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Curriculum Update

Governor Schwarzenegger: The Rejuvenator Grants Improve History Teaching Parental Stereotyping

Governor Schwarzenegger: The Rejuvenator

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hopes the new EnCorps Teachers Program will help fill 33,000 math, science and career tech teacher vacancies in California schools by recruiting retired professionals from the private sector. The program will create a path for retirees from hi-tech, biotech, finance and other industries to become teachers through an ongoing internship program that will allow them to gain teaching credentials. These professionals, who have degrees in math and science, will bring their experience and knowledge to the classroom. EnCorps has been funded federally with $12 million and is backed by corporations such as IBM, Chevron, City National Bank, East West Bank, Ares Management, Edison and QUALCOMM. Each corporation has committed to donate up to $15,000 per company retiree wishing to pursue a teaching degree and a new career.

According to Schwarzenegger, "People want to serve their community and are ready for another challenge besides the golf course."

Grants Improve History Teaching

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), less than one quarter of America's fourth-, eighth-, and 12th-graders are proficient in American history. In June, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced 122 American history grants for 2007, totaling $116 million. "These

grants will provide teachers with a better understanding of our nation's history and the principles of democracy," said Spellings. The Teaching American History Grants

have been awarded yearly to support three-year projects, which include intensive and ongoing teacher professional development. Grantees partner with libraries, museums, nonprofit history or humanities organizations, and universities. A list of state recipients and district awards can be viewed at the Department of Education Web site. The next round of grants opens in January 2008.

Parental Stereotyping

Research by Pamela Davis-Kean, University of Michigan psychologist, and her colleagues has found that the reason females are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math-even though they test as well as their male counterparts in grades 1-6 in math ability-may stem from stereotyping by their parents. The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research study concluded that more supportive home environments, including the purchase of more math and science toys, were provided to sons than daughters. Girls' interest in math decreased as their fathers' gender stereotyping increased, while boys' interests in math increased. Fathers and sons seemed to spend more time on math and science.

Classroom Safe Space

Districts looking for ways to take advantage of new literacies, which include how to read and decipher information on the Internet, and at the same time provide safe environments for students using them, may want to check out, a free social network, collaboration and publishing space for teachers and students. It's a place to build, create and share student writing, and publishing skills in a secure and fun way. The site enables teachers and parents to work together closely to guide children's forays into social networking while bolstering classroom learning. When students are connected as a class, they can blog, use instant messaging and share photos with their classmates. Teachers can direct individual and small group student activities.