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Media Advisory 08-002

Science Education Brings Together Government and Corporate Leaders

NSF sponsors workshop in Washington, D.C., Jan. 15-16

students in science lab

Science education is the focus of an NSF-sponsored workshop in Washington, D.C.

January 10, 2008

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Science education and its relationship to workforce development is the focus of a workshop and exhibition for federal, regional, state and local decision-makers with interests in high quality science education and the workforce "pipeline." Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Governors Association (NGA), the workshop is being held Jan. 15-16, 2008, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Among those scheduled to attend are Gov. Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania; Cathleen Barton, U.S. education manager for Intel Corporation; and Ruth Wooden, president of Public Agenda, a nonpartisan opinion research and civic engagement organization.

Key topics include new tools for advancing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through identifying ongoing investments, enhancing community engagement and measuring the results of teachers' professional development. In addition, the workshop will highlight partnerships that engage federal and state agencies, K-12 and higher education with business and industry to build a statewide infrastructure for motivating and preparing more students for STEM careers, from preschool through undergraduate education.

Among the exhibits at the workshop will be a prototype Web site about science and innovation designed for use by state-level decision-makers and members of the public. There will be an opportunity to view the Web site, navigate it, and provide feedback on how it can be most useful.

Other exhibitors include: the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), an NSF-initiated program whose exhibit will demonstrate an array of Web-based teaching and learning tools; the award-winning WGBH Teachers' Domain Web site, which supports educators in their quest for materials and new media applications that go beyond textbooks; and "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grade Teacher?," an interactive Web tool to assess whether users' math knowledge measures up to that of middle school teachers.

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is located at 801 Mount Vernon Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. The workshop begins on Jan. 15, at 2:30 p.m., and continues until 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 16. A complete agenda of the two days' events, as well as a list of exhibitors, appears below.



National Science Foundation
Workshop and Exhibition
January 15 - 16, 2008
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.
Science Education and Workforce Development
Key Challenges for Innovation in the States

January 15, 2008

2:00 p.m. Registration

3:00 p.m.Welcoming Remarks

Dr. Cora B. Marrett
Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources (EHR)
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Framing of the Workshop

Dr. Diane M. Spresser
Office of the Assistant Director, EHR, NSF

3:30 p.m. Tools for Building Community Engagement and Support for High Quality Science Education and the Workforce "Pipeline"

Dr. Jan Kettlewell, Rosalind Barnes, and Sheila Jones
University System of Georgia

In a recent report from the nonprofit, nonpartisan Public Agenda, parents and students acknowledge the national importance of mathematics, science, and technology but fail to see the importance for themselves. "Important, but Not for Me: Parents and Students in Kansas and Missouri Talk about Math, Science, and Technology Education" frames this phenomenon, labeled by Public Agenda as an 'urgency gap.' The NSF-funded University System of Georgia Math and Science Partnership (MSP) shares the public relations and other tools researched, developed, and implemented as part of their work, as well as other aspects of their overall strategy.

[Light refreshments available in hall foyer]

4:30 p.m. Introduction of Speaker and Unveiling of Prototype Website

Karen L. Sandberg
Office of Legislative & Public Affairs (OLPA), NSF

"Science and Innovation" Website

Joni Falk, TERC

"Science and Innovation" prototype website was developed as an experimental tool for decision-makers and users in the States.

5:15 p.m. Exhibits and Reception

6:15 p.m. Introduction of Speaker

Dr. Diane M. Spresser

"Important . . . But Not for Me: Kansas and Missouri Students and Parents Talk About Math, Science and Technology Education"

Ruth A. Wooden, President

Public Agenda

"There is growing consensus among the nation's business, government and higher education leaders that unless schools do more to train and nurture a whole new generation of young Americans with strong skills in math, science and technology, U.S. leadership in the world economy is at risk." But, a recent report released by Public Agenda "concludes that Kansas and Missouri parents and students didn't get the memo" and "finds that just 25% of Kansas/Missouri parents think their children should be studying more math and science; 70% think things 'are fine as they are now.' The report also explains why parents and students are so complacent in this area and what kinds of changes might be helpful in building more interest in and support for more rigorous MST courses" [summary from Public Agenda].

