The Australian Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, has released an action plan to raise the profile of science teaching and learning in Australian schools. The Australian School Science Education Action Plan 2008–2012, produced by Professors Denis Goodrum and Leonie Rennie, identifies challenges and opportunities in school science education in Australia, and proposes collaborative national action to address them. The plan calls for a greater national focus on curriculum development including digital resources, improved student assessment, innovative approaches to teacher professional development, implementation of teaching standards, improved financial rewards for teachers, and more time devoted in schools to science education. See Minister's media statement 16 August 2007.
The US Government's What Works Clearinghouse has undertaken a review of beginning-reading programs. The review has found that 'none of the most popular commercial reading programs on the market had sufficiently rigorous studies to be included in the review' by the Clearinghouse, according to an article in Edweek 15 August 2007 (registration required). Only the Reading Recovery program was found to have positive effects or potentially positive effects across alphabetics, fluency, comprehension, and general reading achievement. However, Reading Recovery has previously drawn criticism from other US Government officials who claimed it was not scientifically based. Other popular programs found to have some potentially positive effects include Success for All, Voyager Universal Literacy System, and Accelerated Reader.
The education of thousands of South Australian school students is suffering because they are acting as carers for their parents or other family members, according to a report in The Advertiser 22 August 2007. The carers are said to include children as young as nine years of age.
Parramatta Bishop Kevin Manning has said that Catholic schools are 'overly expensive and the church has become too middle-class' according to an article 19 August 2007 in the Sydney Morning Herald, which also cites the Bishop as saying that the Catholic clergy was 'too focused on theology at the expense of engaging with people'.
Queensland's Department of Education and the Arts is offering up to 15 scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to become public school teachers through the Pearl Duncan Teaching Scholarships program. See Ministerial media release, 23 August 2007.
A new program aims to support Indigenous secondary students in Alice Springs to complete Year 12 and make the transition to further education or employment. Thirty-three Year 7–12 students have so far been selected to take part. See article in National Indigenous Times, 9 August 2007.
The US Congress is considering several bills to attract more students and working adults into maths and science teaching. The proposals expand existing incentives, such as scholarships and loan forgiveness, which have so far produced modest results. See article in Edweek published online 31 July 2007 (registration required).
Forthcoming revisions to the secondary curriculum in India will significantly sharpen the presentation of political controversies and will seek to move students from rote learning to critical thinking. A forthcoming Indian politics textbook refers explicitly to controversial events such as emergency rule under former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the mid-1970s, and attacks on Muslims five years ago. One chapter asks students to 'identify two aspects of India's foreign policy that you would like to retain and two you would like to change'. See article 14 August 2007 in the International Herald Tribune.
Research in Britain has found that teachers responsible for identifying top pupils feel that far too many are labelled as 'gifted and talented'. See report 5 August 2007 in The Observer (on Guardian website).
A school district in the USA will spend US$200,000 replacing wood chips with pea gravel at 35 playgrounds in response to a fire blamed on spontaneous combustion of wood chips. See report in Houston and Texas News 14 August 2007.
Junk food will be banned at school canteens in South Australia from 2008. In preparation, healthy eating workshops for canteen managers, principals, teachers and parents will be held this school term. See Ministerial media announcement, 22 August 2008.