The Best of Our Knowledge
1:28 pm
Mon November 23, 2009

The Best of Our Knowledge # 1001

Albany, NY – NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION COMMITS SIX-MILLION DOLLARS TO
ENCOURAGE TEACHING AT HIGH-NEEDS SCHOOLS

"TURN AROUND FOR GREAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS INITIATIVE", Pt. 2 of 2 -

Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, spoke recently to members of the National
Association of State Boards of Education at their annual conference. Secretary
Duncan invited state education leaders to join him in partnership to reform
schools across the country, and to clarify the federal government's role in
advancing reforms. Duncan said that policy makers, educators, and community
leaders need to work together to narrow the student achievement gap.

To no one's surprise, the NEA, the National Education Association, the country's
largest teacher's union, shares many of the administration goals. And with the
NEA's report, the "Turnaround for Great Public Schools Initiative", it's pledging 6-
million dollars to develop comprehensive strategies and policies to increase
teacher effectiveness in "high-needs" schools.

Last week, our Show # 1000 (you can still hear that online at
http://www.wamc.org/prog-tbook.html) briefly broached this story by finding out
why the NEA decided to make this move now and how the NEA will identify the
one-thousand "high-needs" schools it plans to target.

This week, in an extended conversation with NEA Executive Director, John
Wilson, we learn that the union funds are to be focused on four major strategies
including: pay incentives, national board certification, and where appropriate, even
amending contracts with school systems.

Glenn Busby reports. (8:00)

**(Find out more about the NEA Initiative online at their website: www.nea.org.)**

ASTROBIOLOGY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION SERIES

"MOVING BEYOND SULFATE-DEPENDENT METHANE OXIDATION IN COLD SEEPS", Pt. 2 of 2 -

While "Trekkies" may subscribe to "outer space as the final frontier", scientists are discovering that "inner space" holds many keys to our understanding of life on Earth and possible life on other planets.

Dr. Christopher House, Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University, is one of those researchers looking at "inner space." More specifically, Dr. House is studying sediments from deep beneath the seafloor.

This marine biosphere may be one of the largest reservoirs of biomass on Earth, representing perhaps one-third of Earth's biomass. It's a unique, widespread, and largely understudied microbial ecosystem that influences large-scale geo-chemical cycles. It could even help regulate Earth's climate.

Last week, we talked about an earlier period of Earth's history, some 3-billion years ago a time when Earth's atmosphere evolved into one with lots more oxygen, and how this changing environment provided the foundation for animals and plants.

This week, we discuss how this research impacts the way we understand climate change, plus in the discovery process, new genes are found.

Glenn Busby reports. (10:03)

The preceding is made possible by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, through support of the New York Center for Astrobiology, located at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - in partnerships with the University at Albany, the University of Arizona, and Syracuse University.

**(For more information about this story, or any of the other more than 150 stories featured in this current and past exclusive radio series, or if you would like to hear them again via your computer, the website given at the conclusion of the above segment is: www.origins.rpi.edu )**