January 16, 2008

8:30 a.m. Remarks and Introduction of Speakers

Dr. Wanda E. Ward
Deputy Assistant Director, EHR, NSF

8:45 a.m. Tools for Making Teacher Professional Development "Pay Off"

Dr. Heather Hill, Harvard University

Dr. Sean Smith, Horizon Research, Inc.

Dr. Philip Sadler, Harvard University

Teacher professional development is critical in the current accountability environment. Is the professional development funded in local school districts really accomplishing its purposes? Are teachers actually learning the mathematics and science they need to know to teach their students? This session focuses on new, nationally developed and validated tools for assessing teachers' growth in understanding the mathematics and science needed for teaching, a critical component of effective teacher professional development.

10:00 a.m. Break with Light Refreshments

10:30 a.m. Remarks and Introduction of Panel

Dr. Carlo Parravano, Executive Director
Merck Institute for Science Education

Critical Role of Industry in Science Education and Workforce Development

Cathleen Aubin Barton (panel moderator), U. S. Education Manager
Intel Corporation

Thomas A. Gallagher, Plant Manager
General Motors Powertrain, Baltimore Transmission Plant

Dr. S. Anders Hedberg, Director
Bristol-Myers Squibb Corporate Philanthropy

Lata N. Reddy, Vice President
The Prudential Foundation

A recent report from the Urban Institute, "Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education, Quality, and Workforce Demand," indicates that more students are taking mathematics and science classes than ever before and that "the U.S. is not at any particular disadvantage compared with most nations." The report concludes, in fact, that the American education system produces qualified graduates in excess of demand. Panelists from the business community discuss the need for students who are well educated in science and mathematics, as well as strategies, initiatives, and lessons learned from the important roles played by industry in education and development of the scientific and technical workforce.

11:45 a.m. Exhibits

Keynote Luncheon
We thank Intel Corporation for their sponsorship of the Keynote Luncheon.

1:00 p.m.Introduction of Keynote Speaker

Dr. Arden L .Bement, Director
National Science Foundation

Keynote Address

Governor Edward G. Rendell
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

1:45 p.m. Remarks and Introduction of Pennsylvania STEM Center

Charles Toulmin, Senior Policy Analyst, Education Division
National Governors Association (NGA)

NGA STEM Centers in the States: Pennsylvania STEM Center

F. Joseph Merlino and Anthony J. Girifalco
Pennsylvania STEM Center Team

States recognize rigorous science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is critical to future economic soundness. The Pennsylvania STEM Center is creating and coordinating a statewide and regional infrastructure to design and implement a ten year STEM agenda to engage and better prepare more P-16 students, especially minorities and females, for STEM careers and STEM literacy.

3:00 p.m. Tools for Advancing STEM Education and Workforce Development: What Do We Have? What Do We Need?

Dr. Wanda Ward, Deputy Assistant Director

3:30 p.m. Closing Remarks, Evaluation, and Adjournment

The exhibits will be open throughout the workshop. Most exhibitors will be available to talk with workshop participants from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. on January 15th and from 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on January 16th.

The NSF wishes to thank all who enthusiastically shared the tools and products from their workin this workshop and exhibition. In addition, special thanks go to the staff at NSF and NGA who cooperated in the planning and implementation of this event; to P.R.A.M.M. Consulting Group, contractors for the Math and Science Partnership program at NSF, for their excellent logistical support of the meeting; and to Intel Corporation for their gracious sponsorship of the Keynote Luncheon.

National Science Foundation Exhibition
January 15 - 16, 2008
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Washington, D. C.
Room 140

Secrets of Plant Genomes: REVEALED

Corn, cotton, and potato are three plants highlighted in the video Secrets of Plant Genomes: REVEALED. The NSF-funded film, which is designed to excite students and teachers about plant genomics, illustrates the importance of plants in our daily lives and explains how genomics has advanced both science and society. For more information, see:

Web-based Learning

More than 2 million teaching and learning resources can be accessed online through the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). The NSF-initiated program partners with museums, universities, publishers and professional organizations to make math and science education available at all levels - from K-12 to life-long learning. The NSDL exhibit will demonstrate an array of web-based teaching and learning tools. For more information see:

