Education: May 2013 Archives

NASA Education Express

"Guidance for Education and Public Outreach Activities Under Sequestration

NASA has taken the first steps in addressing the mandatory spending cuts called for in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The law mandates a series of indiscriminate and significant across-the-board spending reductions totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

As a result, NASA has been forced to implement a number of new cost-saving measures, policies, and reviews in order to minimize impacts to the mission-critical activities of the Agency. Guidance regarding conferences, travel, and training that reflect the new fiscal reality in which the agency must operate has been provided.

For specific guidance as it relates to public outreach and engagement activities please reference the following webpage.

Check out the following NASA opportunities for the education community. Full descriptions are listed below..."

Marc's note: Yup, education gutted, but here's a list of what's left for you.

Google+ Hangout: We the Geeks: Asteroids

"This Friday, an asteroid nearly three kilometers wide is going to pass by the Earth-Moon system. The fly-by is harmless -- at its closest, the asteroid will be about 15 times farther from us than the Earth is from the moon -- but to mark the event, the White House will host the second in a series of "We the Geeks" Google+ Hangouts to talk asteroids with Bill Nye the Science Guy, former Astronaut Ed Lu, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, and more."

Keith's 8:00 am EDT note: You would think that NASA, the geekiest of all government agencies, would be really happy about this visibility at a White House sponsored event - one that features its Deputy Administrator, a former astronaut, and a member of the NASA Advisory Council's Education and Public Outreach Committee. Moreover, this education-focused event focuses on the asteroid mission that the White House has tasked NASA to undertake. Despite all the reasons for NASA to want to crow about this event there is no mention on the NASA Education page, on the NASA calendar, on or on the agency's social media page NASA Connect although it is mentioned on NASA's Google+ page.

Keith's 150 pm EDT update: NASA issued this press release a few minutes ago. Still no mention on NASA's calendar, NASA Education page,, etc.

American Astronomical Society Statement: Proposed Elimination of NASA Science Education & Public Outreach

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has issued a statement addressing the potential elimination of the education and public outreach (EPO) activities in NASA's Science Mission Directorate, as called for in President Obama's fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget proposal. The AAS enthusiastically supports the Administration's goals to increase the impact of federal education investments and to increase the numbers of teachers and graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM. But, according to the AAS, the proposed cuts "would dismantle some of the nation's most inspiring and successful STEM education assets."

- NASA EPO Cuts Continue, earlier post
- NAC Committee Is Against NASA EPO Changes, earlier post
- Bolden Is Happy About NASA Education Cuts, earlier post
- Details on The Gutting of NASA Education, earlier post

Sally Ride National Tribute at Kennedy Center Tonight

"NASA and Sally Ride Science are inviting journalists to tonight's "Sally Ride: A Lifetime of Accomplishment, A Champion of Science Literacy," a national tribute to America's first woman in space. The special event will be held at the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts."

President Obama Announces Sally Ride as a Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

"Today, President Barack Obama announced he will award a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut to travel to space. The Medal of Freedom is the Nation's highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

NASA and The White House Pay Tribute to Sally Ride

"The president announced Monday afternoon Ride will be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House later this year. The Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

Homer Hickam Supports High School Student Whose Science Project Got Her Expelled and Arrested

"Homer Hickam, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal in the movie October Sky, has joined the ranks of scientists and engineers around the globe in support of Kiera Wilmot - the 16-year-old Florida student who found herself in hot water after her science experiment went awry. Wilmot, who has an outstanding school record and whose mother works in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field, was expelled from school permanently and arrested by police after her science experiment caused a small explosion. Although not authorized by her teacher, no one was hurt in the incident and no damage was caused. Kiera was also charged with possession and discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device: both felonies."

Please support the Kayla Wilmot Space Academy Scholarship

Student Kiera Wilmot's arrest over science experiment explosion sparks outrage on Twitter, other social media, Orlando Sentinel

"The website Southern Fried Science took a turn away from discussions on conservation and endangered species to weigh in on Kiera's case, asking scientists how many "accidentally blew something up in high school doing science?" Many responded by describing their adolescent capers."

State Attorney Jerry Hill: Drop charges against Kiera Wilmot,

List of multiple petitions online at

Keith's note: If this over reactive mindset was in place in the early 1980s, then a dozen or so of the Chemistry students I taught while in grad school would have been felons - every semester.

Kiera Wilmot, student who caused small explosion, won't face charges, Orlando Sentinel

"Brian Haas, an assistant state attorney and spokesman for the office, said he could not provide details of the diversion-program agreement reached in a juvenile's case. But he said the teenager and her guardian had signed the agreement. "The pending case has been dismissed. No formal charges will be filed," read the office's statement."

Keith's note: Canada's Chris Hadfield's use of social media and other aspects of education and public outreach while on orbit has been masterful - even transcendent - and sets a new bar for others to strive for on future missions. Oh wait: NASA is eliminating Education and Public Outreach. Nevermind. NASA no longer cares about these things.

And Charlie Bolden agrees with this change in focus and wants to abandon half a century of public engagement. Utterly pathetic. Not what a true leader should do.

There will be no other NASA Watch updates today. Just this.

Watch it.

ROSES-13 Amendment 13: Education and Public Outreach removed from Appendix A.34, New (Early Career) Investigator Program in Earth Science

"The New Investigator Program (NIP) in Earth Science is designed to support outstanding scientific research and career development of scientists and engineers at the early stage of their professional careers. ... NIP will not accept Education and Public Outreach Plans in 2013."

- NAC Committee Is Against NASA EPO Changes, earlier post
- Bolden Is Happy About NASA Education Cuts, earlier post
- Details on The Gutting of NASA Education, earlier post

NASA Advisory Council Astrophysics Subcommittee Letter 1 May 2013

Issue: Removal of EPO Functions from SMD: "Finding: The result of this long-term dedication to education and public outreach is an extremely efficient process where scientists and educators routinely collaborate on developing high-impact content for education and public engagement. In contrast, the proposed realignment shifts all education and outreach efforts far from the actual science being communicated. The end result may appear to improve the process by removal of functional redundancies, but actually separates the content providers at NASA from the agencies tasked with providing EPO programs. This will likely necessitate new layers of personnel to interface between NASA scientists and educational professionals in the Department of Education, NSF, and the Smithsonian. Furthermore, the new implementation effectively counteracts the astrophysics community's long-standing dedication to outreach and education, by clearly making these activities "somebody else's job."

Mars Revealed: Evolving Technology, Advancing Science

"The application period for the Mars Revealed teacher training is currently on hold pending NASA Headquarter reviews of NASA education programs. Please check back frequently. Updates will be posted as they become available."

- Another Meeting Cancelled Due to Sequestration, earlier post
- More Meetings Cancelled Due to Sequestration, earlier post
- Details on The Gutting of NASA Education, earlier post

Keith's note: You might want to listen to this audio file from today's STA luncheon where Charlie Bolden answers a question about huge cuts to NASA education. Bolden doesn't seem to have any problems with the huge cuts that are being made in NASA's education and public outrach budgets in the proposed FY2014 budget. Indeed, he seems to think this is just wonderful. So, all of you NASA educators, you might as well give up and find other areas to channel your energies. Charlie Bolden thinks that you need less money.

Details on The Gutting of NASA Education, earlier post



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This page is an archive of entries in the Education category from May 2013.

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