>

Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge

The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge provides K-12 students with tools and inspiration to improve their schools, communities and their world, through project-based learning. Students learn about science and conservation while creating solutions that impact their planet. Students K-12 can participate in the challenge until March 4th. >>>

Earth Day Sustainable School Food Journalism Contest

The Earth Day Network is accepting entries from high school students for the 2014 Healthy and Sustainable School Food Journalism Competition. The competition is designed to highlight the hard facts about school food in the words of students, ages 13-18, who eat it.  Articles and photographs must be about the importance of healthy, sustainable food served in school; what the student's school community is doing to combat climate change; and how the student's school is promoting environmental education.  The contest is open until February 28th. >>>


Odds and Ends 


Climate Change Science 2013: Haiku

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released its Fifth Assessment Report which is over 2,000 pages long. Climate Change Science 2013: Haiku by Gregory C. Johnson is an example of science communication using the arts in which he attempts to distill the report down to 19 illustrated haiku. >>>

The Value of Environmental Education

A video from the North American Association for Environmental Education details students’ thoughts on the field of environmental education, how it builds community, enhances learning, and changes lives for future generations. >>>