WGBH/Teachers' Domain

The award-winning WGBH Teachers' Domain website supports educators in their quest for materials and new media applications that go beyond textbooks. Teachers' Domainis designed to engage students by providing media-rich resources infused with practical real world applications. Developed from sources such as PBS science programs NOVA, ZOOM, and A Science Odyssey, the free Teachers' Domain collections include more than 1,000 resources for students and teachers covering the sciences and history. The exhibit will demonstrate the media available on the website. For more information, see:


Gaming and Simulation

The IT Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program funds over 100 projects designed to produce science, technology, engineering, and math savvy kids to fill the looming shortage of qualified U.S. workers. ITEST reaches over 120,000 students and more than 4,000 teachers in grades 6-12. The ITEST exhibit will include computer games and simulations created by students and teachers and will demonstrate how these methods are used to teach IT and science skills. For more information, see:

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grade Teacher?

Are You Smarter than a 5th Grade Teacher? People can now use an interactive web tool to assess if their math knowledge measures up to that of middle school teachers. The exhibit will feature mathematical problems that teachers typically encounter, and participants can compare their scores to those derived from a national sample of U.S. middles school teachers.

NanoDays 2008

The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network has developed a kit of materials to support educational activities at science museums, research centers, and other informal educational sites across the nation. The exhibit will provide materials and a range of activities that can be used to help raise public awareness of nanoscale science and engineering during NanoDays. For more information, see:

Math + Science = Success

The Georgia Partnership for Reform in Science and Mathematics (PRISM) initiative is networking with universities and research institutions to provide challenging math and science curricula for K-12 students. Through its Math + Science = Success campaign, PRISM is also raising public awareness of how vital math and science skills are in order for students to prosper in an S&T driven society. The PRISM exhibit will showcase two of its public service announcements, along with many tools used to guide the work of the Partnership. For more information, see:

New Skills for the Future Workforce

The rapid transformation of manufacturing from a product-based industry to a knowledge-based industry is demanding a workforce with new skills. The Technology and Innovation in Manufacturing Education (TIME) Center exhibit will feature hands-on demonstrations of the rapid prototyping and robotics technologies that are integrated into educational programs for new and current workers. For more information, see:

The High Performance Workplace

The nation's security and prosperity depend on a vital science and technology workforce. NSF's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program works with educators from two-year colleges and from universities to prepare employees for the high performance workplace. The ATE exhibit will include recruitment and retention videos. For more information, see:


Teachers' content knowledge, classroom practice, and pedagogical skills are all important to student achievement in science. The ATLAST project (Assessing Teacher Learning About Science Teaching) has developed tools to assess and measure growth in teachers' science knowledge. The ATLAST exhibit will describe the development process, the types of assessment items, and the instruments. It also will discuss how the assessments have been used for project evaluation and their availability. For more information, see:

Cosmo's Learning Systems

Cosmo's Learning Systems is a suite of innovative learning tools for children ages 2-to-8. The interactive computer system is designed to motivate children with and without disabilities to participate in educational and therapeutic activities, including speech/language and recreational therapy. The exhibit will showcase the computer hardware device, Mission Control, and will demonstrate features of the device for children with disabilities. For more information, see:

Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center

At the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center, automated problem-solving coaches aid teachers by giving students more individualized help with difficult math and science concepts. These technologies, which have been scientifically-proven to increase student achievement, are being usedbythousands of students as a regular part of their math and science instruction. The exhibit will feature video demonstrations, virtual libraries, and allow participants to interact live with the automated coaches. For more information, see:

NSF Science and Innovation Prototype Website

The NSF "Science and Innovation" Prototype Website highlights outcomes of NSF-funded work in research and education. Developed by TERC, Inc., the website is searchable by state, region and theme. Four themes, which focus on (a) K-16 STEM education, (b) workforce development, (c) technological advances, and (d) challenges of our time, have been selected because of their potential usefulness by state decision-makers, science and education professionals, and the general public. Workshop participants are encouraged to experiment with the prototype website and provide feedback on its utility, quality of content, and ease of navigation. Participants' feedback will inform the development of the full website.

Media Contacts
Maria C. Zacharias, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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