The Best of Our Knowledge
12:49 am
Mon July 3, 2006

The Best of Our Knowledge # 824

Albany, NY – THE 2005 U.S. NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS SCIENCE RESULTS -
The 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress science
results were announced recently in Washington, D.C. The NAEP,
the so-called Nation's Report Card, was administered to some
300-thousand students across the country in 4th, 8th, and 12th grades.
The report on science contains some encouraging news for schools
with 4th graders. They showed improvements in science over 1996
and 2000 levels. However, 8th graders showed now gains. And 12th
graders actually lost ground. A few days ago TBOOK spoke with the
Assistant Secretary for Education at the Office of Planning, Evaluation,
and Policy Development, Tom Luce. Luce explained those results.
Glenn Busby reports. (5:58)

**(Program Directors please note. If listeners would like to read more
about the NAEP results, go to the Dept. of Ed.'s National Center for
Education Statistics website : www.nces,ed.gov)**

FIRST EVER KINDER EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD GIVES $100,000 TO DENVER KINDERGARTEN TEACHER LINDA ALSTON -
A Denver teacher has won the first 100-thousand dollar Kinder Excellence
in Teaching Award. In Linda Alston's classroom...math, science and
reading aren't the only things kindergartners are expected to learn.
Grace and courtesy are just as important, and everything in Alston's
Fairview Elementary School class...from the plants, the china teacups,
to the pitcher and bowl used to wash tiny hands...has been placed there
to foster those lessons. The award's creators, Rich and Nancy Kinder
of Houston, claim this is the largest unrestricted award for a K thru 12
teacher in U.S. history. The Kinders hope the dollars call attention to
what they describe as low pay for teachers. Alston's students come
from poor, disadvantaged families. Indeed, to be eligible for the award,
teachers must have worked in a school with at least 50% of its students qualifying for a free or reduced lunch program. Linda Alston is a
graduate of Howard University, and previously won the National
Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Council of Negro
Women in 1996. She hopes to use the money to travel to South
Africa and learn about education there.
Dr. Karen Hitchcock reports. (2:19)

**(Program Directors please note. For more info about the above story,
or for people wishing to place teacher names in nomination for next year,
the website is: www.kinderaward.org)**

MASSACHUSETTS STATE SCIENCE FAIR -
Since the first story in our show today was on science scores, we
figured we'd seize the opportunity to take listeners along on a road
trip to a state science fair. Not just any fair. This is the Massachusetts
State Science Fair where world renowned colleges and universities
reside, like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pittsfield
High School is an older inner-city public high school in Massachusetts'
Western most county. It's a community that has battled with the loss
of major industries in the past few years. So it's had to deal with all
the social issues that come with high unemployment. But recently,
Pittsfield High School and its surrounding community received some
great news. Several chemistry students won awards at the
Massachusetts State Science Fair. This science fair is in its 57th year
promoting inquiry, excitement and fun in STEM - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Fair accomplishes this through a
consortium of resources...corporate, governmental, and educational
sectors. In fact, one of the highly sought prizes comes from a law firm
that awards a complete patent application process. TBOOK traveled
with the Pittsfield students on their bus, watched them and 350 other
students display their science projects, and then attended the exciting
awards ceremony.
Susan Arbetter reports from Massachusetts. (10:15)

**(Program Directors please note. For listeners seeking information
on the Massachusetts State Science Fair and a complete list of winners,
log onto their web site: www.scifair.com)**