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Mathematics and Science Partnerships (II-B)
This new program is designed to improve students' academic achievement in mathematics and science. It provides competitive grants to partnerships for professional development, teacher recruitment, and curriculum redesign in mathematics and science. The program is a jointly funded initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. Recent national and international studies highlight the need for greater attention to math and science education. Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 2000 in science showed no significant change in student performance in grades 4 and 8, and a decline in performance in grade 12 since 1996. In the NAEP 2000 math assessment, although there were overall gains in grades 4, 8, and 12 since 1990, 12th-graders' performance declined since 1996. The Mathematics and Science Partnership program supports the idea that high-quality teaching can make a difference in student achievement. This idea is also corroborated by the recent report of the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, which said: "The most direct route to improving mathematics and science achievement for all students is better mathematics and science teaching,"
WHAT'S NEW--The No Child Left Behind Act
Focuses on What Works
- Increases the subject matter knowledge and teaching skills of mathematics and science teachers. Partnerships will bring together mathematics and science teachers with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to expand teachers' subject matter knowledge of and research in science and mathematics.
- Focuses on professional development of mathematics and science teachers as a career-long process. Partnerships will provide opportunities for advanced and ongoing professional development activities that improve teachers' subject matter knowledge. Activities may include workshops or institutes that directly relate to the curriculum and subject area in which teachers provide instruction, that enhance the ability of teachers to understand and use challenging content standards, or that provide teachers with the opportunity to work with experienced teachers and university faculty.
- Establishes systems for recruiting, training, and advising mathematics and science teachers. Partnerships can use funds to recruit mathematics, engineering, and science majors to teaching through the use of signing and performance incentives, stipends to teachers for certification through alternative routes, and scholarships for teachers to pursue advanced course work.
- Aligns mathematics and science curricula with state and local standards as well as postsecondary standards. Curricula will be redesigned or developed to meet high standards.
Increases Accountability for Student Performance
- Develops an accountability and evaluation plan with measurable objectives. Partnerships will report annually to the U.S. Department of Education on their progress in increasing the number of mathematics and science teachers who participate in content-based professional development and improving student achievement in mathematics and science.
How It Works
The Mathematics and Science Partnerships program is a discretionary grant program that supports improved student achievement in mathematics and science through enhanced training for teachers and recruitment of high-quality math and science teachers. Grants are targeted to partnerships of high-need school districts and to science, mathematics, and engineering schools within universities, giving districts and universities joint responsibility for training and educating math and science teachers.
Each year that the program is funded for less than $100 million, the U.S. Department of Education will award competitive grants directly to eligible partnerships, consisting of, at minimum, (1) a state education agency; (2) an engineering, mathematics or science department at an institution of higher education; and (3) a high-need local education agency. In years that the program receives more than $100 million in funding, the U.S. Department of Education will allocate funds directly to states by formula so that they can award subgrants to eligible partnerships that must include an engineering, mathematics or science department at an institution of higher education; and a high-need local education agency. Grants are awarded for three years and grantees must:
- Institute reforms that are aligned with academic standards in mathematics and science.
- Engage in activities that are based on scientific research.
- Carry out reforms and create an accountability plan.
- Continue reforms after federal funding has ended.
How It Achieves Quality
The Mathematics and Science Partnerships program emphasizes the use of high-quality and research-based practices. Partnerships are authorized to carry out activities that are based on scientifically based research and must conduct a comprehensive assessment of their teacher quality and professional development needs before receiving grant funds.
How Quality Is Measured
The quality of the program will be measured by the progress that partnerships make in achieving the objectives in their evaluation and accountability plan.
Key Activities For The State Education Agencies
For any year that this program is funded for more than $100 million, the U.S. Department of Education will make grants to state education agencies (SEAs) directly through a formula based on the state's share of children in families below the poverty line. In those years, the SEA will be responsible for conducting a competitive grants competition to award subgrants to partnerships. When the program is funded for more than $100 million, SEAs must participate as members of funded partnerships.