The Best of Our Knowledge
12:36 pm
Mon February 22, 2010

The Best of Our Knowledge # 1014

Albany, NY – TBOOK GOES ONE ON ONE WITH EDUCATION SECRETARY DUNCAN:

NCLB RENEWAL, NAME CHANGE, AND RACE TO THE TOP UPDATE -

According to a new international study, relatively small improvements in students' educational performance, can have large impacts on a nation's future economic well-being. That comes from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

In the U.S., Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education says, "This report provides powerful evidence that educational improvements make important and lasting impacts not only in the lives of students, but in the livelihood of nations."

Base on those findings, many educators now believe that raising assessment scores and learning outcomes by even a few points, could result in a community, state, or country generating billions of more dollars in GDP.

Reports like this one certainly add fuel to the fire for the Obama administration's plans to reshape public education in America. TBOOK had this private interview with Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to talk about NCLB renewal, charter schools, get an update on the Race to the Top competition, and more.

Glenn Busby reports. (8:41)

ASTROBIOLOGY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION SERIES

"ORGANICS IN DISKS:
DO YOUNG STAR SYSTEMS HAVE THE INGREDIENTS FOR LIFE?"
Part One: The Students -

Updating some news from outer space:

Scientists remain amazed by the Mars Rovers. The Rovers continue to operate on the surface of Mars six-years beyond their planned life-expectancy. Rover Spirit is having some mobility issues. But otherwise can perform experiments. The other Rover, Opportunity, is still driving around the planet. Opportunity has worked 24 times longer than planned, and has returned more than 133-thousand images. Now, it's uncovered a dark rock about the size of a basketball that's allowing scientists to get a glimpse deep inside ancient Mars.

And just last month, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, announced they've broken the distance limit for galaxies, by uncovering a primordial population of compact and ultra-blue galaxies never before seen. Scientists believe they're from 13-billion years ago, a mere 600 to 800 million years after the Big Bang. These newly found objects are crucial to understanding the evolutionary link between the birth of the first stars and the formation of the first galaxies.

And that brings us to our astrobiology research and education series, today featuring Dr. Erika Gibb, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Glenn Busby reports. (8:43)

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 additional information about this story, or any of the other more than 150 stories featured in this current and past exclusive Origins of Life 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 )**

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