Report: Risk, Failure Important for STEM

A STEM report released by the U.S. Department of Education and the American Institutes for Research suggests that exposure to risk and failure in the classroom is essential for science, technology, engineering, and math education because it reflects real-world STEM career practices.

This kind of teaching requires that students have much more time to figure out solutions in a school day that is already very tightly scheduled, according to the report “STEM 2026: A Vision for Innovation in STEM Education.” 

Students face “the very real prospect of getting bad grades if they can’t puzzle through challenging questions,” the report states. However, the report adds, “most educators agree that, in the long run, learning through mistakes gives students a better understanding of the skills needed for STEM success—training that most schools currently do not provide.”

Education Department Announces Diversity Grants

The U.S. Department of Education has launched a new $12 million grant competition for school districts working to increase the socioeconomic diversity of their schools.

The new grant competition would give up to 20 school districts the opportunity to craft new road maps for increasing student diversity and the money to get started on those plans. Diversity in education received a mixed reaction in Congress and was a major goal of the Obama administration.

Transgender Bathroom Ruling Upheld

A transgender female student at an Ohio school will be able to continue using the girls’ restroom under a federal appeals court’s ruling.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit affirmed an order that the Highland Local School District in Marengo, OH, allow the student to use the girls’ restroom.

The ruling is the latest in a series of lawsuits and other actions over the question of whether existing civil rights laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, protect against anti-transgender discrimination through their ban on sex discrimination. The Obama administration backed the view that transgender people are protected by the current laws.

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