The Best of Our Knowledge
4:00 am
Mon May 18, 2009

The Best of Our Knowledge # 974

Albany, NY – "A COMPLETE AND COMPETITIVE AMERICAN EDUCATION," Pt. 2 of 2
EDUCATION POLICY REMARKS BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA AT
THE U.S. HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN WASHINGTON -

President Barack Obama supports a new approach to education - one that would reward good teachers, remove limits on charter schools, and lengthen both the school day and the school year.

Mr. Obama opened his recent education reform speech before the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce - promoting pre-K education. Last week, in our program number 973, we broadcast some of those comments, including his proposal for Early Learning Challenge Grants. You can hear those online at: http://www.wamc.org/prog-tbook.html

This week, President Obama talks about: better standards and assessments; recruiting, preparing, and rewarding outstanding teachers; and promoting innovation and excellence.

This was his first, and thus far only, major policy speech on education.

Glenn Busby reports. (9:46)

**(Attention Listeners and Program Directors. The website given at the conclusion of the above segment for those who might like to see a video presentation of some of the president's remarks is: www.ed.gov.)**

ASTROBIOLOGY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION SERIES
"SEDIMENTARY AND GROUNDWATER HISTORY OF THE
BURNS FORMATION, MERIDIANI PLANUM, MARS" -

As we reported on earlier this year, NASA's Mars Rovers are celebrating their 5th birthday on the red planet. The rover Spirit landed on Mars early in 2004 with rover Opportunity touching down a mere 21 days later.

The rovers have returned over 250-thousand images, covered more than 21 kilometers, climbed a mountain, descended into craters, struggled with sand traps and aging hardware, and survived dust storms.

All along the way, Dr. Scott McLennan and a handful of his graduate students have been there to research and record fascinating discoveries. Dr. McLennan is a Professor of Geochemistry, Department of Geosciences, at the University of New York at Stony Brook.

As a member of the Science Team for the Mars Exploration Rover Missions, his role has been to support mission planning and operations, and carry out research using the most recently returned data from Mars.

Glenn Busby reports. (8:51)

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 partnership with the University at Albany, the University of Arizona, and Syracuse University.

**(For more information about this story, or any of the other 150 stories featured in this 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.)**

EDUCATION HEADLINES AND UPDATES -

A jury in Denver has ruled that the University of Colorado illegally fired Ward Churchill in response to statements protected by the first amendment. But the jury awarded the controversial ethnic-studies scholar only a token one-dollar in damages. Colleges are reportedly confused as to what impact that verdict may have on the issue of academic freedom. University of Colorado system President, Bruce Benson, issued a written statement saying, "While we respect the jury's decision, we strongly disagree." President Benson said the verdict "doesn't change the fact that 21 of Ward Churchill's faculty peers on three separate panels unanimously found he engaged in deliberate and repeated plagiarism, falsification, and fabrication that fell below the minimum standards of professional conduct."

Glenn Busby reports. (1:05)